Boston’s Game 3 victory over the Hurricanes was the very definition of a team effort.
The Bruins got goals from four different scorers, broke things open on the power play, and were given a boost by some timely saves (and 25 saves in all) from Jeremy Swayman in his first career playoff start. But the deficit-slicing victory on TD Garden ice wouldn’t have been possible without the down-and-dirty defensive effort from B’s defenseman Derek Forbort.
Deployed for 23:07 of time on ice, Forbort shined in the penalty-killing game for a Black and Gold shorthanded unit that finished Friday a perfect 5-for-5, and led the way with a staggering 6:46 of shorthanded time on ice. And Forbort quite literally ate puck after puck on every single of those shifts, and finished the night with an absurd nine blocked shots.
“To me, those are the unsung heroes: Guys that worked really hard to keep the puck out of our net,” Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy said of Forbort after the win. “He really showed his value tonight.”
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The nine blocked shots from No. 28 are now tied for a single-game playoff team record, knotting Forbort up with Dennis Seidenberg’s nine blocks in a marathon, three-overtime Game 1 against the Blackhawks in 2013 (Seidenberg played nearly 49 minutes in that game) and nine blocks from the late Steve Montador in Game 3 against the Canadiens back in 2009. (Of course, blocks have only been tracked as an official stat for the last 17 years, so it’s entirely possible that Eddie Shore racked up 3,000 blocks in a playoff game just for the hell of it and then rode a horse home for all we know.)
Derek Forbort going sicko mode on the PK pic.twitter.com/vA58ZafZhe— Conor Ryan (@ConorRyan_93) May 7, 2022
Forbort was even hobbled by a block at one point, but he stayed out there (and on his feet), and labored his way back to the Boston bench after the Bruins were finally able to clear the puck down the other end. Total shifts missed? Zero.
“He’s a popular guy. He’s very quiet, doesn’t say much. Talks about him and his dog, his simple life,” Cassidy said. “But he’s got personality when you get to know him, so guys root for guys like that. He was brought in to be that type of stay-at-home, try to be a stiff defender, keep the puck of your net, shot blocker. He’s been as advertised.”
“I love that guy,” Swayman said when asked about Forbort. “He’s the man.”
“He’s one of those guys that plays the game that guys don’t wanna play,” Brad Marchand said. “He sacrifices every night for the group, puts his body in harm’s way, and those are the guys that you win with in playoffs. You have to be able to have guys who are willing to put their bodies on the line every night and risk getting hurt if you wanna go deep.”
“Those are the guys that make a difference in these type of games,” Cassidy admitted. “You need your scorers to score and your muckers or checkers to be physical and block shots. And that makes a well-run machine.”
A machine that can add at least one more date to their calendar with some big help from Forbort.