These days, the Boston Bruins are finding offense in the most unlikely of places. In game two of the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals, three of the Bruins goals came from players not of the team’s first two lines. On top of the regulars such as Marchand and Lucic, defenseman Johnny Boychuck and Torey Krug along with fourth liner Gregory Campbell, all provided the extra firepower that allowed the Bruins to dominate this game and take control of this series.
The Bruins front office and coaching staff have repeatedly preached that their team building philosophy is focused on this roster’s depth. In this game the Bruins ability to roll four lines and six defenseman had head coach Claude Julien and general manager Peter Chiarelli smelling like roses, as the unlikeliest of sources have the Bruins feeling confident heading into game three.
Where else could you start besides Torey Krug? The pint-sized defenseman was incredibly active with the puck whenever he was on the ice and his fearless willingness to shoot paid dividends once again.
After tick tacking the puck through his legs, Krug managed to slide another puck under the five hole of Henrik Lundquist (something that is becoming a theme in this series) for the game’s first tally.
With just one period in the books, the Michigan State alumn hadn’t quite gotten enough offense for his taste on this afternoon. Just minutes into the second period, Krug snapped a strong shot on net that produced a tasty rebound that was swatted in by Gregory Campbell. Krug hasn’t played a ton of minutes in either game (he had just under thirteen minutes of total ice time in game two), but the underestimated blue liner has made every one of them count.
Speaking of the Campbell goal, everyone knew that it was coming sooner rather than later for a group that has been knocking at the door all series long. Before the game, Sean Thornton predicted this would be the game that the high octane fourth line finally found the back of the net, and of course, he was right.
While the Rangers fourth line collection of Kreider, Richards (go look up the contract, seriously) and Arron Asham have a decent amount of skill, it has quickly become apparent that they are nowhere close to matching the energy brought by the Bruins threesome of grinders.
Campbell’s willingness to stand in front of the net and leave himself to the mercy of the Rangers physical defensemen (not to mention shots from the point) is a strong representation of what lengths this line will go to to contribute to the Bruins cause. In this game, it finally showed on the score sheet.
Like Campbell, Johnny Boychuck is another Bruin that is easy to overlook. Take Boychuck’s stat line from this game. The twenty nine year-old Canadien was a plus two, with three hits, one penalty, one give away, and of course, the one goal.
So far in the playoffs Boychuck has one goal and five assists for a total of six points that have come over the course of nine games.
While that may not seem like a lot, you might be able to think of a few Bruins who would love to have those kinds of numbers to their name (Seguin and Jagr come to mind). Boychuck isn’t the flashiest defenseman nor is he the most skilled, but when the Bruins need a penalty kill, a dump in, a goal, or a big hit, you can usually find Boychuck is right in the thick of the action, just doing his job.
With the possibility of both Dennis Seidenberg and Wade Redden returning for game three, Claude Julien is now faced with somewhat of a dilemma. Seidenberg is a must play, but the same cannot be said for Redden. Whenever Seidenberg does return, one of these hot young defenseman will be headed back to the press box.
Coming into the series the Bruins question marks on defense were assumed to be a disadvantage. Oh how much has changed over the course of five days. There are a ton of variables in play in deciding who sits, but for the Bruins, having too much of a good thing is strikingly more preferable than having to choose between injured veterans and premature rookies.
The Bruins know that this series is far from over, but Sunday’s game was a glimpse of what could be the beginnings of something special. All season, including their entire first round series against the Maple Leafs, Boston has been unable to put together a sixty-minute effort. On top of their singular game woes, the Bruins have not been successful in producing back-to-back performances that made you feel like they had won the game rather than their opponent merely giving it away.
Wins like these start from the bottom on up and end with every one of the team’s players having played a role in the game’s outcome. The Rangers aren’t going go quietly into the night, but in this game the Bruins proved that they have the ability to control their own destiny in this series.Boston, Boston Bruins, Eastern Conference Semi-Finals, Hockey, NHL