Boston Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy met the media Monday just before he and his team took off for Florida where they will play the Tampa Bay Lightning Tuesday and then the Florida Panthers Thursday before returning home to face the Lightning again at TD Garden Saturday night. The Bruins (41-13-12, 94 points) have opened up a seven-point lead on the Bolts (41-19-5, 87 points), but the Lightning (20-6-1, 41 points) has been five points better than the Bruins (17-6-2, 36 points) since January 1.
The Lightning is still one of the deepest teams skill-wise but after being swept by the grittier Columbus Blue Jackets in the first round of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs, the Bolts have put an emphasis on playing a heavier, more playoff-like game this season. To do so, they added 6-foot-2, 236-pound winger Patrick Maroon, who was a member of the 2018-19 St. Louis Blues team that beat the Bruins in the 2019 Stanley Cup Final, via free agency last July and then acquired 6-foot-2, 215-pound center Barclay Goodrow at the trade deadline a week ago.
“Goodrow’s a big body, obviously Maroon is as well…maybe they have some more speed down the bottom [of the lineup],” Cassidy said. “I think that’s what they want eventually anyway, whether it’s 6-foot-2 and 30 pounds heavier, they want competitive on the puck. They do push the pace and they have their speed…they’ve added a couple bigger pieces. That could be the [effect of losing to Columbus] from last year.”
Watch Cassidy discuss that, David Pastrnak and more: