Lighting winger Patrick Maroon saw plenty of the Bruins in June 2019 en route to the Blues clinching the Stanley Cup in Game 7 at the Garden.
More than a year later, despite some key changes at wing and in net for the Bruins, the 6-foot-2-inch power forward sees much the same team that offered the Blues such stiff competition on way to the first Cup in St. Louis history.
“I think they have a couple of new faces over there, but to me it seemed like the same team that plays the right way every single night, plays the game hard, plays the game between the whistles, makes it hard on each player and each line every single night,” said Maroon, 32, who joined the Lightning last summer as an unrestricted free agent.
By Maroon’s eye, the Bruins “have a good team each season and a chance to win the Cup every year.”
The Bruins had Maroon on their radar ahead of the February 2018 trade deadline, but landed the biggest fish in the market when obtaining Rick Nash via trade with the Rangers. The Oilers sent Maroon to New Jersey, where he popped in but a single goal in five playoff games.
“For me, personally, I think it’s the same [Boston] team,” added Maroon. “For our team, I think we have to focus on our game and make sure we get to our game first and dictate the play right away.”
Maroon, in 11:52 of ice time in Game 1, went without a point. He landed two shots on net and delivered four hits, lining up most of the night with rookie center Carter Verhaeghe and Cedric Paquette.
Rested and ready
While Bruce Cassidy weighs his options about which goalie to park in the Bruins net for Game 3 Wednesday, it sounds like Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper has Andrei Vasilevskiy all but inked in for the back-to-backs Tuesday and Wednesday.
However, said Cooper, there are a few factors to consider.
“One that works in the favor of everybody is that, in a regular playoffs, you’ve played 82 games [in the regular season],” he said. “Vasi probably would have played 60 of them and then gone through a playoff run. Here we’ve had a five-month pause.”
With his work thus far in the postseason, noted Cooper, Vasilevskiy is now carrying a workload the equivalent of, say, late October or early November. Light lifting by the normal standards of the 26-year-old Russian stopper, who averaged just under 40 wins the past three seasons.
“Now, if [Tuesday] night goes into five overtimes, we’ve got a decision to make,” added Cooper. “But you look at 60-minute games, and the workload these goalies get. I mean, did he break a sweat during the game, or was he under siege? So there’s so many things that factor into it.
“Vasi is young by age, but he’s been in the league for a while, and we’ve found a good niche where we can manage his minutes, his mind, and so we’ll see how this goes. No travel either. He’s feeling pretty good and pretty fresh right now.”
The backup goaltender is Curtis McElhinney, a 37-year-old journeyman. Tampa is his eighth NHL stop. Over his 12-season NHL career, McElhinney, ex- of Colorado College, has been claimed off waivers three times.
Not likely that the Bruins make any roster changes for Game 2 … Lightning defenseman Ryan McDonagh, injured late in Game 1, did not skate Monday. Cooper offered no guidance as to his condition … Through six postseason games, the Bruins now own a lead-time advantage of 138:00 to 74:34. Game 1 vs. Tampa Bay was the first time this postseason that the Bruins have enjoyed a three-goal lead … The Lightning posted an 0-for-3 on the power play in Game 1 and now stand 0 for 13 in their six postseason games. Which is to state the obvious: They desperately miss Steven Stamkos, who remains sidelined with a leg injury he sustained in July workouts …Boston’s fourth line in Game 1 — Joakim Nordstrom-Sean Kuraly-Chris Wagner — might be well to go by the moniker “Jackhammer Line.” The trio rolled up a total 18 hits in the game, led by Nordstrom’s game-high seven slams.