It doesn’t matter how pretty it looks, just as long as they come away with two points.
Especially against another desperate team like the Philadelphia Flyers.
Their record may not show that they had to overcome some obstacles since Bruce Cassidy took over. Saturday’s 2-1 victory over the Broad St. Bullies improved Cassidy’s record to 10-3 since replacing former Bruins coach and now Canadiens bench boss Claude Julien a little more than a month ago.
Is the resiliency a part of the coaching change? Or have the Bruins been showing their will to overcome whatever challenges are put in front of them even under Julien, but on a more frequent basis with Cassidy?
“Our record has been very good since he took over,” Tuukka Rask said after making 26 saves during Saturday’s matinee at TD Garden. “Earlier this season we had some times where we didn’t play so well in a game, but we found a way to battle back and even after losses we battled back, but we just couldn’t find consistency. But maybe now, I think we’re a little more consistent and the scoring has been there too.”
The scoring – and the defense – have both been more productive. The former, however, wasn’t as prominent against the Flyers, who came into Saturday’s contest ranked 23rd in goals allowed and average goals allowed per game.
On Saturday, Rask and company had to overcome a sloppy second period – one where they were outshot 9-4 in the middle 20.
What changed in the final 20 – aside from another set of line changes from Cassidy?
For one getting more pucks to the net. Whether they got a second wind or the Flyers just flat out ran out of gas, the Bruins outshot Philly 12-4 in the final stanza. From their transition game to throwing their weight around, the Black and Gold found a rhythm and another kickstart from the new look lines and D-pairings.
“I think [after struggling] the whole game, we just turned things around and played our game, and the way we wanted to play in the first 40 minutes.” said Bergeron, who assisted on David Pastrnak’s 28th of the season to give the Bruins a 1-0 lead with a power play goal late in the first period. “But then, in the third, I thought we really played the right way and that’s how we got the looks that we wanted.
Finally, the Black and Gold were rewarded for that third period effort. It may have not been a good look per se from Drew Stafford with a bad angle, but as always good things happen when you throw pucks towards the net. The former Sabre, who earned his second goal in four games since coming over from Winnipeg at the trade deadline, got a good bounce off of Brandon Manning’s stick to secure the narrow one-goal win with 5.6 ticks left in regulation.
“The chances that you get, you just take it and ride with it, really. The way this game was, we were pretty sloppy throughout. It was kind of a tough one for us,” Stafford said.
“I’ve only been here for a few games, but you can tell that they know how to win games. Even when you’re not playing your best, you find a way to win and you find a way – whether it’s by a lucky bounce like that – 99 out of a 100 times, it’s not going to go in. So, those kinds of breaks, you’ll take those, especially when things might not be going your way a certain night.”
Whether they’ve faced spurts of sloppy play or had to bounce back from a tough loss, the Bruins are finding ways to overcome adversity. Their resilience has been a key to their recent success.
And it needs to continue with the Maple Leafs and Islanders directly behind them in the Eastern Conference playoff race.
“It was just one of those games that, I don’t think we were at our best, you could clearly see that,” Cassidy summed, “but we still hung in there and did enough to win.”
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