Bruce Cassidy Lays Out ‘Basic Formula’ For Bruins To Get Back In Series

Do or die time has arrived for the Bruins

by Mike Cole

August 31, 2020

It doesn’t look good for the Boston Bruins right now, but head coach Bruce Cassidy knows his team better than anyone and isn’t ready to give up on the season.

The Bruins are staring an uncomfortable 3-1 series deficit to the Tampa Bay Lightning right in the face. Lose on Monday night and the series obviously is over. A win, meanwhile, extends the season but offers no guarantee Boston will advance.

Despite the grim picture, Cassidy believes his team has the makeup to at least give a competitive effort with its backs against the wall Monday night.

“They?re definitely resilient,” Cassidy said Sunday on a video call with reporters. “I believe they?ll put their best foot forward and we?re going to have to. We?re playing against a good hockey club that doesn?t give an inch. It?s on us to make sure we execute better with the puck, finish a few more plays. And obviously defend a little better. I don?t think it?s been domination, it?s just they?ve made the right plays at the right times in the games and gotten into the lead.”

The Bruins have been outscored 10-2 in their last two games, so that part of it certainly does look like “domination,” to use Cassidy’s words. Game 3 stinker aside, however, this has been a close series. The Bruins lost Game 2 in overtime. As far as Game 4 goes, a couple of back-breaking plays — Jaroslav Halak’s inability to glove a seemingly easy shot and Nick Ritchie’s 5-minute major — did in the Bruins.

If they can avoid those sorts of pitfalls in Game 5, they could get back in the series. But playing against a team like Tampa Bay makes that a very difficult task, one Cassidy believes his team must return to basics in order to complete.

“Let?s focus on our first period, our start,” he said. “Be better early on so we?re not giving up much and then create at the other end and finish. Formula sounds basic but it?s what you need to do right now. How we get there is what we have to discuss, the things that go into that. At the end of the day, its focus on the first period of the next game and not worry about what?s ahead of that.”

Game 4 is set for 7 p.m. ET on Monday, and pregame coverage can be seen on NESN+ (and NESN for the first 30 minutes) beginning at 6 p.m.

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