The Boston Bruins overcame a late one-goal deficit against the previously-unbeaten Florida Panthers on Saturday, and coach Bruce Cassidy was left taking away plenty of big-picture positives after a 3-2 shootout victory.
“Even after we scored (to tie game), I think we wanted to get the two (points) in regulation if we could and still kind of pushed. So it tells me the guys in there were trying to do within their abilities to win,” Cassidy said, as seen on NESN’s postgame coverage. “The compete level stayed up and they stayed with the program, relied on one another. That’s what it told me about that group. And I think this group does have that.
“I thought there was a lot of compete this week, we just didn’t get it done in the win column and hopefully when things start going our way offensively it becomes a little easier,” Cassidy said. “And that’s sometimes the way it has to go for a while. Sometimes it happens earlier in the year, just explode offensively and sometimes it’s a work in progress, but eventually it comes and I think we have enough talent in there that it will come.”
Cassidy also shared why Saturday’s win means as much as it does despite the 4-3 Bruins being merely seven games into their season.
“You don’t want those losing streaks that start to pile up. Good opponents this week. If you want to be considered a good team you got to beat good teams. So, I thought these games were close this week, didn’t go our way, we didn’t do the right things at the right time — Carolina and Florida did earlier,” Cassidy said.
“Sometimes it will get away from you if you’re not careful, you’ll lose your structure and try to cheat, so credit to the guys. We talked about that between periods,” Cassidy said. “? I think that’s why it’s important. You don’t want the game to get away from you. All of a sudden we have a long week of practice and guys are squeezing their sticks Thursday. At least this allows you to loosen up a little bit and sort of take the good and keep working on our offense, obviously.”
Here are other notes from Bruins-Panthers:
— Charlie McAvoy scored the game-tying goal on the power-play in the third period. It was Boston’s first man-advantage goal in the previous three games and it broke a skid in which the Bruins went nine chances without scoring a power-play goal.
Cassidy is hoping the third-period goal will stop Boston’s skid on the man-advantage.
“I mean it’s a crunch-time goal. That’s what you look for out of your power play,” Cassidy said. “The numbers are obviously important, you want to have statistically good numbers, but it’s timing a lot.
“I thought it was a little better tonight, at least we had a sort of plan to get going to the net, shoot and recover,” Cassidy added. “Our power play typically has been a weapon, not so this year, but hopefully that’ll give it a little juice.”
— McAvoy explained what happened on the goal while speaking with Jack Edwards on NESN’s postgame coverage, too.
“At the end there that’s not scripted that’s just (Brad Marchand) making a great hockey play,” McAvoy said. “(Cassidy) talks about possession over position so we when have the puck everybody just fills a spot and I happened to be the guy coming down the back side there. Marchy made a heck of a pass and I just needed to get it on net.”
— Craig Smith returned for the Bruins after missing each of the prior three games due to an undisclosed injury. Smith was featured on both the first and second lines while switching with fellow right wing David Pastrnak to start the second period as Cassidy looked to provide a spark.
Smith played 16:13 with three shots.
— The Bruins and Panthers came together to honor the late Jimmy Hayes on Saturday. Both teams wore pregame uniforms to honor Hayes, and the Bruins played an emotional video tribute for Hayes before puck drop.
— The Bruins will return to TD Garden on Thursday as they play host to the Detroit Red Wings. You can watch the game live on NESN with puck drop scheduled for 7 p.m. ET.