Falling behind 3-0 and getting badly outplayed by the Blue Jackets in the first period en route to a 4-1 loss was really not what the Bruins were looking for in their lone exhibition tune-up before the round-robin tournament begins on Sunday.
Even if Marchand needs a couple days off or even has to miss a round-robin game or two, the Bruins will breathe a sigh of relief as long as he's back and healthy when the first round of the playoffs start.
With David Pastrnak finally back with the team this week and things starting to look at least a little more normal, the last thing the Bruins need would be to lose their other star wing for any sort of extended period.
If Thursday night made anything clear, it's that the Bruins have some work to do and that playing well isn't going to be guaranteed just because they were the best team in the NHL four and a half months ago.
"I'm not making excuses for our team. We didn't play very well early," Cassidy said. "I thought as the game went on we got better, which is fairly typical of an exhibition game. Obviously in these circumstances we're in, you need to get your game up quicker. We talked about that after the first period. Let's just not write it off as a September preseason game. We have to be ready for Philly on Sunday when the games start to matter, so let's dig in here and start building our game, and I thought we did. They were on us early, forced a lot of turnovers. ... I thought mentally they were more dialed in than we were early on, and it certainly showed."
The Bruins' first couple shifts of the game were actually pretty good, with their top two lines both buzzing around the offensive zone on their first shifts. But then things started to unravel for the remainder of the first period.
He did look better in the second period, though, as did much of the rest of the team. While the Bruins probably can't love anything about Thursday night, and they never really felt like a threat to make a comeback, there were some positives as the game went on.
There were other instances as the game went on, though, when he did show more of the shot mentality Cassidy has said he wants to see, and ultimately his three shots on goal tied him for second on the Bruins behind only Pastrnak. His playmaking and vision was also on display, including an excellent shift late in the second when he made two great passes to set up DeBrusk in the slot.
"I thought Sean wasn't as strong on it early, so we moved him off that line," Cassidy said. "He got much better as the game went on and found his stride. ... I thought Coyle's line overall was effective. They tried to play the right way. I thought they did. Didn't hurt us at all and got a few looks."
So in the end, it certainly wasn't a good night for the Bruins, but at least things didn't remain as bad as they started, and at least Marchand's injury is believed to be nothing serious.