COLUMBUS -- When the Boston Bruins look at Columbus Blue Jackets goalie Sergei Bobrovsky, they don't see a brick wall. They don't see an insurmountable challenge. They see a goalie who is human, who has flaws, who can and will break.
They have to see it that way. It would be self-defeating to believe otherwise.
"The secondary saves that he's making are very impressive, but he's going to crack at some point," defenseman Brandon Carlo said Tuesday, after a 2-1 Game 3 loss to the Blue Jackets in the Eastern Conference Second Round at Nationwide Arena. "I have a lot of faith that we're going to start putting pucks past him here pretty soon. Credit to him today, but overall I don't think it's going to last."
[RELATED: Complete Bruins vs. Blue Jackets series coverage]
Bruce Cassidy's reaction?
"I hope he's right," the Bruins coach said Wednesday.
That wasn't exactly the reaction from the Blue Jackets.
"I saw that," defenseman Seth Jones said, of Carlo's words. "I have no response. We trust Bob."
The Bruins have been stymied at every turn by Bobrovsky and the Blue Jackets. They've gotten some very good chances on the 2017 Vezina Trophy-winning goalie -- notably by center Patrice Bergeron -- but they also have scored only six goals in three games against him, as the Blue Jackets have taken a 2-1 lead in the best-of-7 series heading into Game 4 on Thursday at Nationwide Arena (7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, SN, TVAS).
But those secondary chances, those rebounds, could just be where they see an opening - literally and figuratively.
Video: Bobrovsky makes 36 saves in Game 3 win against Bruins
"He overextends a lot," said forward Jake DeBrusk, who poked a goal just over the line for the Bruins' sole score in Game 3. "He challenges pucks, especially if you have a clean look, he's really outside of his paint, so any time we've got some rebounds -- I think the chance where we hit the post [in Game 3], he was out challenging and sometimes you can lose your positioning.
"In general, he doesn't give you a whole lot. But when he does, there's definitely some net there. It's just a matter of executing and obviously it's tough and different things are happening, but like any goalie in this League, we've got to just make sure we get eyes and volume of shots."
He pointed to his goal as a prime example.
"He's making Grade A's and then sometimes it can just trickle in. You never know. At this point we need all the goals we can get."
There's no question that the Bruins have gotten chances, including ones in scrums, ones in the paint, ones that they might have converted had any other goalie been in the crease.
But the Blue Jackets have Bobrovsky. And, knowing he's back there, they have their own faith.
"Yeah, they had some chances around the paint last game," Jones said. "They're going to get chances. [Bobrovsky] obviously comes up big in those situations for us. Sometimes bad bounces happen, things like this happen, but for the most part you want to stay positionally sound first and then time and space is really important against these guys."
Still, the Bruins see their opening. They see the chances they've been able to get and know that more of them will only force Bobrovsky to continue to play on his toes, to continue to push him to be at his absolute best.
Video: BOS@CBJ, Gm3: Bruins get no luck from the post
"That's how you get to goalies that are feeling it," forward Brad Marchand said. "You have to try to get in there and get rebounds that are kicked out and try to stop him from seeing it. He's seeing the pucks and he's saving them. They're finding ways to get them, so we just have to find ways to get in there, win some more battles around there, find a way to get one in."
The Bruins believe in themselves and their ability to break through on Bobrovsky.
"I think that we have confidence that we're going to score goals," DeBrusk said. "You can't go into a game thinking that the goalie's going to stop everything or things really won't work out."
And they need them to work out. They need to score, if they want to even the series on Thursday, and eventually advance to the Eastern Conference Final.
"Like I said, I don't know if he's going to crack," Cassidy said. "I hope he does. It's our intention to force him to be really good. So far he has [been]. Give him credit. Tomorrow's a new day."
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