BOSTON - The Bruins know they can't change the past. But they can certainly mold the future.
With that controversial missed call during the third period of their Game 5 loss to the St. Louis Blues on Thursday night now in the rearview, Boston is focusing only on what is ahead of them: winning Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final on Sunday night.
"Our play should define us, not a call," Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said during a press conference on Friday morning at Warrior Ice Arena. "It's not going to be talked about in the locker room. It happened. I thought we actually responded fairly well. We got ourselves back in the game, cut the deficit to 2-1. We had a chance to win, but our play is going to define us on the ice, not a non-call, call.
"St. Louis has done a terrific job - they did. That [missed hand pass in the San Jose series] really went against them, and they pushed on. High character in their locker room, and we have the same high character. I suspect we'll put it behind us and off we go."
And off the Bruins went to St. Louis on Friday afternoon where they plan to immediately turn the page to what is their most important game of the season.
"Well, we're going to fly to St. Louis today," Cassidy said matter-of-factly when asked how his team plans on moving forward. "We're going to show a little video [on Saturday]. We're going to practice things that we feel will make us better.
"You need to win by one. If it's 1-0, great, that's fine. We don't really care at this point. We just need a victory. We have to figure out the best way to beat St. Louis in Game 6. That's what's in front of us.
"We went out there and won one of the games there, so it's not like we're incapable of doing that. That's our task."
Video: Cassidy talks moving on to Game 6
The Bruins have been in this position once already this postseason when they overcome a 3-2 series deficit in the first round against Toronto. Boston went into Game 6 at Scotiabank Arena on Easter Sunday and put forth a valiant effort with a 4-2 victory, before returning to TD Garden for a winner-take-all seventh game.
"We've been though this before," said Joakim Nordstrom. "I don't think our approach is gonna change. We're in an exciting spot. We don't want to just think too far ahead. We've got to go to St. Louis and we have to win that game, that's the bottom line of it.
"I thought the game [Thursday] night we played really well. We weren't getting the bounces that we wanted. I think if we build on that game, we elevate a little bit more we're gonna give ourselves a really good chance."
Elevating their game will include an uptick offensively. After potting seven goals in their Game 3 victory, the Bruins have managed just three over the last two contests - a 4-2 loss in Game 4 and a 2-1 setback in Game 5.
To do that, the Bruins believe they must get to the net more and capitalize on the rebounds that St. Louis goalie Jordan Binnington has surrendered.
"I think there's certainly been some rebounds there," said Nordstrom. "We haven't been able to get there enough, but I think that's an area where we can expose them. Seems like the pucks are bouncing off of him. We want to obviously shoot more and get to those rebounds."
Boston must also recharge its power play, which has gone 0 for 5 since a perfect 4 for 4 showing in Game 3. Cassidy pointed to the Bruins' entries, as well as the need to stretch St. Louis out more in-zone as the primary points of improvement.
"We have to be quicker in identifying [how they line up on entries] because we're not partial to one side," said Cassidy. "We have [Brad Marchand] on one side and [David Pastrnak] on the other. I think in-zone they've been tight, so we either have to stretch them out to get some seams or we have to be less stubborn and get a net presence and take the shot that's available."
In the end, however, everything must be better if the Bruins plan on forcing a decisive seventh game back in Boston next Wednesday.
"We know what's at stake in terms of if it doesn't go our way," said Cassidy. "We're packing and that's it. It's over. I think our guys have responded well all year. This is a group that plays hard…I'm not concerned at all about what our effort will be or that part.
"It's can we execute well enough? Can we play our game better than they play theirs to keep playing?"
Video: Nordstrom discusses shifting focus to Game 6
For the second time this series, the Blues heard from the National Hockey League's Department of Player Safety. The department's Twitter account announced on Friday morning that St. Louis forward Ivan Barbashev would have a hearing for an illegal check to the head on Marcus Johansson during the first period of Game 5 and later in the day suspended the forward for one game.
Cassidy did not believe Johansson was suffering any ill effects from the play that went uncalled on the ice.
"No lingering effects that I'm aware of," said Cassidy. "Again, I thought it was a high hit that I thought the officials were close enough to call and didn't. Not going to go down that road again. If he gets a suspension, or a fine, or nothing, then that's up to the NHL to make that call. We'll just worry about Game 6.
"Obviously, we always game plan to a certain extent, which players are in the lineup, but it's more about the whole group and how they play than one individual."
Blues forward Oskar Sundqvist was suspended one game earlier in the series for his hit to the head on Matt Grzelcyk in Game 2.
Grzelcyk was a game-time decision for Game 5, but did not suit up as he continues through protocol. The 25-year-old was back on the ice practicing with the Black Aces on Friday morning, though Cassidy did not provide any update on his status.
Whether or not Grzelcyk plays in Game 6 will certainly have an effect on how Cassidy builds his lineup. With questions marks surrounding Zdeno Chara's effectiveness for Game 5 as he returned from a puck to the face, Cassidy opted to play seven defensemen and insert Steven Kampfer into the lineup over David Backes.
"Some of it's going to depend on the health of Zee…there may be residual effect of him going back in," said Cassidy. "How close is Grzelcyk? You need to protect our D if they're both [question marks] - 12 and six for us is obviously our better formula. I mean, we did it probably 80 times out of 82 and all playoffs, so it's just a little more comfortable for us.
"But we're going to have to do what we have to do depending on the status of our two guys. As for the lines, if there's 11 forwards you're, for obvious reasons, going to see a lot of different combinations."
Cassidy said the team has not ruled out the blue liner for Game 6. Grzelcyk is expected to skate again on Saturday.
Chara Doing 'OK'
Cassidy said that Chara came out of Game 5 doing "OK" and could begin to take on more minutes moving forward.
"I would imagine there's some sorness, clearly. I'm stating the obvious here," said Cassidy, who deployed his captain for roughly 16 minutes in Game 5. "Will he be able to play more? We'll discuss with him. Some of the issue was he hadn't eaten much, so the strength issue. You've got to be careful there. Now it's a matter of if the three extra days allow him to get stronger or will it go the other way? That's something we'll discuss with Zee and come Sunday evening we'll probably have a much better idea of what he's able to handle and what he's not."