With the Stanley Cup Final down to a best-of-three, it’s time for all hands on deck. That means the Bruins need everybody on board and everybody playing to their maximum level, and that’s something they haven’t always had in the first four games of this series.
Certainly, the Bruins need to be better 5-on-5 if they’re going to ultimately win against the Blues, and that goes double for a second line that’s completely vanished in this physical, punishing series against a big, strong Blues group. Jake DeBrusk has a pair of power-play assists in the series, but the entire line has been completely shut down during even strength play with just 15 shots on net combined over the four games against the Blues.
To their credit, they’re not really getting scored on either when they hop over the boards, but more is expected from DeBrusk, Krejci and Backes than merely battling to a standstill against whomever they’re lined up across from.
“They’ve got to change the way they’re playing,” said Cassidy. “It hasn’t worked so far to generate offense. One thing if you generate offense night after night, doesn’t go in, but we don’t see that from that line yet. We did talk about it (after Game 4). We’re going to have to revisit it, sell some different ideas of how they can generate offense.
“I think it’s pretty simple with Jake, he has to play more on the inside right now. Use his speed, get inside. That’s when he starts to get going. He’s that type of kid that when he scores one, he’s streaky. When he gets that one, he may take off. Typically [Krejci] is very receptive, but he still likes to play his way. We’re going to have to be halfway on that, then go from there.”
Krejci had an alarming zero shots in net in the physical Game 4, and worse yet seemed to be shying away from physical contact as things got nastier in the Blues win on their home ice. It’s going to take a lot more than what No. 46 is giving right now considering he’d previously led the NHL field in scoring in each of the two most recent seasons that Boston made it to the Stanley Cup Final.
Krejci seemed to acknowledge that it was time to step up following the Game 4 loss, and another invisible night for his line.
“Talk is cheap at this time of the year,” said Krejci. “We’ve just got to look at ourselves in the mirror and do the things that we talk about doing.”
It’s a good thing that Krejci is saying the right things at this point, but doing them is something else entirely. The Bruins sure could use the big game player from past playoff years, particularly if both Zdeno Chara and Matt Grzelcyk continue to be out of the lineup for the B’s moving forward.
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