Video: BOS@OTT, Gm1: Rask preserves lead with two late saves
The Bruins had to rely on 19-year-old defenseman Charlie McAvoy in his NHL debut to play big-time minutes when Colin Miller left the game with a lower-body injury in the second period.
"I thought he was terrific," Cassidy said of McAvoy. "Nineteen-year-old kid comes in, never played a game in the National Hockey League. He had composure, saw the ice, defended well, got his kind of indoctrination over early when he tried to dump one in, hit our guy and it came back - other than that, I thought he was pretty good, stayed out of trouble, and we needed it, we needed it."
"We were having trouble breaking pucks out, and that's an element of his game he does well and we needed it," said Cassidy. "And then losing Colin Miller sort of magnifies the situation. If he struggled, we would have really been in trouble, so it was a nice boost for us."
McAvoy finished the night with 24:11 in ice time, second only to Chara (25:32).
"I don't really think about the ice time or the numbers; I kind of just sit there and wait for Coach to call my name, and then I just try and bring it every single shift," said McAvoy. "It's great to see that they trust me, and gave me the ability to kind of learn through my mistakes tonight."
Boston also had to rely on Brad Marchand's nose for the net to score the game-winner with just 2:33 left in the third period, after a standard shift from Marchand, Patrice Bergeron, and David Pastrnak cycling in the zone with McAvoy and Zdeno Chara up top.
Video: BOS@OTT, Gm1: Marchand buries blocked shot for lead
"Mac's a phenomenal player, a great young talent, and Zee's a seasoned vet, so they were making great plays back there and did a great job on that goal," said Marchand.
"When they got fatigued, you saw guys get even hungrier, and you need some of those shifts," Cassidy of the strong shift that led to Marchand's winner. "We certainly needed it today, because we weren't able to generate much, but we did get inside on that shift, we talked about that, and we were able to do a little bit more of that in the third period."
The Bruins had to rely on Frank Vatrano's quick release to break a span of 25:03 without landing a shot on Senators netminder Craig Anderson, and tie the game at 1-1 at 4:55 into the third period.
Video: BOS@OTT, Gm1: Vatrano buries wrister in playoff debut
"The message was more about this isn't Game 83; this is Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs," Cassidy said of the message to the team between the second and third periods. "The urgency level goes up, the physicality goes up, doing the little things, winning pucks, and we just had to get back to our standard that we had played to for the last two months."
"We just had to play better, and the result would take care of itself one way or the other, and we were able to get two goals and keep it out of our net," said Cassidy.
Ultimately, the B's had to rely on everyone to step up. With David Krejci a late scratch after warmups, Sean Kuraly slotted into the lineup, rounding out a group of nine Bruins who suited up in their first-ever Stanley Cup Playoffs game, including Vatrano, Pastrnak, Colin Miller, Riley Nash, Tim Schaller, Ryan Spooner, and Anton Khudobin.
"A lot of guys did a good job at stepping up in the third," said Marchand. "We used everyone, and that's what you need to be able to do in the playoffs, you need to be able to use the whole bench and guys did a really good job of coming in and stepping up."
"Again, Mac did a great job, and all of the guys who it was their first game, so it was great to see that and we're going to need that going forward."
Video: McAvoy speaks after NHL Debut in Ottawa
The Bruins went their third straight game losing a defenseman. Prior to Colin Miller leaving the game, the Bruins lost Torey Krug in Game No. 82 of the regular season to a lower body injury and Brandon Carlo in Game No. 81 to an upper body injury. Both defenseman were unable to travel with the team.
The circumstances are not ideal for the Black & Gold, but they still are powering on.
"Well, I've used the word resiliency a lot and I think it's become a bit of our middle name," said Cassidy. "We've gone through quite a bit - in-game and with some injuries, and we find a way. I think this group has got a lot of character and it starts with the leadership."
"Sometimes, you've got to look at the game plan a little differently and in the end, it's the players. They go out an play, they're the ones who push the pace, bring the energy," said Cassidy. "And again tonight, the back end - what is this, the third game in a row we've lost a defenseman? It can wear on you, especially a team like Ottawa that puts the puck behind you all night, you've got to turn and go get it, so give them a lot credit."
"It wasn't always pretty tonight, but at the end of the night, they defended very well when they had to, got better as the game went on moving the puck and again, the group understood it up front too that, 'Hey, we've got to get from their end to our end, because we can't tax our D the whole period,' and I thought we did a good job of that in the third period."
Video: R1, Gm1: Bruins @ Senators
Colin Miller Update
With 15:08 on the clock in the second period, Colin Miller took a knee-on-knee hit when he was tripped by Senators defenseman Mark Borowiecki. Miller needed help going down the tunnel, then was able to return later in the period for one shift that lasted 24 seconds. He did not return for the third period.
"Well, he couldn't finish obviously and I guess he'll be reassessed," Cassidy said after the game. "It's a lower body obviously, we all saw, but after that, I don't have a definite answer of what his condition will be going forward yet."
"It's another defenseman out of our lineup. He played 60 games for us this year, he's a good skater, a good puckmover, but that's where depth comes in and maybe he'll be fine Saturday. I'm not ruling him out, because I don't know, but it is a concern."
Krejci had taken warmups, and then was a late scratch for Game 1, due to an upper-body injury. The centerman was on the ice for Wednesday's pregame skate, but he had been given maintenance days on Monday and Tuesday.
"I'm an optimist, and that didn't work out," Cassidy said on Wednesday night, of his prediction earlier in the day that Krejci would likely be good to go. "He's continuing to nurse an upper body injury, so tomorrow he'll be off, the whole group will be off, and hopefully he can get out there and test it out and go from there."
"But again, it will be a day-to-day thing with him," said Cassidy. "We miss him. He's a great playoff performer. But you've got to solider on, and hopefully he's able to soldier on, on Saturday."
With Krejci not able to play, Kuraly was inserted into the lineup. As a result, the lines were switched around.
Pastrnak moved up to play alongside Marchand and Bergeron, with Riley Nash centering Matt Beleskey and David Backes.
Stafford moved to Spooner's line, playing on the right wing, with Vatrano on the left. Kuraly joined the fourth line, with Dominic Moore at center and Tim Schaller on the right wing.
Video: Bruins react to Game 1 win at Ottawa