The Maple Leafs (237 goals) have the No. 3 offense in the league behind Florida (261) and Colorado (250). Their power play (29.2 percent) entered Tuesday as the league’s most effective.
“Toronto has a lot of high-end skill,” Cassidy said. “They’re coming at you, they’re attacking you one-on-one … So I think it’s good for him to see three different types of teams and see where he measures up and us to see how he measures up.”
The Bruins have yet to integrate their other deadline additions, Marc McLaughlin and Josh Brown. Brown will likely debut this week. Cassidy said he’ll try to ease McLaughlin in.
But with Lindholm, jumping in head-first made sense.
“Lindholm has been around,” Cassidy said. “He’s got the résumé, played playoff hockey. So to get him in right away against high-end guys, I think this is a good thing to get the evaluation going right away.”
Front and center
Taylor Hall is a former All-Star and league MVP who entered Tuesday with scored 242 goals and 645 points in his 12-year career.
But some things take a while to get used to, and playing in front of the net has been one of them. As the season has progressed, so has Hall as a net-front presence, embracing the role and seizing opportunities when they come.
“It’s something that I’ve grown into as the season has gone on,” Hall said. “It’s not something that’s natural to me, to play in front of the net there, but I’m starting to figure it out.”
For Charlie Coyle, playing around the net is a natural part of his game.
“That’s where good things happen,” he said.
There’s inevitable physicality that comes with playing in front of the net.
“If you’re staying in front of the net, you’ve got to be physically involved,” Coyle said. “You’re going to be bumping into guys, trying to own your space on the D-men down there, and wherever the puck is going to go, you’ve got to battle it out.
“So, it’s easy to get into the game that way, and that’s where you want to go if you want to score. When you go through little spurts where you’re not scoring or getting opportunities, just go to that net. That’s just the mind-set mindset you have to have.”
Looking at Hall’s track record, there was never much doubt he would get comfortable in front of the net in time.
“He’s a very smart player,” Coyle said. “He’s had a lot of success in this league already. He knows how to score and play around the net. Whether it’s a power play or a five on five, he’s just got the skill and the will to be there. It takes guys to be in front of the net and take those cross-checks and take those shots right there. It’s a lot.
“But you find success that way and it’s hard on other teams when guys are like that and have that mind-set. That’s what he does. Yeah, he’s got skill and can skate around you, but he can also kind of will you in front of the net like that. It’s contagious to other guys.”
Cassidy offered condolences to the Senators organization in the wake of owner Eugene Melnyk’s death on Monday.
Melnyk, 62, had owned the Senators since 2003. The team reached the Stanley Cup Final in 2007.
“As an Ottawa guy, you’re always rooting for the best for that organization,” said Cassidy, who was born in Ottawa and played for the Ottawa 67s before being drafted by the Blackhawks in 1983. “I know it’s a passionate fan base, so again the Bruins are passing along our deepest sympathies and hope everything goes well for Ottawa.”
Patrice Bergeron did not participate in morning skate but suited up for the game … The Bruins will also face the Maple Leafs in the regular-season finale April 29.
Julian Benbow can be reached at [email protected]
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism