The Bruins spent the day on Thursday “licking their wounds” after getting stomped by the Tampa Bay Lightning to the tune of a 7-1 score in Wednesday night’s Game 3 loss.
The B’s didn’t practice and only head coach Bruce Cassidy spoke to the media as the players stepped away from the rink and mounting pressure after the Bolts took a 2-1 series lead in the best-of-seven playoff.
The Bruins can take solace in the sheer unlikeliness that the penalty kill collapse or Zdeno Chara being on the ice for three Lightning goals in the same game isn’t going to repeat itself in the playoff series.
They can also harken back to last June’s Stanley Cup Final when they stomped the St. Louis Blues by a 7-2 score to take a 2-1 lead in that series. We all remember how that one ended as one blowout win for the Bruins certainly didn’t win them that seven-game series.
The Bruins have a group of proud veterans who will undoubtedly respond to getting their teeth kicked in, and the entire team doesn’t want a repeat of the second-round series two years ago when the Black and Gold lost four straight games to Tampa Bay after winning the opener. Bruce Cassidy said as much while underscoring just how much faith he has in this current Bruins group to bounce back from a humbling loss to the Lightning.
“It's two to one [in the series], we need to be better in Game 4, take care of the puck breaking out of our end and control the neutral zone better. There's a lot of areas of our game [to improve]. Typically, I like our special teams and we got beat on that [in Game 3], so I think they'll bounce back,” said Cassidy. “A day off away from the rink [on Thursday] will be good for everybody. Like I said we're licking our wounds today, but we’ll be better.
“We’ve got a good group there, a core group will be ready to go. They’re going to have to pull that middle group along. We challenged the middle group the other day and hopefully they're able to respond, too. You need 20 guys, this is too good of a hockey club, no passengers, so that will be the message. Our guys are pretty good at bouncing back. I wasn't happy with our response in the second and third period [in the Game 3 blowout], but Game 4 will be a different animal. [We] get a little time away from the rink, get refreshed and be ready to go.”
Talk is cheap when it comes to playoff time, so the Bruins will have to back up the words with action when they get back on the ice for Game 4.
It’s clear there isn’t that wide of a disparity between these two teams as the scoreboard showed at the end of Game 3, and the B’s are preparing to show that when they finally get on the ice for a pivotal Game 4 against Tampa Bay.