Bruins “ready to go” for playoffs after capping off 107-point regular season


BOSTON – With the Bruins having officially put the finishing touches on their regular season with a 6-3 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday afternoon, it’s onward and upward to the Stanley Cup playoffs for the Black and Gold.

Sure Tuukka Rask looked fairly disinterested while giving up five goals on 21 shots in the loss, but the Bruins also had nothing to play for in the regular season finale while resting Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand, Torey Krug, Brandon Carlo and Kevan Miller among others with the postseason around the corner.

So now the Bruins will look ahead to the Toronto Maple Leafs as their first round opponent in a best-of-seven series for the second straight postseason, and will hope to dispatch them just as they did last season in an entertaining, ultimately pretty even seven-game series.

How does Bruce Cassidy feel about his team now that they’ve closed the second on a regular season where they finished second in the Atlantic Division, and posted 107 points after putting together a 112-point regular season a year ago?

“I feel terrific. I’m an optimist. I like our team. We play hard. We were one of the better teams from start to finish I think in the National Hockey League, specifically the second half of the year.

We’ve played well at the right times,” said Bruce Cassidy. “We’ve earned our way. Got Toronto, I think it’s a great matchup, great rivalry. Guys should be excited to play. You know, obviously this week hopefully we don’t get any bad news health-wise.

“That’s obviously always a concern, but at the end of the day we’ve played through a lot of different things. Hopefully, we get some good news on guys like [Sean] Kuraly and [John] Moore. Sometimes they’re ahead of schedule, so those are the things that I’ll look at this week. But I like where we’re at as a team. [We are] ready to go.”

As Cassidy mentioned, the Bruins may be down a couple of regulars with Kuraly and Moore injured heading into the postseason, and they did lost three of their last five games to close out the end of the regular season as they clinched all that they could. But they also draw a favorable match-up in the Maple Leafs, who are young, talented and explosive offensively, but are also once again ripe to be exploited defensively by a top line of Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and David Pastrnak that tore them to shreds during last spring’s playoffs.

The series is expected to begin at TD Garden on Thursday night with Game 2 tentatively scheduled for Saturday night (the official NHL playoff schedule will be released on Sunday morning on the NHL Network), but whenever the games begin the Bruins sound ready to go in the playoffs after knowing for quite some time they’d be playoff material this season.  

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