Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy will be reminding his team that “our play should define us, not a call” as they prepare to visit St. Louis for Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final Sunday.
“We’ve played through certain situations and we’ve got to play through this one,” Cassidy said Friday, a day after a 2-1 loss to the Blues that featured a controversial non-call. “I thought we actually responded fairly well — 2-1 and we had a chance to win. But our play is what defines us, not a non-call, call, whatever.”
Cassidy referenced a play that went against the Blues in 5-4 loss to San Jose in Game 3 of the Western Conference finals.
“St. Louis has done a terrific job — that went against them, they pushed on,” Cassidy said. “High character in their locker room, we have the same character. So, I suspect we’ll put it behind us and off we go.”
The team is focusing on Game 6, moving on from an apparent Tyler Bozak slew-foot that felled Noel Acciari.
“No lingering effects that I’m aware of,” coach Bruce Cassidy said Friday at Warrior Ice Arena, referring Acciari and Marcus Johansson, who was elbowed in the chin by Ivan Barbashev in Game 5. The Blues center was suspended one game.
“You have to move on, put that game behind you,’’ Joakim Nordstrom said. “I mean, it’s history. There’s nothing you can do about it now. I think the more time you waste on it, it’s going to punish yourself. You’ve got to put it behind you and move on to the next one.”
Said Cassidy, “I think the players know what the moment is. We can draw on previous experience. This particular group went into Toronto, tough environment, first round, won a game on the road. Came back and won at home — that’s why we’re still playing, one of the reasons.
“The group that won the Cup [in 2011] had to win the last two. They were down, 3-2. Home first, then the road, but still. So we certainly know we’re capable of it.
“Video [Saturday], we’re going to practice, work on the things that we think are going to make us better. It’s getting a little late in the year for that, but there’s some things in the O-zone, clearly, that we can do to finish some plays. D-zone breakdown first goal — got to revisit that.
“Our power play has kind of got stuck here a little, so look at some adjustments. We’ve got to keep the puck out of our net if we’re not putting in their net. We only need to win by one. If it’s 1-nothing, great. If it’s 6-5, we don’t really care at this point — we just need the victory.”
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The Bruins have an impressive road record (7-3) during the postseason, winning five successive times before a 4-2 loss to the Blues in Game 4. In 2011, the Bruins compiled a 6-6 road record on the way to a title, and in 2013, they finished 6-4 away but fell in the Final.
“Listen, there’s a certain level of pressure on the team that’s up, as well,” Cassidy said. “They’re going home and, if all of a sudden it’s not going their way — I can’t speak for their psyche — but halfway though the game, it’s not going their way, all of a sudden, ‘Boy, you know, we’ve got to go back to Boston.’
“Maybe they get outside of their comfort zone, the way they play. So there’s a challenge there for them, as well.
“For us, we don’t win, our season’s done. They lose, they get to keep playing, so that might enter their minds at some point. For us, we know what’s at stake: It doesn’t go our way, that’s it.
“Our guys responded all year. This is a group that plays hard. I’m not concerned at all about our effort.”
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The Bruins took 39 shots on goal against Jordan Binnington in Game 5, and Nordstrom said they will continue to fire away.
“Certainly there have been some rebounds there we haven’t been able to get to enough,” Nordstrom said. “And I think that’s an area where we can expose them. It seems like the pucks are bouncing off of him. So we want to, obviously, shoot more and also get to those rebounds.
“We’ve been through this before. I don’t think our approach is going to change. We’re in an exciting spot, so we don’t want to think too far ahead, but we’ve got to go St. Louis and we have to win the game. That’s the bottom line.
“I thought the game [Thursday] night we played really well. We weren’t getting the bounces that we wanted, but if we build on that game and elevate a little bit more, we’re going to give ourselves a really good chance.”
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Cassidy expects another closely contested game.
“We’ve seen them for five straight games and they’re not changing,” Cassidy said. “I don’t believe they’re changing. Good teams don’t change it a lot. They adjust for certain things — special teams or maybe a breakout.
“But they’re still going to forecheck hard. They’re going to make it tough to get inside. We’re not going to change our whole identity in one game.
“First period, we had lots of will, we were on them, we just didn’t finish. Sometimes you walk away and they executed one more play than us. It’s like they executed one more play than us and they won. Not like we were horrible and they were fantastic.
“I thought it was a well-played game. That’s why you get frustrated with outside influences on the game. We’ve just got to finish a few more plays and then defend a couple more and I think we’re right there.”