The Bruins were ready to go as soon as the puck was dropped in Long Island for a Saturday matinee against the stingy Islanders.
Not even five minutes into the game, David Pastrnak lit the lamp to give Boston a 1-0 lead. After Pastrnak slid into the Islanders’ zone, he whipped a cross ice pass to a streaking Torey Krug. Krug just missed a connection to a net-crashing Patrice Bergeron. Islanders’ goalie Semyon Varlamov was still picking himself up as the puck found Pastrnak. 88 blasted a shot from the tops of the right circle and into the back of the net. That was Pastrnak’s 47th score this season, adding to his league lead. Krug collected his 36th assist, while Brandon Carlo snagged his 15th apple of the season.
Matt Grzelcyk would then get in on the scoring action. After a nifty move to create space, Grzelcyk fired the puck off Varlamov. The same shift, Grzelcyk got probably the best bounce of the year for the Bruins. A drive from his stick bounced off Islander defenseman Johnny Boychuck, who was in between the tops of the circles. While it was not the most aesthetically pleasing goal ever scored, Grzelcyk will certainly take the helpful bounce for his 3rd goal of the season. Charlie McAvoy also grabbed his 25th helper of the year on that score.
Speaking of McAvoy, he was far from done racking up points. He collected his 2nd assist of the afternoon after a Brad Marchand wrap around goal midway through the 3rd.
While on the power play looking for the definite nail in the coffin, McAvoy and Krug were paired up. After Krug corolared a loose puck and slithered behind the goal, he found McAvoy at the top of the right circle. McAvoy wired the puck into the back of the net to balloon Boston’s lead to 4-0. Krug dished out his 2nd helper of the contest while McAvoy potted his 4th goal of the campaign.
Tuukka Rask and the Bruins would preserve the shutout with a 4-0 victory. The offensive contributions provided by the defensemen were monumental for Boston.
Boston d-men put up 7 of the teams 11 points, while McAvoy lead the way with three. They were also incredibly aggressive getting pucks on net. The unit produced 14 of the Bruins 30 shots on goal.
It was a great sign for the Bruins back-end to be this active Saturday. The Islanders are a very solid defense team. Entering play today, they were tied with the Colorado Avalanche for 3rd fewest goals allowed in the league with 169. Not to mention, they need to play hard every game since they are in an intense battle for a playoff spot.
The Bruins’ defensemen should continue to be active offensively. Krug, and to a lesser extent McAvoy and Grzelcyk, are critical to the team’s offense. Carlo has really improved his skating this season and is being more aggressive in looking to contribute offensively. As solid as Boston’s d-men are in their own zone, they are more than capable of chipping in on the offensive side of the rink as well.
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