Sometimes in the Stanley Cup playoffs, it can take a game or two to get the big dogs going in the Boston Bruins lineup.
The Perfection Line, and more broadly the entire top-6 forward group, wasn’t at their best in a Game 1 OT loss against the Washington Capitals as they missed 21 shot attempts while facing an emergency goalie, Craig Anderson, that’s only played a handful of times this season. Some of it was about missing the nets with shots, some of it was about not fighting enough to get the inside ice and some of it was about Boston’s best players simply being off their games after the Capitals came out throwing big hits to start the game.
“We had some high tips that were good where there were some rebounds, and we certainly generated a couple chances,” said Boston Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy. “Bergeron’s shot where Pastrnak looked like he had an open net, but it didn’t go where it was in tight battling. That’s going to be a challenge against bigger ‘D’ and we know that. There were pockets of good stuff, but not enough up and down the lineup to generate enough offense.
“The other part was our neutral zone attack where we had some time and didn’t attack their ‘D’ enough. There were opportunities. Taylor Hall certainly did and drew some penalties as a result. We need a little more of that with our guys that have pace to force the ‘D’ to defend you. Power play versus pressure if we can relieve it a bit better by using our individual skill or support, or both, I think all those things will lead to more [scoring] opportunities.”
After notching a single assist on a Bruins power play goal in Game 1, B’s game-breaker David Pastrnak said he’s determined to make more of an impact at the offensive end of the ice.
“Hopefully it’s going to be a better game for us, and we get the ‘W’,” said Pastrnak, who is a player that absolutely needs to respond with dogged determination once Washington targets him with the rough treatment. “I’m an offensive player so you need to produce offense. I try to score and set up goals. That’s obviously my skill set.”
The Perfection Line actually had 20 shot attempts in the OT loss, which is not too far off their overall puck possession and shot output when they are really churning on all cylinders during a Stanley Cup playoff series. But 13 of those 20 shot attempts were either blocked or missed the net, including five missed shots by Patrice Bergeron, so the message should be clear after an opening playoff game that could have gone either way when it reached overtime.
Boston’s best forwards need to work a little harder to fine tune their shooting accuracy and work a little harder to open up the shooting lanes against a Capitals group that look determined to knock them off their game in the series.