Head Coach Bruce Cassidy
Q. Has anything come through with Matt Grzelcyk right now?
BRUCE CASSIDY: He’s in protocol. When we have a further update, we’ll give it to you.
Obviously we’re going to list him day to day. It’s Thursday, we don’t play till Saturday. Typically I’ll give out the lineup either Friday or Saturday. Right now that’s the best I got for you. See how it goes from there.
Q. You mentioned before Rask has been there to bail the guys out. What can you do better or differently around Tuukka next game?
BRUCE CASSIDY: We need to be better, period. I thought we were good in front of them. A couple of bad breakdowns that they capitalized on. I thought we were solid in terms of the overall play, team defense. The other night they got their game better in terms of O zone puck possession. Look at the first goal. They had good possession. Not a great goal. Comes from the corner, goes in off of our D man’s stick. They generate like that. We got to be better in front of them in terms of winning more pucks, get out of our end spend less time there, attack better. When it comes to Tuukka, yeah, we weren’t good enough in front of him, and they capitalized on some of their opportunities.
Q. Worst thing about a winning streak in the post-season is when it ends. How do you prepare a team to go into enemy territory and what kind of environment are you expecting in St. Louis?
BRUCE CASSIDY: We’ve been in enemy territory. Toronto, not easy to win there. Went to Columbus, Carolina. We got a veteran crew. They’ve been there before. I don’t anticipate they’ll be overwhelmed. I suspect St. Louis will be up, should be. The team is in the Stanley Cup Finals. How we prepare coming off a losing streak? We kind of prepare the same every game: prepare to win, what we need to do to win. Didn’t assume it would go on forever, and it didn’t.
Q. Nordstrom, with the blocked shot on the penalty kill, the crowd was really behind him, how much of a boost was he yesterday?
BRUCE CASSIDY: He’s been terrific the whole playoffs. That fourth line gives us lots of energy, contributing on offense now. Always been good on the penalty kill, always willing to sacrifice their body for the forecheck. Nordy has been a shot-blocker all year, good part of our penalty kill. Big boost. The crowd at this time of the year, any time of the year, especially in Boston, they’re blue-collar, they appreciate the little things. Nordy has been giving us that. Big reason where we are right now is that line as a whole has really delivered for us.
Q. Is Matty going to fly with you today?
BRUCE CASSIDY: He won’t travel with us.
Q. You termed St. Louis as a forecheck-dominant team. How would you like your forwards to help out the D when they go back to get pucks?
BRUCE CASSIDY: If there are two guys coming, which is a scenario for challenging a rush, so one D is back on the puck with the goalie. Our center or first forward back should beat their second guy. That’s how we’d like them to help first of all so you can absorb a hit, bump the puck or get turned up-ice and make that short pass. We look for short outlets if we can. If they’re coming too hard, generally a lot of times a hard rim-around if they don’t lock the walls. Our forwards need to beat the D for inside position so we get to the puck first because they’re going to pinch. Center has to be under and our winger has to come across and read, whether the puck gets out of the zone, start our forecheck or win a race there.
When we’ve been effective beating their forecheck, we’ve done those things. It’s a five-man group being in sync. Usually starts with someone winning the puck, whether it’s the D back on the puck first, separating, or whether it’s on the wall. We haven’t gone up the middle a ton because it’s dangerous territory against a good forecheck team with good sticks. Usually get out of our zone clean if you are able to make that pass because the center can put the puck either way. Hard to pinch it in the middle of the ice. Usually pinch on the boards. That’s what we ask, of our forwards, to win that battle on the walls, support that first touch. If we’re able to do that, we’ve been pretty good. The other night that’s where I thought we got stretched out. I think we’re close enough to win those races to pucks. That’s why we defend well.
Q. Assuming Matt is out for Game 3, have you thought about who you would throw into the lineup yet?
BRUCE CASSIDY: Not yet. Johnny Moore played, Steven Kampfer played. Johnny is a left stick. Talked about that. That’s the easiest thing, keep everyone on their strong sides. We’ll look at that a little bit more.
We’re traveling and tomorrow morning we will have a better idea after practice to make our decision. Ultimately decide Saturday. Friday’s practice will be a bigger indicator.
Q. So far in these couple of games, you haven’t seemed to get much five-on-five. Is that a matchup thing, performance? Would you like to use those guys?
