By Kevin Flanagan
BSD Bruins Senior Staff Writer
Let’s face it, the NHL is the Bruins world right now and the other 30 teams are just living in it.
A bit of hyperbole? Maybe, but it wouldn’t be inaccurate to say that the stars are currently aligned when it comes to the hockey team that calls Causeway Street home these days.
Minus David Pastrnak, Jake DeBrusk, and the newly acquired Marcus Johansson up front, the B’s beat the Florida Panthers at the TD Garden in stunning fashion on Thursday night 4-3 by potting two goals with under a minute left after pretty much sleepwalking through much of the first two periods.
I’m thinking that Panthers’ netminder Roberto Luongo’s tires were pretty deflated as he made his way to the visiting dressing room at TD Garden following yet another nightmare ending in Boston.
“We win [once again coming from behind], and it’s like the way we win: different guys contributing, shorthanded goal…so never quit. I love that about the guys. They play for one and other every night.
“It’s not always perfect, but they’re great that way. They’re happy for each other. You don’t see that in every team, trust me. Some guys are not happy for others. They want to be the guy,” said an obviously pleased head coach Bruce Cassidy.
“I think our guys are genuinely happy for each other’s success. The guys want to win every night. They don’t want to say hey we’ve had a real good run…it’s not our night, let’s get on to the next one. I think that’s a good, positive sign for us that we’ve got a bunch of gamers in there. Like I said, it wasn’t pretty from start to finish but we did enough things well.”
And the Bruins bench boss should be sporting an ear to ear grin as the NHL grind enters its final month of the regular season. Since taking over for Claude Julien in February of 2017, Cassidy has instilled an attitude that should be the envy of any coach of any sport at any level.
His teams have cared. His teams have fought. And prior to this 18 game point streak – only in the NHL can a team have four overtime losses and still be on a “streak” – you could make an argument that they have over-achieved.
But have they?
For as much as naysayers like this apparently brain dead blogger have not been convinced that general manager Don Sweeney did not give his head coach enough at the recently passed trade deadline, their second place standing in overall points in the league says otherwise.
Since losing Pastrnak on Valentine’s Day Eve in a questionable slip and fall that resulted in an injury to his left thumb that required surgery, the Bruins have gone 9-0-1 and experienced a secondary scoring surge that few thought possible just weeks before.
The much-maligned Tuukka Rask has done his team one better when it comes to streaks, claiming at least a point in his last 19 games between the pipes for the Black and Gold, as well. This following what has become a habit of starting the season off in a shaky fashion, that had many calling for Jaroslav Halak to take over the number one goaltending spot in early November.
“ Yeah, I mean it just shows that we can win in different situations. We know we have a special group, we know we have a good team and a really good atmosphere in the room. Guys get along really well,” said Brad Marchand – who with three assists is further strengthening his claim as one of the top forwards in the game right now – after the exhilarating win.
“But, we’re not going to win all those games, we can’t continue to get down two-nothing and expect to win each game, but you do have to be able to come back in games like that– down by a goal with two minutes left, so you know, it’s good, but that’s a losing game so we can’t be doing that too often.”
While that may be true, this Bruins team is proving to be a team that is unfamiliar with losing. If this continues to be the case come spring, Boston hockey fans could be in for a fun ride that just might end in yet another duck boat tour of the city by one of their most beloved franchises.