BRIGHTON, Mass – They say it’s not officially a playoff series until a home team loses in the series, so the Boston Bruins and New York Islanders officially have a Stanley Cup playoff thing going on right now.
The Bruins clearly didn’t play their best in Monday night’s Game 2 overtime loss to the Isles and the second period was probably their worst 20 minutes in the playoffs to date. But despite all that they still managed to come back in the third to push overtime and the Isles needed several bounces, two power play goals and a whole lot of good fortune to beat the Black and Gold in the extra session.
So, what are the adjustments for Game 3 at Nassau Coliseum on Thursday night with the B’s in need of taking at least one out of two to regain home ice advantage?
A lot of it comes down to the defensemen corps getting better in both zones as the Perfection Line continued to dominate in Game 2 with three goals seven points and 22 shot attempts against an Islanders defense geared to stop them.
“They just turned it up,” said Boston Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy of the Islanders. “They recognized where they were in the game. Give them some credit. There are going to be ebbs and flows to the game, but I think there are things in our game that need improvement. Below the goal lines and on our breakouts, we knew that was going to be an issue in this series if we weren’t clean. It caught up to us a little bit. Offensive blue line play, if they’re going to collapse on us then we need to be better.
“We got better in the third period and made some good plays up there, so that’s something that’s going to be required in there if they’re going to pack it in to try and take away our slot looks. That’s an adjustment we made in-game the other day and we’re going to have to work on it and be good again [in Game 3]. That’s what we’re looking at: Be clean coming out of our end, support the puck better and our ‘D’ are going to have to make better decisions with their first touch.”
It was an “ill-advised play” from young D-man Jeremy Lauzon that ultimately sank the Bruins in overtime, but it was also an average night from Tuukka Rask between the pipes as well at a time of year when average doesn’t cut it. Let’s also credit Lauzon for a game-saving block in OT as well prior to the D-to-D pass thrown to nobody that led to the game-winner for Casey Cizikas.
Jeremy Lauzon with a game-saving block in OT: pic.twitter.com/uhUlhjB4Mg
— Evan Marinofsky (@emarinofsky) June 1, 2021
So, the Boston Bruins know they need to be better headed to Long Island and they can’t afford to take a period off as they did in Game 2 and hope to come out on top, even if they clearly look like a superior hockey team through the first couple of games in the series.
“Obviously, we’d like to be up 2-0 in the series, but you’re playing good teams this time of year. It’s not that easy. We’ll work on the parts to get us wins and then go out there and hopefully execute better than the other team,” said Cassidy. “That’s the plan. They made one more play than us in overtime, and that’s the difference. So, we go up there, enjoy the moment and enjoy playoff hockey.”