The 2018 Boston Bruins answer the bell when it matters, no matter what. Want to play run and gun hockey? They have the skill to beat you 6-5. If the game is a grind it out defensive battle, then fine by this team. They will still beat you 2-1. What about handling injuries to key players in the middle of a playoff push? Nope, that cannot slow this team down either. They just beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 3-0 on the road.
The Bruins had a few noticiable concerns ahead of their anticipated matchup with the division-leading Lightning. Coach Cassidy was publicly critical of the Bruins’ defensive performance in the past week. He was especially critical following Thursday’s loss to the Panthers. Add the fact that the Bruins’ top two defensemen, Zdeno Chara and Charlie McAvoy, were out of the lineup. Along with one, if not the best, defensive forward in hockey, Patrice Bergeron. Just as Bruce Cassidy has done all season long, he pushed the right buttons ahead of the daunting matchup. Cassidy made sure to address the Bruins defensemen who have been battling for playing time. Making it clear that this was their shot to earn playing time and trust.
The Boston Bruins did not let a chance to prove doubters wrong once again go by. As shorthanded as they were, the were facing a Lighting team averaging an NHL best 3.54 goals per game. Many expected the Bruins to take a loss. Yet they went into Tampa and completely stifled the best offensive team in hockey, and earned an extremely impressive 3-0 victory. Tuukka Rask, who has been under a microscope as of late, played a solid game all around, making key saves when the Bruins needed them most. Rask looked relaxed and energized in net. He was on top of his angles and had great anticipation all game long. Going forward the Bruins should try to alternate starting goalies every game, but it is definitely a good sign to see Rask step up.
Tampa Bay has been the class of the East all season long. If the Bruins plan on going deep in the playoffs, then it is very probable that a matchup with Tampa will occur. To see this team answer the bell like that on the road against better team is really eye-opening. Right now I’m taking the Bruins in a seven game series over any team. This team has that it factor and it’s going to show in April when they answer the bell once again.