BOSTON – While the Bruins certainly enjoyed most of their first victory under new interim head coach Bruce Cassidy, there were also areas where improvement will be needed.
The Bruins poured it on in a 6-3 win over the San Jose Sharks and never trailed in the game at TD Garden, but they also gave up three goals while looking a little loose in the defensive zone at times.
The good things were unmistakable: The Bruins looked dominant on the power play, the forwards were attacking down low close to the net rather than working it around the perimeter offensively and defensemen such as Torey Krug were ultra-aggressive at times offensively. Now, Cassidy wants to continue using the practice and games to find the “happy medium” between generating higher-powered offense and making sure it gets dialed back in certain spots as well.
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Clearly, the Sharks didn’t seem to be in a position to make the Bruins pay for some of the mistakes they made defensively, but some of it was also Boston’s mindset that the B’s would take the attack to a vulnerable San Jose unit that’s lost three in a row.
“We were loose at times; there’s no doubt. Late in the game we had some D active and I think it was Marchy [Brad Marchand] who walked up, and…it’s time and score situations. But when you’re trying to instill certain things you’ve got to live with some of that and then we’ll just dial it back. We saw a lot of that where we were active and sometimes trying to make some plays through the neutral zone that we want to make when they’re there,” said Cassidy. “So we’ll address it [at practice], but this is a time that we’ve got to take what’s there.
“I’d rather see – we’re going to err on the side of hopefully aggression, playing on our toes early on here and then, you know, we’re going to have to dial it back in. The day will come when we pay the price for that aggression and we’ll see from there when we find that happy medium. Tonight it worked out for us. I liked that our D were up and assertive in the neutral zone, killing plays, and trying to make quick-ups. Some nights it’s going to bite you so you have to find that balance, but we do want to play this way. We’ve said that for the last two days. We want to play on our toes and be a little more assertive in our overall game and see where it goes.”
It’s good that Cassidy recognizes that the Bruins need to walk a tightrope balancing offense and defense. Surely, the absence of Zdeno Chara contributed to some of the Black and Gold laxity in the defensive zone. After Krug basically played the role of No. 1 defenseman in terms of ice time, Kevan Miller and Brandon Carlo were the top shutdown pair skating in the big shadow of the absent Chara.
Still, it’s impossible to argue with the immediate results posted by the Bruins on Thursday night showing an offensive snap and aggressiveness that simply hasn’t been there this season.