The Boston Bruins didn’t get to the Stanley Cup Final simply because they’re a bunch of talented, dedicated hockey players who have dug deep and found ways to win in the postseason.
(OK, that’s a big part of it, but you know what we’re saying.)
The Bruins, like most teams that make it this far, experienced a roller-coaster season that featured its fair share of lows. However, according to head coach Bruce Cassidy, there was one moment in particular that preceded what’s become a nearly five month-long high.
Boston began its season with a 7-0 loss to the defending Stanley Cup champion Washington Capitals. Then it won four in a row before dropping three straight. A couple hot streaks aside, the Bruins — hampered by injuries, to be fair — basically traded wins and loses for the next 2.5 months. Translation: They were inconsistent and searching for an identity.
That brings us to New Year’s Day.
While you were busy peeling yourself off the floor, the Bruins were busy heading to Notre Dame Stadium, where they faced the Chicago Blackhawks in the 2019 Winter Classic. As you might recall, Bruins players rocked outfits inspired by “Peaky Blinders,” a popular Netflix show set in late-1800s England.
Boston went on to win 4-2, the second victory in what became a five-game winning streak. Overall, the Bruins went 28-10-5 in the new year, good for the fourth best record in the NHL. (The St. Louis Blues, currently tied 2-2 in the Western Conference Final, had the best record at 30-10-5.)
For Cassidy, the “Peaky Blinders” trip was the all-important turning point in Boston’s season.
Here’s what he had to say after Sunday’s practice:
Of course, this was about more than just wearing matching outfits to a hockey game. It was a bonding moment for the Bruins, something that helped forge the cohesive group we’ve seen throughout the Stanley Cup playoffs.
Torey Krug, who came up with the idea, agrees with his head coach.
As fun as it is to look back, the Bruins are more concerned with looking forward to the Cup Final. Most importantly, players and coaches looking for ways to stay sharp in what will be an 11-day break between games.
(If only there was another team in the area that knows how to win championships after two-week breaks…)
The Bruins will kick off the Stanley Cup Final on Monday, May 27. Puck drop at TD Garden is set for 8 p.m. ET.
Thumbnail photo via Aaron Doster/USA TODAY Sports Images