Sports

3 takeaways from the Bruins’ regular-season finale loss to Maple Leafs



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With the loss, the Bruins will face the Hurricanes within the first spherical of the playoffs.

The Maple Leafs lit the lamp 5 instances in opposition to the Bruins in Friday’s regular-season finale. (Aaron Vincent Elkaim/The Canadian Press through AP)

The one vital improvement from Sport 82 of the Boston Bruins’ common season got here on the ultimate horn.

Each the Bruins and Toronto Maple Leafs trotted out their de facto JV lineups for Friday’s matchup. A handful of notable stars, together with Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron, David Pastrnak, Charlie McAvoy, Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner, and John Tavares (to call just a few), watched from afar as Toronto earned the three-game season sweep.

Boston’s 5-2 setback at Scotiabank Area secured a first-round matchup with the Carolina Hurricanes. Right here’s what we realized because the Bruins end their 82-game slate with a 51-26-5 file.

Chris Wagner lastly will get one other likelihood with the massive membership

The Walpole-born ahead entered coaching camp hoping to maintain his spot as a bottom-six common. However wage cap points and implementing newer faces like Nick Foligno and Tomas Nosek for third and fourth line responsibility prompted GM Don Sweeney to position Wagner on waivers following the preseason.

The Bruins assigned Wagner to Windfall after he cleared waivers. Wagner by no means made a return journey up I-95 even because the Bruins encountered accidents and a COVID-19 outbreak in the course of the 2021-22 marketing campaign.

However upkeep days for many of Boston’s core allowed the Bruins to recall Wagner for Friday’s season finale.

The 29-year-old winger made probably the most of his first Boston look since Sport 6 of final 12 months’s second-round matchup with the Islanders, delivering a game-high 11 hits and firing a few pictures on internet in 15:57 of ice time.

“I thought he played very well,” Cassidy mentioned of Wagner. “He played to his strengths. He finished every check, was around the front of the net and he had a few looks around the front of the net.”

Wagner arrived for an audition of kinds in opposition to the Leafs. The Bruins received’t have any cap restrictions and will maintain Wagner round as an additional in the event that they so select.

The Bruins preferred what they noticed out of Marc McLaughlin throughout his preliminary stint following a strong four-year profession at Boston School. In addition they have Anton Blidh and Jack Studnicka serving as extras. However Wagner’s postseason expertise offers one other intriguing choice for a possible fill-in if Cassidy and the teaching employees encounter accidents on their fourth line.

“We kept Marc [McLaughlin] around for a while here as a young guy and gave him some looks, and he responded early on. So a little of that was evaluating where he was in his pro career. It’s a big ask to go into the playoffs, but he was here to get experience,” Cassidy mentioned. “Wags has played in those situations before, so we have that in the back of our mind. We’ll make those calls in the next couple of days, but I certainly think he was one of our better players tonight in terms of playing a complete 200-foot game.”

Jake DeBrusk escaped an harm scare

The Bruins wished to depart Toronto with merely bumps and bruises earlier than starting their playoff journey in Raleigh. They practically left the Ontario capital with out one in every of their top-six wingers.

DeBrusk spent a couple of minutes recovering following a second-period collision with Maple Leafs defenseman Justin Holl earlier than skating again to the bench.

The 2015 first-round choice didn’t miss a shift. He ultimately notched his twenty fifth purpose of the season on Boston’s lone power-play alternative of the night time to chop Toronto’s result in 4-2 at 12:49 of the ultimate stanza.

“Jake went down awkwardly,” Cassidy mentioned. “We talked to him and he said he felt fine, so he stayed in the game.”

Barring any setbacks, the Bruins may have everybody accounted for on their journey to Raleigh for Monday’s doubtless sequence opener.

“I expect us to be 100 percent healthy on Monday,” Cassidy mentioned.

Some preliminary ideas on the Hurricanes

The Bruins and Hurricanes will reconvene for postseason hockey for the third time in 4 seasons. Not like the opposite two matchups, a extra seasoned Carolina bunch will doubtless enter the sequence as a slight favourite.

Like Toronto, Carolina received all three of its regular-season conferences over Boston. But, the 2 squads developed for the reason that final matchup on Feb. 10.

The Hurricanes will enter the primary spherical with uncertainty in internet after former Leaf Frederik Andersen missed the final six video games with a lower-body harm. They added a talented however inconsistent Max Domi to their ahead core on the commerce deadline.

Hampus Lindholm’s arrival from Anaheim gave the Bruins a wanted increase on the highest 4 of their blue-line. They developed steadiness defensively and inside their high six for the reason that Hurricanes accomplished their regular-season sweep on Backyard ice.

“Obviously they had their way with us this year,” Cassidy mentioned after watching Carolina outscore Boston 17-1 within the three-game sequence. “Some of that was a while ago, and I think our team is in a much better place than when we played them earlier in the year. So we’re not going to take too much stock into that.”

Even with their commerce deadline additions, the Bruins and Hurricanes received’t deviate a lot from their construction. Each groups possess a wholesome mixture of ability and physicality throughout their 4 strains and three defensive pairings.

Not like their 2019 Jap Convention Finals sweep and 2020 first-round triumph in 5 video games, the Bruins know they’ll have their arms full this time round

“We expect Carolina to be a difficult opponent. They press, they’re a great skating team and they check well,” Cassidy added. “We feel we can do the same thing, so it should be a great series.”





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