BOSTON — All regular season long, Bruce Cassidy harped on the fact he needed more from his bottom six.
The Bruins head coach certainly got that in Boston’s Game 7 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs when Joakim Nordstrom, Sean Kuraly and Marcus Johansson all accounted for goals, helping the B’s move on to the second round.
Fast forward to Thursday, it was the secondary that did the heavy lifting en route to Boston’s thrilling 3-2 overtime Game 1 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets at TD Garden. Noel Acciari got the scoring started before Charlie Coyle netted the game-tying and game-winning goals to give the Black and Gold a 1-0 series lead.
It’s the secondary scoring that has helped Boston in its last two games, no doubt, but the head coach lauded the resiliency of his team, and said it starts with his veterans.
“Well, I think it starts with our leadership group,” Cassidy said. “You go back to their most successful season with that core group (from 2011). They were down 2-0 at home to Vancouver. They came back to win a Stanley Cup. They know what it takes. They know what it takes. It’s not the end of the world to have things not go your way right away. You have to work hard to correct it to play the right way, so I have to credit it all to the guys in the room.”
The Bruins didn’t have much time to bask in their Game 7 win, whereas Columbus had nine days off after completing a near-impossible sweep on the Presidents’ Trophy-winning Tampa Bay Lightning in its first-round series. And while Cassidy believes the rest will help the Blue Jackets in the “long run,” he believed Boston still was feeling the Game 7 win.
“I thought we were clearly the better team in the first period,” Cassidy said. “The residual effect of the emotional win in Game 7. They had time off. That can go either way. Usually, it’s hard to find your game when you have that much time off, the intensity level. I believe it’ll help them in the long run, obviously, with the rest. You get to heal, so we tried to take advantage of that early.”
Bruins fans hope to see the same kind of intensity from Boston on Saturday when the puck drops for Game 2 at 8 p.m. ET.
Thumbnail photo via Greg M. Cooper/USA TODAY Sports Images