By Ty Anderson, 985TheSportsHub.com
Life in the bubble hasn't gone as planned for the Boston Bruins.
Losing the No. 1 seed with back-to-back losses to the Flyers and Lightning in the round-robin, and with a loss in their one exhibition tilt, it's been hard to find the same positives and Cup-level vibes that emanated from this team pre-COVID.
But Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy isn't here for talk of doom-and-gloom within the B's dressing room.
"Our guys are not in a bad place, they’re really not," Cassidy said after Saturday's practice. "We want to win, we want to play better. We wanted to preserve the number one seed, but we have a veteran group that knows what the ultimate goal is and what’s at stake. They know that come Tuesday or Wednesday – I assume we’ll open one of those two days – they know how to play playoff hockey. So as a coach, I haven’t been around as long as they have, but I do know my team pretty well; I feel like we’re trending in the right direction. I see energy in practice now, the last couple days."
To Cassidy's point, the Bruins were drastically better in the second half of Wednesday's meeting with Tampa Bay. They were the aggressors, won puck battles, and finally showed some signs of life in all situations. A late-game hiccup cost them the game, but when it came to the structure and effort, there was undeniable progress.
And after beginning Friday with six possible playoff opponents still on the table, a pair of eliminations has since zeroed the Bruins in on either the Islanders or Hurricanes in round one, which has helped the B's mindset heading into Sunday's tilt with the Capitals.
"I think that just a little more clarity in our situation came in last night," Cassidy, whose team will move into the No. 3 seed with a win Sunday, offered. "It’s either the Islanders or Carolina. There’s a team to start thinking about. Players to start to dislike.
"And that is part that gets the juices flowing."
The Bruins and Capitals will drop the puck shortly after 12 p.m. in their battle for playoff seeding.
Ty Anderson is a writer and columnist for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Yell at him on Twitter: @_TyAnderson.