By Kevin Flanagan
BSD Bruins Senior Staff Writer
Two games into the Eastern Conference Finals against the Carolina Hurricanes the second seed Bruins are looking like world beaters against one of the biggest surprises – one of several in this bizarro 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs – this spring.
In the Mother’s Day matinee that took place at TD Garden on Sunday afternoon, head coach Bruce Cassidy’s club looked every bit the scolding parent who was punishing their child for some wrongdoing that their youngster had done, thereby deserving of the discipline that was laid out. When asked about his team’s ability to seemingly adapt to any type of style of play that opposing try to use when they face the Black and Gold following the 6-2 Game 2 win – that wasn’t as close as the blowout score indicates – the B’s bench boss was quick to respond.
“[The] talent level of our group. We can skate with anybody. I think when we’re on our game and skating I think we’re as good as any skating team in this league. We have physical players sprinkled throughout our lineup that can deliver the hits, and we have, we just talked about him, the Matt Grzelcyk’s of the world that can bounce back off hits that aren’t known as physical guys that can skate, smart, but doesn’t bother him.
“He’ll bounce back, so I think that bleeds into whatever game’s out there, and we’re going to play it. And hopefully, play it well if you’re executing. Then it comes down to can you execute? Are you focused? Are you making the plays at the right time? So, skating or physical or both.”
Despite the criticism that Bruins general manager Don Sweeney faced when he looked as if he was lost at the 2015 NHL Draft in June of 2015 – shortly after he took over the steaming hot mess that his predecessor Peter Chiarelli left him in the office he inherited on Causeway Street – Sweeney has since assembled a team that has amassed the second most points in the regular season over the past two seasons (219 to Tampa Bay’s 241), and unlike the heavily favored Lightning – who are approaching the one month mark of their summer vacation – they have had to play an extremely talented Toronto Maple Leafs squad in the first round to open the playoffs the last two springs, just to advance.
The Bruins seemingly next franchise defenseman, Charlie McAvoy – who might just be the latest on an unprecedented list that includes the likes of partner Zdeno Chara, Ray Bourque, Brad Park, and the immortal Bobby Orr, to name a few – had this to say about the series heading back to Carolina on Tuesday night.
“Like I said, we’re onto the next. We can take away positives and learn from tonight, you know, clear up a couple [of] things. We’re going down to their building, we know that they play well there, so we just really have to enjoy right now and as soon as we leave the rink, it’s on to Game 3,” as he sits just two wins away from making his Stanley Cup Finals debut for the storied Original Six franchise.
“You know, refocusing, resetting, and getting ready to play in a hostile environment and we just plan to play to our standards and our culture.”
The Bruins arrived Tuesday in the land of tobacco just six wins away from winning their second Stanley Cup this decade, despite the fact just three years ago they were seemingly an organization adrift, saddled by bad contracts and not nearly enough secondary talent to support the 2011 championship core that is still the backbone of this current Black and Gold clad bunch.
Whether or not they will be riding in duck boats in downtown Boston come the middle of June now rests entirely in their hands. Hands that have proven very capable for the last couple of years no matter what adversity they have faced.
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