OTTAWA – Ryan Spooner was pretty excited to get a home-cooked meal the past couple of days as his mom made his favorite, chicken, rice and asparagus, and he’s been able to experience playing Stanley Cup playoff hockey in his hometown.
The Kanata, Ontario native grew up within a stone’s throw of the Canadian Tire Centre, where the Senators play their home games a good 20-minute drive outside downtown Ottawa. Now he’s able to experience playing his hometown Sens as a member of the Bruins.
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It isn’t just sentimental stories of being the hometown boy for Spooner at this point, though, as he’ll be expected to step up and fill in with David Krejci out for Game 2 Saturday afternoon vs. Ottawa after missing the postseason opener.
That means Spooner will be centering Drew Stafford and David Backes and is expected to do a little more than the zero shots on net and minus-1 he managed in 16-plus minutes in Game 1, a 2-1 Bruins' victory, on Wednesday night.
“It’s kind of a weird feeling, actually. I remember being 10 or 11 and coming to the Red Zone and the Sens were in the conference finals or the Stanley Cup Finals,” said Spooner. “I used to watch them a ton as a kid, so it’s kind of a cool thing.
“[Game 2] is going to be huge. I think as a team if we try to play into their game or try to be too cute at the blue lines it isn’t going to work for us. Getting pucks in deep is going to work best against them.”
That’s encouraging talk from Spooner, who is going to need to play a fast, fearless and simple game if he wants to have success in his first time in the playoffs.
With Spooner filling in as a No. 2 center and Joe Morrow drawing into the Boston lineup for the first time since January to replace injured defenseman Colin Miller, a number of Bruins players need to step up as the injuries and attrition begin to mount quickly for the Black and Gold.
Bruce Cassidy said before Game 2 that Krejci and Miller have been ruled out and remain day-to-day.
“We’ve got lots of good players,” said Cassidy. “We’ll have lots of good players [for Game 2] no matter who does or doesn’t make it into the lineup. At the end of the day you’ve got to stay in the game, stay sharp between periods and just reset. We’ve got good character. Look, we’ve got Stanley Cup champions in that room and they’ve been through worse. Our guys are strong enough to overcome those kinds of setbacks.”
The Bruins definitely have the character and they’ll always have a chance as long as Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand, Zdeno Chara and Tuukka Rask are still healthy and ready to go, but one wonders how many more healthy bodies can be subtracted from the lineup before Ottawa starts winning both the battle and the war.