BRUCE CASSIDY: Game situation, I mean, it’s been more special teams than maybe previous series in terms of power play, penalty kill. David Backes, that’s where he’ll lose minutes, for sure. His minutes probably have been effective the most, special teams guys. Heinen as well. I think their performance has been okay. I think obviously we got more good secondary scoring. Haven’t produced as much five-on-five as we’d like yet. Solid, reliable performers. March, Pasta, Berge and Krej are all first for scoring, so they’ve done it in the Playoffs. Not maybe in these two games, short sample size. That’s what we’re looking for. The better players perform, better chance of winning. I expect they’ll be better in St. Louis offensively. We’ll go from there.
Q. Your top line has been up and down, what have you done or want to see them do to get back on track?
BRUCE CASSIDY: They certainly generated on the power play to get their momentum going five-on-five. What they’ve done well the whole Playoffs when they weren’t scoring, I think they’ve played against Tavares and Marner, Panarin and Atkinson, Williams and Staal, certainly kept them off the score sheet. They’ve been able to do that part of the job. So far this series Schenn’s line’s got some five-on-five goals. That’s the part why we made the switch. Try to free them up. Offensively try to lock down that line with Kuraly. They’re going to go to that matchup in St. Louis, can’t speak for them. If that’s the case, it’s a big challenge for Bergey, March and Pastrnak. They’ve been up to it. I don’t imagine that will change. I suspect in Game 3 we’ll see their best game of the series. That’s speculation, but I suspect that’s what will happen.
Q. With the Gryz hit last night, what is your take on when people say, Well, he put himself in a bad position, it’s his fault, when they’re talking about the guy that got hit?
BRUCE CASSIDY: I do believe there’s a different generation that was taught, because those hits I don’t want to say were acceptable 20 years ago, they happened a lot more. Now you’re a little less inclined to protect yourself in general. My feeling on those hits, we’ve been talking about these for four, five, six whatever amount of years. On the person delivering the hit, has to be aware of a player in a prone position. I’ve always believed a player has to protect themselves. They have to put themselves in spots. But some are unavoidable. That was a hit, in a prone position, he followed through on the hit. Got penalized for it. I believe he’s having a hearing. That’s it. They’ll make the decision from there. I’ve always felt it’s on both players to be aware of what’s going on. Things happen. Not the first hit from behind, won’t be the last. He’ll be held accountable or not. We’ll move on.
Q. Just your take on the hit on Grzelcyk. Also those types of hits, some people say the player getting hit, it’s more his responsibility. What is your take on that?
PATRICE BERGERON: I mean, obviously it’s one of those things where it happens fast on the ice. On that particular hit, I thought he was facing that way the whole time. He was trying to handle the puck, to get it over to his partner. It seemed like he was in that position for a little bit of time, to give enough time for the guy coming in to try to change his route. Like I said, it happens fast. It’s not always easy to do so.
Q. What makes Vladimir Tarasenko a difficult player to contain?
PATRICE BERGERON: Well, I think he’s got obviously a great shot. They’re making plays, playing well as a line. He uses his speed well. He finds ways to get away from I guess coverage, to get open, finds ways to get that puck. Once he does have it, it doesn’t stay long on his stick.
Q. You guys have dealt with a lot of defensive injuries, how do you think the team has come together to make up for that?
PATRICE BERGERON: I think any time there’s a guy that goes down, obviously it’s not easy. As a forward group, you need to get back and try to help. In this particular series, they’re coming fast and hard on the forecheck. You need to buy some time for the D. Obviously, you play together, you play as a team.
Q. That was arguably the biggest win in the history of the St. Louis franchise. Now you’re heading there. What kind of atmosphere do you expect? How can you prepare your less-experienced teammates for this enemy territory?
PATRICE BERGERON: We know it’s going to be electric. There’s a buzz there in St. Louis right now, on their team. No different than how it was here in Boston. We’ve been through it before. I think for some of the young guys, Carolina was very loud, it was a loud building, not necessarily easy to play in. I think it’s always about simplifying your game and taking it not a shift at a time, but a period at a time. I think the first goal is always huge in the game. We know St. Louis likes to start strong. It’s about worrying about what you control, how you play.
Q. This has turned into a very physical series. Is that what you were expecting? Do you feel like the Bruins need to match the physicality?
PATRICE BERGERON: It’s what we expected. We’ve seen it against Columbus a little bit, and Carolina was also a physical team. Nothing that we’re not used to. Yes, we have to respond and play a physical game. When you move the puck quickly, it’s a lot harder.
