The growing fatigue in the Boston Bruins was pretty clear after watching their energy begin to fade in a marathon Game 2 against the Columbus Blue Jackets.
In the end, the Bruins lost the game in double overtime when Matt Duchene scored a power-play goal on a rebound in front of the net, but there were also clear moments when the legs lost their bounce, and the uncharacteristic mental mistakes started to pile up.
Through it all, they still had plenty of chances to win the game and lasted until double OT, and now the Bruins are fully absorbing a pair of off days prior to transporting the series to Columbus for Tuesday night’s Game 3 against the Blue Jackets.
"It came at a good time for us to get the two days between games," said head coach Bruce Cassidy. "We had a seven-game series, obviously high intensity, back and forth. It takes an emotional toll as well. Most seven-game series do, but the way we had to come back and then get right into it, I think we fed off that the first night.
“Our natural fitness level came through for the guys to be able to play that long. But I think mentally we made some mistakes that we wouldn't make if we were a little fresher. That's where it caught up to us, the seven games. I do believe that. We had some breakdowns that typically we don't do, especially on the PK on the last goal. We broke down. They made a good play, but we weren't in the right spots and I think that's part of it."
The Bruins stayed completely off the ice on Sunday following the Game 2 loss, and will practice on Monday while surely fine-tuning some special teams things before flying out to Columbus. It would seem, though, that the B’s getting a breather after going hard every other day since April 11 will be just as important as any instruction they get on the ice.
"We've been going every other day now for a while now, it gives us a second to catch our breath, regroup and focus on some things we want to do better in the series moving forward,” said Krug. “I'm sure the guys are really appreciating the time off."
Will it be enough to catch up to the nine days that the Blue Jackets had to ready for the second round after sweeping the Tampa Bay Lightning?
Of course not, but it certainly could be enough to re-energize the B’s into taking one of the two road games in Columbus this coming week, and thereby regain the home-ice advantage they lost in the series with the Game 2 double-overtime defeat. And that’s all that matters when it comes to the Bruins regaining the upper hand in a second round series where it seemed the batteries were running low on Saturday night.
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