B's D Back on Track
Black & Gold knew they need to pick up their defensive game - and earned 3-0 shutout as a result
Not only did they come out as the Big Bad Bruins, but they jumped out to another three-goal lead, and this time around, rewarded themselves with a 3-0 shutout of the Conference rivals, and their second straight win following the two defensive lapses against Montreal and Washington.
"The two games we lost, we give up quite a few goals compared to what we’re usually doing, and then again we were up three nothing right before, and we obviously learned our lesson the two times," said defenseman Johnny Boyhcuk, who registered 22:55 of ice time and four blocked shots, of the B's improved back end.
"So to be up three nothing and clamp down defensively and not give them anything is extremely good, especially because their power play is one of the top power plays in the league, and I think our PK was doing a good job killing those penalties."
"It really helped everybody out, especially Tuukka playing the way he did again. He was very aware of what was going on around him, and he made those key stops again."
The full team effort came at both ends of the ice, with the Bruins strong on the forecheck and backcheck.
"I think moving the puck up quick was key today," added Boyhcuk. "It made it a lot easier for the neutral zone instead of going back and forth, that style of play that sometimes we have been caught doing instead of moving up to the forwards and tipping it in and going on the forecheck."
"It was a good job tonight just doing that, making sure pucks were deep instead of turning it over at the bluelines, and then [the Flyers] coming down on us and having a problem in our rushes because we’re not getting it deep," the D-man added, on the B's ability to chip the puck in and battle in the corners and along the walls and grind it out.
In a good special teams period for the B's, the team killed off an early penalty to start the game, before Tyler Seguin converted on the power-play 11:53 in, with a one-timer to put them up, 1-0. It was only the third shot the Bruins had put on goal, but the late start didn't plague the Black & Gold.
In a flash, Chris Kelly and Dan Paille added goals, making it three tallies for Boston all within just 2:18 to give themselves a 3-0 cushion heading into the second.
While Brad Marchand had admitted Thursday night that holding the lead was a bit scary against Toronto, after having suffered two previous losses after keeping the edge, today the B's carried confidence into the second and third periods. Though they weren't able to get another insurance goal, the Bruins clamped down defensively and pulled out the win.
"It was good for us to get that lead," Coach Julien agreed, after noting that today's game wasn't necessarily a reaction to the two losses earlier this week. "For us, it was about playing a 60-minute game, we knew they were going to come out better in the second and we had to face that."
"The third period was kind of the same challenge. We were kind of looking to hopefully extend the lead. If they scored the next goal, 3-1 game, it’s different than 4-0. I want our guys to find a way to get that next goal, maybe, and we had some chances, we just didn’t capitalize."
"Our guys stuck to the game plan," Coach said later in his postgame press conference. "We looked more like the team that had those leads in the past. We had a little glitch there for a couple of games, we’re hoping to turn the page on that."
"I think it was better for our team to play a solid 60-minute defensive game but still get the offense," added Tuukka Rask, who recorded his 13th career shutout. "Not so for me to get the shutout cause we’re a team here and win as a team and lose as a team but it’s always good to get a shutout, it tells a lot about team defense."
The Bruins style of play was certainly on display today, with several charged up moments throughout the game, complete with a Shawn Thornton fight with Zac Rinaldo, in response to Rinaldo up-ending Johnny Boychuk along the boards. Offense, defense, battling - the compete level was definitely there, all the way until Tyler Seguin helped preserve the shutout at the end by diving to keep a puck out of the net.
But the back-to-normal sound defense was the main focus.
"Tonight, we were," said Coach Julien, when asked if the B's D was back on track, before adding, "But I don’t know if I can say back on track until I see it on a consistent basis."
"Today was probably the first day that I felt much better about our game without the puck in our defensive zone. We didn’t give much. They didn’t have a ton of scoring chances."
"And obviously we got two tough games - Ottawa, who’s playing extremely well, still, and Pittsburgh on the road. We’ll need that kind of game to win those."
With another three games in four days, the two extra points isn't a bad way to start the stretch heading into a back-to-back Monday and Tuesday.
"A win is a win no matter when. But we’ve got a busy week this coming week; we’ve got a busy week the week after. The whole month-and-a-half that’ remaining is going to be that way."