The Boston Bruins will get their one and only true dress rehearsal Thursday night, and Bruce Cassidy will have his eyes peeled.
The Bruins and Columbus Blue Jackets will square off at Scotiabank Arena in an exhibition game before the Stanley Cup playoff qualifiers and round-robin games begin this weekend. For Cassidy, it’s the first and last chance to see how his team looks in its first game action since mid-March before it begins its quest for the Cup.
In addition to trying to ensure everyone stays healthy before the real games begin, Cassidy said he’ll also be monitoring a few smaller things to gauge his team’s readiness entering round-robin play Sunday.
“We’ll continue to check well, we’ll continue to defend well — I don’t think those habits go away,” Cassidy said Thursday morning in a virtual pregame press conference. “We’re a very structured team. Guys buy into it. I think you’ll still see us use our fourth line against good players and good lines. In that regard, away from our puck, I think our game will be consistent.
“For me, it’s are we going to get into managing the puck mode immediately? Or is it gonna take three or four games? Is it gonna take a series? That’s what happens when you’re off for a while. You’ve practiced a lot, you’re making plays all over the ice, you haven’t had to deal with tight-checking games. You can simulate in practice, but that will be what I’m looking for. Are we making good decisions with it? How are our line changes? That’s something else guys haven’t done. Are we sloppy? Are we on time?”
The Bruins and Blue Jackets face off Thursday night at 7 p.m. ET with pregame coverage beginning at 6 p.m. on NESN.
Thumbnail photo via Charles LeClaire/USA TODAY Sports Images