Learning lessons. Every team uses them during the long 82-game season — and in some instances beyond. Heck, we tell you about what we learned from every Bruins game on Bruins Daily in our postgame column.
The Bruins learned a few things from their Game 1 loss to the Maple Leafs. The biggest takeaway: what they preach before the series sometimes isn’t good enough. They had a reminder of that on Friday during their film session of the 4-1 series-opening setback against their Original Six rivals.
“Toronto getting behind us was addressed for three days,” head coach Bruce Cassidy said. “We’ll have to continue to send that message. Obviously, that’s on the staff to make sure it gets through. And then how aggressive [we can be] because of that.”
Sometimes it’s best to burn a tape in a dumpster fire following a lackluster showing. Other times it’s best to remind the team about being exposed if they aren’t careful with their defensive layers. Mitch Marner, John Tavares, William Nylander and the rest of the Leafs exposed the cracks in Boston’s back end en route to several quality chances on breakaways and odd-man rushes in Game 1.
But the Bruins had other areas of concerns following Game 1. Their puck management wasn’t as crisp. Their physical play only showed up in spurts. And their decision making left some of the 17,565 capacity crowd at TD Garden scratching their heads.
So, the Bruins went back to the drawing board Friday at Warrior Ice Arena in preparation for Game 2 Saturday night.
“To me, players have always been responsible for effort and execution. They control that as soon as they go over the boards. And part of our execution last night with the puck wasn’t good enough with our decision making,” Cassidy added.
“We talked about appropriate risk/reward. Those are the biggest two biggest things. There are other parts of the game — a little more urgency, a little more physicality, cleaner breakouts — but some of that goes to effort and some of that goes to execution. Those are the three biggest areas, and that’s what we talked about this morning and we worked on that a little bit in practice. So let’s hope we carry that over.”
For all the problems they had containing the Leafs’ attack, the Bruins had a couple of things going for them. They got off to a solid start and a 1-0 lead on Patrice Bergeron’s power play tally. The third line of Danton Heinen, Charlie Coyle and Marcus Johansson looked comfortable against Toronto’s bottom six in a rather decent performance.
But the Bruins know they need all hands on deck this time of year, regardless of who’s in the lineup. They found that out first hand at Friday’s practice as Jake DeBrusk took a maintenance day following a couple of rough falls in Game 1.
One game doesn’t decide a series after all. The Bruins know they need to be sharp in Game 2. They don’t want to go north of the border carrying a 0-2 series deficit. But they also know to maintain a leveled approach at this time of year.
“Yeah, like I said, we stay positive through it all no matter what happens,” Coyle said a day after tallying three shots on net and 15:29 time on ice in Game 1.
“You can’t get too high and you can’t get too low. That’s playoffs. It’s easy to get caught up in the ups and downs. We’re back at it with a chance at home again and we’re excited to get going again in Game 2.”
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