The Boston Bruins had their special teams working to near perfection against the Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center on Saturday.
The Bruins scored goals on each of their first three power-play opportunities while going a perfect 4-for-4 on the penalty kill in the contest, ultimately a driving factor in their impressive 6-1 rout.
“Our penalty kill again was excellent,” Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy said, as seen on NESN’s postgame coverage. “We were able to roll people through it, probably used four pairs of forwards because we were able to get clears so that’s important to keep everybody fresh.”
In their first two games following the NHL All-Star break, the Bruins are a perfect 10-for-10 on the penalty kill and 5-for-8 on the power play.
“We take a lot of pride in our special teams and we build a lot of momentum when we get a kill or we get a goal,” Bruins forward Brad Marchand said. “And we’re so good on both that I think it kind of brings down the morale of the other team when we get a good kill, or we go 3-for-3 on our first three power plays.
“So, it’s huge for us and deflating for them,” he added. “In today’s game you need to be really good on special teams, and we are.”
Cassidy was equally impressed with the power play because of how the Bruins were able to quickly implement what they had talked about following Saturday’s over the Winnipeg Jets.
“Quicker puck movement, not forcing plays, taking what’s there,” Cassidy said of a few areas on NESN’s postgame coverage. “We have to use the drop off now with Jake (DeBrusk) around the net if they’re going to crowd Pasta (David Pastrnak) on the elbow and Bergy (Patrice Bergeron) in the middle. And we got to take some shots from the other elbow, from the left side.
“So, it was good to see, Marchy (Brad Marchand) got one from there. If that becomes the option that they’re going to give us, we got to be prepared to take it and tonight we were. And the drop off, we kind of stuffed one around in there and got a second chance. So, good for them for responding, not forcing plays,” Cassidy added.
All three of Boston’s power-play goals came in the second period, two of which took place within the first six minutes of the frame as the visitors pulled away. The Bruins finished 3-for-4 on the man advantage.
They won face-offs (33 to 28), sent pucks down the ice and ultimately did not let the Wild build any momentum when the game still was in reach.
Here are some other notes from Saturday’s Bruins-Wild game:
— Torey Krug delivered a noteworthy offensive performance.
The 28-year-old defenseman tallied four points on two goals and two assists. Krug scored each of Bruins’ first two goals, including the game-winner just 4:39 into the second period.
The veteran netted his first of the game at 12:38 of the first while his second came on the power play at 4:39 of the middle period. Krug added his first assist of the game on another power-play tally from Marchand at 5:55 of the second.
Krug, who has 20 goals on the season, also talked about the special teams after the game.
“It reestablishes some confidence, some swagger that maybe some guys lost, the unit lost in general,” Krug said. “It just gives us the confidence to make plays, and realize when we have the swagger, are moving the puck really quick, were not being stagnant and hanging onto the puck, we can score against anyone. And obviously, we need it to win games. So, its very important for us to get going.”
— David Pastrnak tied his career-high in goals during three-point performance.
With his lone goal of the game coming at 15:29 of the second period, the 23-year-old forward tied a career-high with 38 goals. Pasta tallied 38 in 66 games during his 2018-19 season. He’s done the same in only 53 games this year.
It’s safe to say the NHL All-Star Game MVP will have a new career-high after the Bruins conclude their 2019-20 season.