BOSTON – The two-day break couldn’t come at a better time for the Boston Bruins.
The Bruins won’t skate on Sunday after last night’s double-overtime 3-2 loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets in Game 2 at TD Garden and won’t again hit the ice in anger until Tuesday night’s Game 3 at the Nationwide Arena, home of the Blue Jackets. That’s a good thing for a Bruins group that skated with tired legs, made some key mental mistakes and looked at times like they didn’t have much in the tank coming off last round’s taxing seven-game series.
It also factored very much into the Bruins not being able to pull out Saturday night’s double-overtime marathon. Charlie Coyle had a ghastly turnover in his own end that led to one Artemi Panarin goal, the Bruins looked like they badly needed a break in the third period and a Patrice Bergeron tripping penalty in double-OT was the final straw that led to Matt Duchene’s game-winner for Columbus.
Credit a weary Bruins bunch for battling and a bounce here or there could have given the Black and Gold the decision in regulation, but it sure looked like the nine days of rest helped an energized Columbus crew outlast the Bruins when it was all over.
When 42-year-old Zdeno Chara is forced to play 28:27 in one of these playoff games due to the circumstances around the game, a couple of days away from battle is pretty much mandatory.
“You try to use those [off] days definitely to rest up,” admitted Patrice Bergeron. “It was a pretty quick turnaround [from the Toronto series] for Game One, for both games basically. We’ve got to use that day in between the right way.”
It certainly couldn’t have been easy for the Bruins going into overtime in each of the first two games against Columbus with a 48-hour turnaround time from the Leafs first-round series, a situation essentially forced on the Bruins due to a Cher concert taking up their home ice on Sunday at TD Garden. But there were a couple of posts hit, including Patrice Bergeron in overtime on a rebound scramble after Sergei Bobrovsky robbed him on a shot from the slot, and a near fortuitous dump-in attempt by Matt Grzelcyk that forced Bobrovsky to scramble after it took a weird bounce off a rut in the ice.
But Columbus made those plays when they had to and leaned heavily on Bobrovsky, and now force the Bruins to win on the road if they hope to recapture the home ice advantage in this second-round series. Certainly the Bruins hope the juice returns to their skating legs and their puck management after a couple of days resting up for Game 3.
“I think we’ll take some time off tomorrow. Let the body heal a little bit. I’m sure we’ll go over a lot of video,” said Grzelcyk. “[We] haven’t had too much time in between series. Just have to do your best to recover and hydrate. And get ready to go in three days. It’s the Stanley Cup playoffs so you have to dig deep.”
The Bruins will need to dig deep, re-energize and hit the ice in Columbus with a much fresher approach after looking sluggish and fatigued at points during the double-overtime Game 2 thriller. It would have been much better for them if they could have secured both games at home with fatigue almost certain to crop up again for them against a team that swept in the first round, but the B’s will now have to “dig deep” and find a way like all good hockey clubs do at this time of year.
Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Celtics easily on your device.