Bruins Notes: Bruce Cassidy Issues Challenge To Middle Lineup Players

'Tonight's an example where they can push a little bit and impact the game'

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For the second straight night, the Bruins lost in ugly fashion.

Boston dropped Friday night’s game to the New York Rangers 6-2 at Madison Square Garden just 24 hours after losing 7-2 to the New York Islanders.

The B’s now have been outscored 13-4 in their last two contests.

Yes, they’re without Ondrej Kase, David Krejci, Jeremy Lauzon, Kevan Miller and Matt Grzelcyk. And while Miller and Lauzon are big bodies Boston certainly is missing in front of the net, head coach Bruce Cassidy isn’t making any excuses — especially considering their defensive depth and strong forwards.

In fact, he’s challenging his guys in the middle of the lineup.

“Did I expect us to be better? Yes, absolutely,” Cassidy said after the game.

“I would challenge the group that’s in the middle … The (Anders) Bjorks, (Jake) DeBrusks, (Connor) Cliftons, (John) Moores… (need to) put a little onus on themselves to impact the game,” he added. “Tonight’s an example where they can push a little bit and impact the game, and I didn’t think we got that.”

Now more than ever is the middle of the lineups time to shine with injuries piling up.

Here are some other notes from Friday’s Bruins-Rangers game:

— Patrice Bergeron took over fifth place on the Bruins’ all-time point lists. He passed B’s legend Bobby Orr with his goal in the second period.

— Being without Lauzon and Miller certainly is tough, and Cassidy noted the Bruins have missed Miller’s presence in front of the net the last two games.

But Cassidy knows the struggles can’t all be placed on the blue line, and doesn’t believe the ask is “too big” of the younger guys.

“This isn’t all on the D corps,” he said. “It’s on the other parts of the team to pick each other up. I don’t think the ask is too big for them. This is the opportunity they want, right? … Here it is. Grab it.”

— Brad Marchand also quietly reached a milestone in the loss, potting his 300th career goal in the third.

— Brandon Carlo, who’s just 24 years old, had a blunt message for his teammates after the loss.

“It can’t go on any further than this,” he said. “This is unacceptable. We have to look in the mirror and move on from there.”

— The Bruins have a chance at redemption Sunday afternoon when they take on the Rangers at 12 p.m. ET.

“Couple things have to happen (to improve),” Cassidy said. “They gotta play better, first of all. … too much reckless play.”

Thumbnail photo via POOL PHOTOS/USA TODAY Sports Images

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