2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs

A heavy dose of Marcus Johansson might be what Bruins need in Game 6 to keep season alive

(Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)

For as much as NHL officiating has been hemmed and hawed on over the past day (and for good reason), Bruce Cassidy appears to have refocused his energy on the task at hand — keeping the Bruins' season alive.

Some of that does involve reflecting on a miserable 2-1 loss on home ice in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final, putting the club on the brink of elimination. But rather than harp on the calls (or lack thereof) on the ice, Cassidy took a long look at what his club needs to do to jumpstart an offense that has tallied just three goals over its last two contests.

“I guess the regret is we didn't win,” Cassidy said Friday. “I'd go on down the line, obviously I didn't push the right buttons. We didn't generate enough offense to win the game. That's the way I look at it. I don't look at one individual. … We'll have to look at it again for Game 6.”

Some of it was the byproduct of having to roll out seven defensemen to account for an injured Zdeno Chara gutting through a reported broken jaw, but Boston’s forward combinations were often thrown in a blender throughout the night, with Cassidy double-shifting wingers in an effort to generate any semblance of a spark from a top-six that has gone cold this series, especially during 5v5 play.

Keeping that 11F-7D structure is up in the air for Game 6, with the potential return of Matt Grzelcyk influencing Cassidy’s call. But even if Boston goes back to the status quo of six bodies on the blue line, Cassidy should not following a similar mentality up front.

For as much as Boston’s forwards labored on a night in which nine (!) different forward trios logged at least a minute of 5v5 time together, the club did have a few positives to draw from Cassidy’s lineup carousel.

Most of it revolves around the play of their deadline-day acquisition, who could very well keep Boston’s season alive if he continues to gain traction with the likes of Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci.