Bruins Notes: Bruce Cassidy Thinks Defense ‘Has A Lot More To Give’ After Loss

The Bruins and Lightning are tied 1-1 in the best-of-seven series

by Lauren Campbell Willand

August 25, 2020

It was a tough Tuesday night for the Boston Bruins.

Boston dropped Game 2 against the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-3 in overtime. The best-of-seven series now is tied at one game apiece.

Brad Marchand potted two game-tying goals, including one late in the third to ultimately force OT. But Tampa dominated the extra time and was rewarded with the win.

Ondrej Palat was able to score the game-winner for the Bolts after the Bruins’ fourth line, coupled with Brandon Carlo and Torey Krug, were unable to clear the puck out of the zone. The end result? Tampa wearing down the B’s enough to find twine.

Both Krug and Carlo have showcased their offensive abilities throughout the season, and head coach Bruce Cassidy needs to see more of that.

“Well I think our whole D corps has a lot more to give on the offensive side of things,” Cassidy said during his Zoom postgame press conference. “We?re not them asking to lead the rush but we need plays from them when they’re there at the O-zone blue line, Tampa is collapsing, we need point shots that are tippable or create rebound situations. I think we’re capable of more, absolutely, if you look at our whole playoffs we have one goal from (Connor) Clifton, real nice play from behind the net against Carolina. Now we need more. And breakout against a heavy forecheck is difficult, but that’s one that if Brandon had over again I’m sure he would look around and see what his options were and probably make a better play, but maybe he assumed that a winger was on the wall. It was a late change so I get why he did it, but in general I think they’re capable of more offensively.

“We got to get them to where they?re contributing every night in that regard. I mean it’s defense first for us. We?re one of the better defensive teams in the league for a reason. Those guys are very accountable, they eat pucks, good sticks, physical, take hits, whatever they need to do, but on the offensive side of things like I said I think the whole group is capable of more. And that bleeds into some of the rest of the lineup not to get off topic of your question, but you know it’s Marchy too again with one on the power play. There’s some players here that you know can add a little offense, secondary scoring for us, it can help you along the way, and tonight we got it from Nick Ritchie early, but otherwise a little dry in that regard and against a team like Tampa that does have the ability to score you?re going to need those goals here and there.”

The Bruins don’t have a whole lot of time to right the wrongs before the puck drops for Game 3. But it’s probably safe to assume they’ll be bringing their A-game come Wednesday.

Here are some other notes from Tuesday’s Bruins-Lightning Game 2:

— Jaroslav Halak stopped 36 of 40 shots on the night. And with Game 3 scheduled for Wednesday — just 22 hours after Game 2 ended — it probably is fair to wonder whether Cassidy will opt to go with Daniel Vladar.

But the head coach is not ready to make a decision just yet.

“Well if there’s 80 some attempts then obviously he?s got to fight to see all 80 of them, so I imagine there’ll be some fatigue there,” Cassidy said. “I didn’t think it was a taxing night in terms of high danger chances by any means. Obviously the last goal got scrambly in front of the net, there’s a breakaway, but we were pretty good otherwise. We only took two penalties I believe, so our penalty kill was solid again, so we’ll see how that it is tomorrow. If you ask me who my starting goalie is tomorrow night I don’t really know, I?ll let you know tomorrow.”

As for Halak? Well, the goalie said he feels fine after a 40-shot night.

“I feel fine,” he said on Zoom. “Obviously, we just need to get a good night?s sleep and see how it?s going to go tomorrow. No one said it was going to be an easy series. We are tied now and basically starting from zero now. Just like I said, we have to forget about this one and move on and we have another game tomorrow.”

— Marchand put himself in with some pretty good company after a two-point night.

“… A lot of times I think it?s just happening, where kind of switching up the power play a little bit,” Marchand said of goal on Zoom. “I?m normally on the half wall so I?m kind of hanging up higher. Now I?m just around the front of the net, it just happened to find a couple pucks around there and a couple nice plays. I think it?s just mostly because I?m in front of the net instead of on the half wall.”

— Nick Ritchie got the scoring started for Boston, notching his first goal of the Stanley Cup Playoffs in the first period.

“It was obviously nice, on a personal level to contribute and score a goal,” Ritchie said during his Zoom postgame press conference. “As far as the line, I thought we were better. We had some good shifts and had some O-zone time. As a whole we?re going to look forward to get better tomorrow because we have to get better as a whole.”

— The fourth line was on the ice for the Bolts’ game-winning goal. And Sean Kuraly said it’s “big-time frustrating.”

“Yeah, it?s obviously big-time frustrating anytime you lose a game, especially in that fashion,” he said on Zoom. “We thought we were turning it in the right direction. I think momentum may be swinging our way and get the puck close to the blue line a couple times and you don?t get it out against a good team, that?s what happens. It ends up in the back of the net. So, we know that, we?ll look at it. You always wish you could have some of those plays back.”

— Game 5 of the series, which we now know definitely will be played, will be Sunday at 8 p.m. ET.

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