Behind the bench for yet another flat-looking, cold-shooting night from his team, Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy borrowed a line from every frustrated parent across the world Thursday.
“I’m not frustrated with those guys,” Cassidy said of the team’s veterans. “I’m disappointed that they don’t recognize the value of the puck and where we are in the game and they haven’t stepped up a little more.
“They know what’s at stake. They’ve been to Stanley Cup Finals, so they know the way the game is played. They just need to respect it and play that way. My my job is to get them to that message through and get them to understand that their job is to understand that they are leaders of this hockey club and they should know better.”
On the wrong end of a 4-1 loss to the Penguins at TD Garden, Cassidy’s team once again failed to generate much of anything until their hole was already dug. On the board with just two shots in the opening 20 minutes of play, it wasn’t until the Bruins went down by two that you finally saw some signs of life in the offensive zone, and Brad Marchand’s goal with just under nine minutes remaining in the third period was the only thing the B’s had to show for themselves by the night’s end.
But the Bruins had hope after the Marchand goal, which sliced their deficit in half, and with more than enough time left on the clock for the Black and Gold to make their patented third-period push. But a brutal turnover from David Pastrnak in the neutral zone less than two minutes after Marchand’s goal put any hopes of a Boston comeback to bed.
Pastrnak is hardly the only ‘veteran’ to put under the microscope here. Charlie Coyle, who has just five goals and four assists through 32 games this year, logged a season-low 13:22 in the loss. David Krejci had just one shot on goal and was a minus-2 in over 17 minutes of action. And the team as a whole missed at least 15 shots for the second straight night.
“We’ve had games like this where we just don’t respect the process,” Cassidy lamented. “We don’t respect taking care of the puck. Good offense teams kind of shove it right up and that’s what happens. So, you know, a lot of it was our top guys. Our younger guys are learning the ropes here a little bit, but you got to do a better job taking care of the puck. So it’s simple.”
The mistakes being made by the Bruins’ best are essentially hurting doubly when you consider the lift that the team’s younger talents, who were called out by Cassidy following the team’s comeback win over the Devils, are not providing.
“We started slow. [Matt Grzelcyk] and [Brandon] Carlo had a tough time behind the net there, probably is a fairly straightforward breakout and it started from there,” Cassidy noted. “We seemed to be chasing the game, Found our way back in it and, again, the last two goals, we have the puck on our stick and it’s in our net a short time later.
“Hopefully we learn a lesson to be better on Saturday.”