Q. The Sharks ended their series in St. Louis, they thought that the Blues had taken out some of their players. Did you come into the series with any discussion of keeping your heads up a little bit more, whether or not the Sharks were right, that you have to be that much more careful because of the physicality?
PATRICE BERGERON: I mean, it’s obviously something that we talk about. It’s Playoff hockey. We all know that you fight for every inch, every puck battle, whatnot. Nothing that we weren’t expecting is happening the last two games. I think we’ve been handling it well this whole Playoff run, we got to keep going.
Q. Coach mentioned that he expects that your line will probably have their best game in Game 3. He said last night was not your best game. What do you have to do to make sure that his words won’t fall on deaf ears?
PATRICE BERGERON: I think we obviously have to respond from last night. It’s always about what’s in front of you. Whatever is behind is in the past. You have no control over it. I think when a game like that happens, you look at what you can improve, get better, and go back to what you know is successful for your team and you individually. That’s all. You just have to go out there and play your style, just worry about what we can really control.
Q. Bruce said he’s anticipating them to put the Schenn line against yours. What have you seen in the first two games against them? How do you believe your line has handled the first two games of the series?
PATRICE BERGERON: I think they’re a really good line. They play well together, good at forechecking, turning pucks over. We need to capitalize. For us, it’s about being better. We’ve dealt with this this whole Playoffs against different lines. It’s no different. We know how we can play. It’s about taking care of the puck in our zone.
Q. You talk about finding the areas you want to be better. Have you identified them yet?
PATRICE BERGERON: I think executing a little better in our zone. I think it starts there. Then, yeah, a lot of unforced errors last night. I think we have to play a little bit more our way, our style.
Q. How is your body feeling today after blocking so many shots? What are you seeing when you’re trying to line up to block those?
JOAKIM NORDSTROM: First of all, I feel pretty good. Maybe a bruise or so, but nothing more than that. Just trying to do whatever it takes to keep the puck out of the net. Was lucky enough to be there in the right spot twice.
Q. How comfortable do you feel on the offensive boards?
JOAKIM NORDSTROM: We’ve been getting some bounces lately. Trying not to change too much the way we play. I think the way we’ve been playing has been working for us. That’s why we’re getting chances. It’s been nice to see them going in lately.
Q. Coach Cassidy was saying he expects a lot from your line to do a lot of things really well. Talk about how you have been able to generate that together.
JOAKIM NORDSTROM: I think just being relentless on the forecheck, winning battles, getting to those second and third opportunities. It’s been working well for us.
Q. Were you expecting this to turn into such a physical series?
JOAKIM NORDSTROM: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, it’s the Cup Finals. Guys are going to do whatever it takes to get an edge and to win hockey games. It’s expected, for sure.
Q. You’ve been on quite the streak for quite a while until yesterday. Can it be in any way healthy to deal with a loss, sort of recalibrate, get back into it for Game 3?
JOAKIM NORDSTROM: Yeah, I mean, of course you want to win every game. I think if you think you’re going to sweep every team or the games that are left, I think you’re maybe in a fantasy world. We’re playing a really good hockey team. We didn’t win last night. We might not win, we might lose another game. We just got to focus on the next game here. You never want to be too high, you never want to be too low. If you win one game, doesn’t mean you win a series. If you lose a game, doesn’t mean you lose a series. Just got to get back and focus on the next game.
Q. On the penalty kill, is that something you learn how to anticipate? Is that what makes a successful penalty kill?
JOAKIM NORDSTROM: You do a lot of video. I think every team does that. You kind of see the tendencies of the other team, what they want to try to do. I think we’ve done a pretty good job of being in the right spots.
Q. What do you notice about the Blues’ power play?
JOAKIM NORDSTROM: They got three really good shooters, big bodies in front. If we can take away maybe the prime scoring chances, help out on rebounds, we’ll get a pretty good chance.
Q. You feed off the energy of the Garden crowd. They’ll be feeding off their home crowd’s energy. Any adjustments you have to make? How difficult is it going into St. Louis, them having the biggest win of their franchise ever?
JOAKIM NORDSTROM: Yeah, I think throughout the Playoffs, it’s been loud in every arena that we’ve been in. It’s been louder at home than on the road. I don’t think that’s something we put too much energy on. It’s a lot of fun when the crowd is into it. Just exciting.