The Bruins Game 7 win over the Maple Leafs was the perfect illustration of Don Sweeney’s moves gone right.
The Bruins general manager made two trade deadline moves, adding Marcus Johansson and Charlie Coyle, both of whom scored in the B’s 5-1 decisive win to advance and face the Blue Jackets on Tuesday night.
He also signed Joakim Nordstrom, who scored the first goal of the game, in the off-season. All of Game 7 was a display of the Bruins depth coming through in a season where it was questioned.
There’s something rewarding about not only winning, but doing it with the full depth on display.
“We’ve felt that we’ve certainly tested our depth throughout the season,” said Sweeney. “We’ve felt that we have players that could step up. You want your best players, but the war of attrition is what it is. It’s going to exist as you go along in the playoffs, and we missed Kevan (Miller). He’s a big part of our hockey club. Other guys have stepped up. We have some guys that have some things that are dinged up, but they’re going to play through those things. They’ve always had a next-man up approach from our coaching staff through our players.”
While the Bruins added pieces, it nearly doesn’t compare to the splurge the Blue Jackets went on at the deadline, adding Matt Duchene, Ryan Dzingel and Adam McQuaid, while keeping Artemi Panarin.
Columbus bet on itself, and got a sweep over the NHL’s best team, the Lightning, in the first round out of it. That opened the path for the Bruins to have home ice through the Stanley Cup, but also proves the Jackets are a worthy opponent.
“(Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen) deserves a lot of credit for recognizing where he thought his group was at, and they took a run,” said Sweeney. “Kudos to them and their whole group for earning the right to get in and same to us for having the opportunity to play against them. I think our group has proven over the last couple of years we’ve been a good hockey club, and we’d like to continue to have the opportunity to play and go further.”
It might not have been on as dramatic of a scale, but the Bruins made moves of their own, and those moves shone on Tuesday night to give the B’s a chance to face the Jackets.
Sweeney deserves some credit for that; while the Jackets pulled the trigger, the Bruins didn’t sit back either. Now, two teams that went for it are rewarded with a battle to get to the conference finals.
Miller to miss start of series
After missing all of the first round against the Maple Leafs, it appears Kevan Miller is still a ways away.
The Bruins defenseman suffered a lower-body injury at the end of the season in Minnesota and was described as day-to-day, but according to Sweeney he suffered a setback and is now week-to-week heading into the Columbus series.
“We’re probably week-to-week there, in terms of evaluating,” said Sweeney. “He’s not going to start this series.”
Miller hasn’t skated since the injury, and has been spotted in a right knee brace. Miller missed 39 games this season with four different injuries.
Backes back seat?
David Backes sat out Game 7, but that doesn’t mean it’s the last he’s been heard of.
“(From a) depth standpoint of our hockey club, it could anybody’s time,” said Sweeney. “Anybody goes back in, comes out. (Head coach Bruce Cassidy) will tinker with the lineup, which he constantly does. I think guys earn the right depending on what the matchups look like, and we’ll go through that. He’s an important part of our group. So is (Chris Wagner) and anybody that’s been in and out of the lineup. You know, Karson (Kuhlman) going back in, so they’re important parts of our group, and they
should feel that way, and I know they do.”