Bruins, fresh off another long layoff, find ways to remain more balanced threat
Banking on the first three goals of the night coming from Tomas Nosek and Derek Forbort probably isn’t the best recipe for success for the Boston Bruins. But if there’s one thing that’s allowing the Bruins to breathe a little bit easier these days — aside from their Olympic break-esque time between games — it’s the fact that those guys are scoring for the Bruins.
Behind what was Boston’s third straight win by a 5-2 mark (that’s the first time they’ve won three straight games by identical scores since Jan. 2017), quick math confirms that the Bruins have now scored 15 goals over their three-game winning streak. The Brad Marchand-Patrice Bergeron-David Pastrnak trio has scored just four of those 15 goals (26.7 percent). Prior to this three-game streak, that trio had scored 15 of Boston’s 30 goals on the year (50 percent).
The former is what the Bruins had in mind when Don Sweeney went out and tried to buy an upgraded team this summer.
“It’s good for us, we need it,” Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy said of the team’s secondary scoring boost. “Charlie [McAvoy] we got a couple the other night. Now you’re starting to see us go from scoring two goals a game to now we’re at four and five. And I think it’s got to be not always by committee — [you] expect your top guys [and] power play to perform — but the secondary scoring has to come from the D as well. There’s six of them and we expect them to pitch in and they have.”
The Bruins are also starting to see something from their new-look fourth line with Anton Blidh to the left of Tomas Nosek and Curtis Lazar, as the duo opened up the scoring late in the first period.
Nosey with the footy skills 👏 pic.twitter.com/BLBCJ1kPfv— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) November 21, 2021
“They did a nice job,” Cassidy said after the victory. “It’s the right type of goal to score, too, where it elevates everybody. It’s a forecheck situation where we know against Philadelphia [you] gotta make them go 200 feet. Otherwise they can really hurt you.
“So we put it behind them. We get the first contact. You know, Puck stopped up, we win the race, [and] now we got spacing where there’s a net-front or a slot guy, another guy reloading and we make a play. I mean, those guys have a tougher time making plays in some of the top-end guys for obvious reasons. But they made a play to the slot through a stick and then a nice move to to finish. So I mean, I think every NHL player has a high skill level, it’s just to be able to create time and space and do it under duress is the tough part for all of them. So it’s a nice play all around.”
The goal was more than just a sweet play from the muckers, too.
The Bruins had straight-up blitzed the Flyers’ Martin Jones to that point, but had yet to find the back of the net. Jones turned aside all 19 shots to that point, in fact. The Bruins also whiffed on a power-play chance (including an extremely brief 5-on-3 that probably should’ve come with a better look than what the Bruins mustered up). Getting absolutely nothing out of that period could’ve been a killer for the Bruins, and added to the pressure on their first line to carry the load.
Instead, Nosek yanked on the ol’ pressure-release valve and the Bruins were off the races. These are the kind of bounces that the Bruins found themselves on the wrong side of in losses to the Panthers and Hurricanes. When it happened against the Bruins, you sorta just said, “Yeah, well those teams have luck and depth on their side right now, so it is what it is.”
And the Bruins, for the first time all year, are giving off some similar vibes.
With the results to back it up, too.
Here are some other thoughts and notes from a 5-2 win over Philly…
Ty Anderson is a writer and columnist for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Yell at him on Twitter: @_TyAnderson.