After a 6-2 rout of the Carolina Hurricanes in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Final, the Boston Bruins are two wins away from the Stanley Cup Final and six wins away from their second championship in eight seasons and seventh overall. One of the main reasons this current B’s squad is headed to Carolina for Games 3 and 4 of the Eastern Conference Final with a commanding 2-0 series lead is that they’re never satisfied. From head coach Bruce Cassidy and his staff to the leadership core of players, the constant desire to always be better and at times correct even the slightest mistakes is a foundation for the success the Bruins are enjoying now.
Following their 5-2 win in Game 1 of this series, the Bruins to a man were obviously happy with a win and a 1-0 series lead, but to a man, none of them were satisfied and vowed to be better, which they were in Game 2. However, even after dominating the Canes throughout Game 2, the players amazingly still saw room for improvement
“Yeah, we had a good game,” said winger Brad Marchand nonchalantly. “We gotta try to replicate that now and be even better.”
Just a “good game” Brad? So what exactly is a great game for this 2018-19 Bruins squad?
“That was close for sure, but we can’t be satisfied because we all have that bigger goal in mind and until we get there, there’s always something we can do better,” Marchand said. “I think we all respect and want to hold each other accountable. There’s a lot of chatter not only in the room but on the bench, and on the ice about how to change things from what we see. So, again, this game, playoffs is a chess match and you’re trying to adjust to what they’re doing and they’re going to adjust to what we’re doing. So you’re constantly looking for ways to beat the pressure or find some open space. It’s all about communication and we have a lot of guys that see a lot of good things. We’re not scared to talk to each other in the room and on the bench and we just kind of feed off that.”
Second-year winger Jake DeBrusk echoed Marchand’s sentiments and credited him and the veteran core.
“I think there’s still stuff we can improve heading into Game 3,” said winger DeBrusk, who scored Boston’s second goal 18:32 into a first period that was as close to perfect as you could want your team to play. “There’s always stuff we’ll find and strive to better with.”
That being said, DeBrusk wasn’t going to deny how well he and his teammates reacted to what they felt was an average performance in Game 1 and discussed why it is, sometimes even in the second of back-to-back losses, this Bruins team is still much better after a bad game.
“It’s just the adjustments we get from the coaching staff and also the leaders,” DeBrusk pointed out. “You know I’m playing with two of them right now in ‘Krech’ [David Krejci] and [David] Backes, they lead the way, and especially for us young guys who it’s our second year in the postseason for some of us and for some our first, they just show us how to battle back. So that’s been our motto from day one, no matter what happens, just go out there and be resilient and that’s why we’ve had success throughout these entire playoffs. You can’t have success unless you’re like that. You need to bounce back from mistakes even in a win. You have pride in your own game, in the team, and for the city. You understand what’s at stake and I think that has a huge thing to do with it. Everyone has pride and that’s the main ingredient into the thinking behind everything.”
While his players were maintaining the ‘always room for improvement’ mantra, head coach Bruce Cassidy at least acknowledged that Game 2 was as close to a perfect game that he could ask for. This run also seems to echo the 2013 run when they lost in six games to the Blackhawks in the Stanley Cup Final and their 2011 run when they won the Cup.
“Yeah, well we certainly…we elevated our game from Game 1,” Cassidy said. I don’t want to go through the whole playoff series, but our start was good. They were physical, answered the bell. We didn’t give up much in the first. I think it was one tip scoring chance and generated some of our own. Took advantage of the power play opportunity and had the lead going into the first intermission. Always our goal, on-time start. Hopefully, with the lead. Extend the lead. Play winning hockey to finish the game. It’s kind of how we approach it every night, and I think, yeah, to answer your question it’s as close as I can recall.”