There’s an awful lot that’s gone into the Bruins’ 2022 resurgence.
From an improved power play to a tighter defense to a more balanced scoring attack, you’ve been able to pinpoint just about everything and everyone when heaping praise on the B’s month of January. On Saturday, a new group decided to emerge, as the Black and Gold’s third line with Charlie Coyle at center and Jake DeBrusk and Oskar Steen on the wings decided to lead the even-strength charge to victory.
“If you want to be a good team, you need contributions from everyone,” Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy said after the win. “And they did their job and then some offensively.”
The line’s afternoon kicked off with some simple plays that made a big difference. As Dylan DeMelo went to play a puck behind the Winnipeg net, DeBrusk came in with a slight disruption on the forecheck. DeMelo’s pass rimmed around the net was picked off by Urho Vaakanainen, who sent it to DeBrusk, and DeBrusk had a sweet little backhand touch pass to Coyle for a shot in a prime area, and with Steen there for the rebound goal.
“A little man-to-man in d-zone helps a guy like Coyle separate and the other guys get open,” Cassidy noted.
The party continued in the middle frame, too, this time with Coyle able to deflect a goal through the Jets’ Connor Hellebuyck early in the middle frame. That goal, much like the first, was sparked by some aggressive forechecking from the Boston wingers, as Steen and DeBrusk converged on Winnipeg’s Nate Schmidt on the way to a turnover to Derek Forbort en route to the Coyle tally.
“Sometimes you play well and you don’t get the end result, but you get opportunities. Sometimes you’re not playing so well and you find the back of the net. It’s a funny game sometimes,” Coyle said of the line’s strong night. “You always want to help contribute. But playing solid defensively, I think that usually jumpstarts us.
“I think we just used our forecheck, [had] good sticks, and going through guys when we could. But all those pucks just kind of found the slot and, us being in good spots and getting opportunities.”
Deployed for 10:34 of five-on-five action (second-highest total among Boston’s four lines), the DeBrusk-Coyle-Steen lined finished with a 6-2 shot advantage, and generated six scoring chances in all. But, again, the two goals were the most important result, especially with the Boston top line snakebitten despite a dominant night.
“They were a line that that knew that they had to play a certain way and they did,” Cassidy said of his third line. “I liked all three. A big part of our win, and that’s always good for for team building and for success is when different lines contribute. And they were certainly now I would say our best tonight.”
Here are some other leftover thoughts and notes from a 3-2 win over the Jets...