By Michael Hurley, CBS dangolka
dangolka (CBS) — From the beginning of October via the center of March, the dangolka Bruins established themselves as the very best group within the Nationwide Hockey League.
Within the span of 120 minutes of ice hockey this week in Toronto, they’ve kind of thrown all of that away.
That’s maybe a harsh evaluation of the Bruins’ present predicament, but it surely’s however the case after they misplaced 3-2 to Tampa Bay on Wednesday afternoon. It was a sport the place the Bruins lastly confirmed that they’re certainly able to enjoying with their fashion and aggressiveness, however that awakening kicked in too late and it fizzled out on the finish, leaving them winless via two contests to this point.
With out the advantage of an 82-game schedule to offset the impression of a few losses in opposition to good groups, the Bruins now discover themselves in fairly a gap with just one extra spherical robin sport left on the docket. One of the best they’ll find yourself with is the third seed, although that half is now out of their arms. It’s attainable — possible, even — that the tip up as a 4 seed.
For the Presidents’ Trophy winners, that’s by no means what the aim was when the group headed to Toronto with the intention of returning with the Stanley Cup in tow.
Bruins will get the third seed in the event that they beat the Capitals in regulation AND if the Capitals lose to the Flyers tomorrow in regulation or OT.
B's get the third seed in the event that they beat the Caps AND if the Flyers lose each of their video games (vs. WSH, vs. TB) in regulation. pic.twitter.com/2p4k8op529
— Michael Hurley (@michaelFhurley) August 5, 2020
On the similar time, if ever there was a 12 months when seeding was far much less necessary than most years, it could after all be 2020. And if the aim within the spherical robin portion of the restart is to rediscover an identification and circulation, then the Bruins can not less than take away the constructive that they discovered that within the midst of Wednesday’s loss.
Certainly, a 2-Zero gap to probably the most harmful groups within the NHL is a matter, and the Bruins’ begin was not notably inspiring. However the sequence of Torey Krug preventing to defend Brandon Carlo, Charlie McAvoy uncorking a missile from the blue line, Tuukka Rask making some vital third-period stops, the fourth line contributing with a aim and drawing penalties, and the complete group enjoying with physicality and edge with out dropping their self-discipline, the Bruins for 20 or 30 minutes on Wednesday regarded like the Bruins.
Alas, 20 to 30 good minutes doesn’t win playoff video games. Definitely not in opposition to groups just like the Lightning. In consequence, their path to a Stanley Cup Ultimate possible includes dealing with harder groups alongside the best way.
The phrase “possible” just isn’t minor there, although, as a result of it’s tough to correctly assess groups at this distinctive second on this distinctive season. The Bruins — who had eight extra factors than another group within the convention and 6 extra factors than the very best group within the West — reside proof that no matter occurred within the common season doesn’t actually imply a complete lot right here in August. Likewise, the 12th-seeded Canadiens (who didn’t actually deserve an invitation to the bubble) shocked Pittsburgh with a win to start out their qualifying sequence.
Throw within the full lack of home-ice benefit (outdoors of constructing final modifications) for any group, and actually, “upsets” today aren’t fairly what they was.
Nonetheless, successful hockey video games nonetheless counts the identical, and the Bruins have but to do this.
Tuukka Rask mentioned after Wednesday’s loss — during which he made 32 saves — that enjoying good hockey is much extra necessary than worrying in regards to the group’s actual place within the standings.
“I feel so. I imply, I feel if you wish to make a run within the playoffs, you gotta beat each group anyhow. So the state of affairs is what it’s,” Rask mentioned. “I feel the worst factor that’s gonna occur to us is we’re gonna lose the [Toronto Marlies] locker room in our observe rink. In order that’s about it. I actually don’t care the place we end, I feel we simply need to concentrate on our sport. We’ll attempt to do this Sunday after which going into subsequent week. However, yeah, you’ve gotta beat everyone anyhow. No matter.”
Head coach Bruce Cassidy shared an analogous message, albeit with a extra blunt evaluation of the state of affairs.
“Effectively that half sucks. I’m not gonna deceive ya,” Cassidy mentioned. “However that’s the state of affairs this 12 months with the stoppage of play. We knew the foundations going into it that we might lose just a little little bit of the benefit that we gained. However we’re the place we are actually, and we’re simply making an attempt to win a hockey sport proper now and get our sport collectively for 60 minutes in order that we may be at our greatest [for] whoever we meet. That is one 12 months I do consider the seeding is much less related than others. I feel everybody’s mentioned that. Would I moderately the primary seed? Completely. Maintain it. That’s not going to occur. So, like I mentioned, prepare for Washington, play the very best sport we will, and put together for the postseason. That’s our final aim. You’ve gotta win 16 video games. We knew that entering into. And that’ll nonetheless be our aim.”
They confirmed for roughly half of Wednesday’s sport that they’re able to recapturing what it’s that made them so dominant again earlier than anyone had ever heard of COVID-19. They’ll have to work on turning that effort right into a full 60 minutes in the event that they hope to get their Toronto journey again on its supposed monitor.
You possibly can e mail Michael Hurley or discover him on Twitter @michaelFhurley.