BOSTON — There was little question that the pass was the wrong decision. Boston Bruins defenseman Jeremy Lauzon had control of the puck at the offensive blue line near the left boards, but instead of sending the puck down the wall, Lauzon tried to make a D-to-D pass, launching the puck hard. But Charlie McAvoy wasn’t there.
The puck bounced off the skate of Bruins forward Charlie Coyle, right to New York Islanders forward Casey Cizikas, who streaked toward the Boston goal and scored 14:48 into overtime. The goal gave the Islanders a 4-3 win in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Second Round at TD Garden on Monday and evened the best-of-7 series.
But after the game, the Bruins were unfazed. They acknowledged that mistakes happen, that rebounds are possible, that their play in the third period — forcing overtime with two goals after a dismal second period — is evidence of their resiliency. And that they did not blame Lauzon.
“[Stuff] happens,” forward Brad Marchand said. “He’s a great player for us. He competes very hard. He’s out there every night working his butt off and competing for the group. We all make mistakes. We’ve all been there. It’s tough when it happens to you, but we’re going to bounce back.
“It’s not the end of the world. It’s 1-1 and we’ve just got to worry about that next one. It’s all about how we regroup in here and move forward. That’s the thing about playoffs: You’ve got to be kind of like an elephant and have a quick memory.”
That was the message. One game, in a series in which there are potentially seven. One loss.
They’re still in the series. They’re still relaxed. They still believe in what they can do.
And they believe in Lauzon.
“Nobody’s perfect in this game,” Marchand said. “We all make mistakes every single night. We probably make mistakes every shift. That’s how it goes. Sometimes they end up in your net, sometimes they don’t. If you want guys to understand when you make mistakes, you’ve got to do the same. We’re all there to back each other up.
“It’s a fluke play. He tries to make a play, it goes off his skate. That stuff happens in hockey.”
Not that it was all bad from Lauzon. His blocked shot early in overtime might have saved a goal by Josh Bailey. But Cassidy was clearly displeased with the decision-making of Lauzon on the final play.
“We made a play that obviously was ill-advised and they scored on a breakaway,” Cassidy said. “That’s what I saw on the overtime goal.”
He explained what he would have wanted to see from Lauzon in the situation.
“Well, we’ll go D-to-D high, we did it a lot,” he said. “We got a lot of good offense from it tonight. But his partner wasn’t there, so he just has to look. You have to survey the ice. Anytime you have the puck, it’s a fluid hockey game and there are set plays for us that we run, but there has to be a player there.
“So you have to look and usually you look first. And that’s some of the learning curve for younger guys.”
The important thing, as Cassidy emphasized, was, “At the end of the day, you learn from it.”
And that’s what the Bruins hope they’ll be able to do coming out of Game 2: Learn from what happened, make adjustments, and play the game that they know they can. It’s what they did in the third period, coming back after trailing 3-1 to get goals from Patrice Bergeron (10:34) and Marchand (15:06, on the power play).
They had roared back, quickly scoring twice, and nearly turned around a game that many other teams would have let slip away.
But that’s rarely been the Bruins way.
“It’s our resiliency,” Coyle said. “There’s never any quit in here and especially at playoff time. You stick to it, you get back to what we’re doing well. They’re going to have their pushes. They’re a good team. It’s how we respond and having that next-shift mentality to come out and sway it back in our direction.”
Marchand pointed out that they’ve done that all season. They’ve done it in seasons past. They know what to do in this situation. They did it in the third.
“I’m not surprised,” Marchand said. “It’s something that we’ve done all year. We have a lot of character in our group, in our room. We know when we get behind we can come back, especially in playoff time.”