Two lackluster performances in Philadelphia and Columbus had Boston Bruins fans worried heading into Thursday’s game against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Those fears were realized just 24 seconds in when Sidney Crosby opened the scoring. The Bruins buckled down from there, however, and showed the kind of hard working effort that has made them an elite organization.
Two goals in 2:13 put the Bruins ahead midway through the first period. They would not lose that lead the rest of the night. Jaroslav Halak stepped up and made key saves. Torey Krug stepped up and punished Patric Hornqvist for trying to take liberties on the Bruins. All in all, it was a noteworthy response.
“I thought our effort in Philadelphia was terrific for thirty-five minutes, and then we lost our way. Columbus, the last thirty we had good effort in terms of trying to get back in the game, couldn’t score,” Cassidy told reporters postgame. “Tonight, obviously got scored on early, that can deflate a team. Stuck with it. Power plays early — usually if you don’t score, it gives the other team some momentum as well. We played through some of the stuff that we didn’t do well early, and I liked our effort.”
The Bruins knew coming in that they couldn’t get into a track meet with a Penguins team that has been setting the scoreboard on fire as of late. They needed to play a hard game, which is exactly what they did.
“I thought we checked really well against a good offensive team, managed the puck well, got over people,” Cassidy continued. “In that part of the game I thought we were hard to play against in terms of solid defending. I thought we stuck together physically, tried to play the body when we were supposed to and stuck up for one another if anything happened. Dropped the mitts once, because sometimes that’s going to happen. So, good response.”
Although Cassidy wouldn’t go into too much detail, he admitted that the hope was a better response and effort from his team on Thursday night.
“We did have a different day today, we had a different meeting on some things we needed to do better as a group,” Cassidy admitted. “It wasn’t necessarily a challenge, it was a reset on supporting one another all over the ice. And you hope if you do that to get pucks back, it’ll bleed into anything else that transpires — the physical play, everything else that goes with it. I thought that part was good.”
It certainly was good. Good enough to get the attention of the rest of the league and the Bruins two key points.