The Bruins are on to the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, and Bruce Cassidy is one delighted head coach.
Boston bounced the Carolina Hurricanes with a 2-1 Game 5 win Wednesday night at Scotiabank Arena.
After the game, Cassidy spoke on how he felt about the win, the series overall and what it meant to get the first round out of the way in five games rather than the seven they’ve been accustomed to the last few seasons.
“Last year it took us seven games, people might forget we went all the way to game seven of the Final, we were down 3-2 coming into this particular building to beat Toronto in their own building to extend the series, and then we went and won game seven,” he told reporters on Zoom. “The year before we beat Toronto in seven. Now we had a lead in that one but still the first round, teams are hungry, they’re relatively healthy, Carolina came in here feeling really good about their game after they swept the Rangers, so you got to be careful and make sure you’re close to your game but keep building it as you go along.
“And we found it, like I said found ways to win, so I’m proud of the guys. We went through a little bit of adversity, every team?s going through it here, we did it with some of our personnel, but you know you sort of keep the trains running on time so to speak and do your job and our guys have really grasped sort of that culture we’ve created here and full value I think for the series win.”
The Bruins will face either the Tampa Bay Lightning or Montreal Canadiens next round.
Either way, Boston now shifts its focus to the second round and will get some much-needed rest heading into the next slate of games.
Here are some other notes from Wednesday’s Bruins-Hurricanes game:
— Krejci now has eight points in the Bruins’ first five postseason games. In fact, he’s had plenty of success against the Hurricanes in Boston’s last 11 games against Carolina.
The center has five goals and 10 assists on 19 shots.
“Well I’ve learned that he’s a big-time player,” Cassidy said. “I’ve seen it in the playoffs now every year I’ve been here.”
— The entire Bruins team looked like a different squad than the one during the round-robin tournament where the B’s did not win a game and claimed the Eastern Conference’s No. 4 seed.
Krejci credits turning the page and focusing on the team in front of them.
“I think the team after the round robin, I think we turned the page and we just play our game,” he said. “We had that great game plan, we knew exactly what to do, how to beat these guys. We stuck with it. And all four lines, they chipped in. Every game was a different line. That?s what you need in the playoffs. Every game, somebody else steps up. That was huge.”
— Bergeron had quite the nifty goal to close out the second.
The center hustled over to the end boards and threw the puck at Petr Mrazek’s skates and it crossed the red line and broke the 1-1 tie with three seconds to go in the period.
“I saw that he was kind of ? he stood up,” Bergeron said. “He was standing up. So, I was just trying to catch him, throw it at his feet and see what happens. I knew that there wasn?t that much time left in the period. So, I said, why not try it, just because it was kind of a desperate play with a couple seconds left. I knew we couldn?t really set it up and have another shot, so I was just trying to put it on net and catch him standing up.”
— David Pastrnak returned to the ice after being unfit to participate in Games 3 and 4. And the first-line winger said he felt good.
“… Felt better every shift,” he said. “It was good to be back with the guys. Anytime you?re watching the games from the stands, it?s tough. Really happy I was back and a great series.”
— Jaroslav Halak looked a lot more comfortable in net than he did during Game 4. The goalie stopped 23 of 24 shots en route to the win.