The Boston Bruins must reset and regroup on the heels of sustaining their worst playoff loss in nearly 30 years.
The Bruins will look to rebound from a 7-1 shellacking by the Tampa Bay Lightning when the teams play Game 4 of their Eastern Conference second-round series on Saturday afternoon. The Lightning have won the last two contests to take a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven set.
“We’re going to have to move on,” Bruins captain Zdeno Chara said of Wednesday’s lopsided loss. “We realize that was one of those games that nobody wants to look at. Definitely something that we have to move forward from and get ready for the next one.”
Game 4 was originally scheduled for Friday, however that contest was postponed as the players exercised a form of protest against systemic racism and police brutality. The Lightning players said they were discussing a potential postponement almost immediately after their resounding win in Game 3.
In fact, veteran defenseman Braydon Coburn was asked a hockey-related question on Friday but deferred, saying he wanted only to talk about the issues facing the world.
“We want to keep the attention and conversation around the issue, and that’s where our heads are at right now,” Coburn said.
Boston’s Brad Marchand made no bones about the importance of stepping back and offering support.
“We’re not being political. It’s not the goal and not what we’re here for,” Marchand said. “There needs to be changes throughout society. It’s about people being equal.”
When their focus returns to the ice, though, the Lightning will look to keep the momentum. After all, they know the Bruins will have plenty of motivation after being dismantled.
“Let’s be honest, this is an aberration,” coach Jon Cooper said of his team’s one-sided win. “This doesn’t happen in playoff hockey. They’re the Presidents’ Trophy champions. You turn the page on this one just like you turn the page on an overtime thriller. You can’t hang your hat on that one. When a team has a clunker, you can’t hang your hat on that one either. They’re both just one win.”
For the Bruins, that means finding their form — including a way to combat a Tampa Bay power play that converted its first three chances on Wednesday. The first power-play goal sparked a franchise-record two tallies in 15 seconds to secure a 2-0 lead.
“Now you’re in a 2-0 hole and you played not a bad period,” Boston coach Bruce Cassidy said. “So, the rest of the game, we didn’t respond. The disappointing part … is that we weren’t able to get ourselves back in the game by killing any further penalties or creating offense or having our push back.
“But it’s over. We’re going to focus on Game 4; 7-1, 2-1, a loss is a loss. They’re up 2-1. I think we’ve got a good group in there. I know we have a good group in there. We’ll lick our wounds … and get ready for Game 4.”
The Lightning are bracing for a big pushback.
“In these games when you get up six goals in the end, the type of hockey that’s played is not the hockey that is going to be played (next game),” Tampa Bay’s Alex Killorn said. “You don’t want to pick up any bad habits in that sense. We kind of have to switch gears, get back to playing the type of hockey we were playing at the beginning of the game and just adjust.”
–Field Level Media