The Bruins had plenty of reasons to be satisfied with their performance after eliminating the Columbus Blue Jackets in the second round of the playoffs. But Brad Marchand did not seem to be in an expansive mood after the 3-0 victory at Columbus Monday night.
Marchand gave curt replies during a television interview on the ice, then limited his answers to one or two words in the locker room.
“It’s something we’ll address,” Bruins general manager Don Sweeney said Tuesday. “We talk to all our players when we have situations that arise that have become a little more public than we would like them.
“We’ll address it accordingly. Brad has obligations to you and the media in a respectful manner, and be a professional, and we’ll address it. And to be honest with you, so does the media, you know, in the same light. I would ask for the same on both sides.”
Progress for Miller
Sweeney said defenseman Kevan Miller (knee) has “made some progress” and could return during the playoffs.
“We’ve told him all along, the further we play, the more he has an opportunity to work and get back in there,” Sweeney said. “Hopefully, we get that opportunity.”
Pieces are fitting
Some of Sweeney’s recent deals have paid off. Marcus Johansson, acquired from New Jersey for two draft picks Feb. 25, scored the second goal Monday off assists from Charlie Coyle, who was acquired from Minnesota in a deal for Ryan Donato and a draft choice Feb. 20, and Danton Heinen.
“We did identify some areas we felt we needed, and to their credit they stepped in and provided those things,” Sweeney said. “It’s really a testament, up and down our lineup, and guys that have gone in and out of our lineup.
“David Backes is a great example of that. Noel [Acciari] gets hurt. Backes gets reinserted during the course of the series. The way Connor Clifton has stepped in.
“So really, if you talk to the guys in our room, it’s just about — we’ve always had the next-man-up mentality, and it’s a testament to the character and leadership of our group.”
Lead and follow
The Bruins have progressed with several young defensemen complementing veteran Zdeno Chara.
“I think it’s just been a progression from our group,” Sweeney said. “Where we were, and the steps we’ve taken. It’s a leadership group that’s been with them every step of that journey. Now, they’re in the moment.
“I don’t think they care whether or not they’ve played games before, to tell you the honest truth. They’re prepared to play their next opponent and do what they do.
“So I think our coaches have embraced that and the players have themselves. But it’s the sum of what we’ve been trying to accomplish that allows the player and individual.
“You can’t take anything away from the players themselves. They’re the ones that have been able to go out and rise to the occasion.”
Pressure will be on
Carolina has won six successive games, rallying in a seven-game series to beat Washington and then sweeping the Islanders.
“They’re a strong forechecking team,” Sweeney said. “They get on you, and they get back up on the puck. Their back pressure’s been good. Their goaltending has been excellent. Their shooting percentage took a big jump from February, on being able to score some goals and have some confidence as a result of it.
“I think they’re a reflection of their coach [Rod Brind’Amour] and how he approaches things in his own lifestyle, and they’ve got some juice. So, we’re going to have to be at our best, and I’ve said that before. It’s not going to change going forward.”