Two goals and five assists from the blue line isn’t exactly typical for the Boston Bruins, or any NHL team for that matter.
But that’s what the Bruins’ six defensemen were able to contribute Saturday afternoon at Nassau Coliseum en route to a thorough 4-0 shellacking of the New York Islanders.
Charlie McAvoy had a goal and two assists. Matt Grzelcyk had a goal. Torey Krug provided a pair of helpers, while Brandon Carlo had one.
So why were the Bruins blueliners so easily able to take advantage of the Isles? Allow head coach Bruce Cassidy to explain.
“It was both (part of the gameplan and taking what the Islanders gave us),” Cassidy told NESN’s Jack Edwards and Andy Brickley following the game. “They play a right wing lock, so our right side of the ice is available, and I thought we did a real good job for about half the game coming up there, especially in the first period. So that allowed a few of the guys to activate or push it up the right side and then follow it up.
“And then we played off the shot early on, keep some pucks alive, force them to defend,” Cassidy continued. “They get into a man-to-man and then we can take advantage of that at times, and I thought our (Grzelcyk’s) goal certainly was a good example of that. Even though Grizz got a fortunate bounce I thought we had good O-zone possession time and it was going to be a dangerous outcome no matter what happened there.”
Offensive production has become a bit more commonplace lately for Bruins that aren’t Krug. McAvoy, after not scoring for his first 51 games, has four goals in his last 12 contests, and has nine points (3-6-9) in his last seven games. Grzelcyk, meanwhile, has three points in his last four games (1-2-3).
Here are some other notes from Saturday’s Bruins-Islanders game:
— For the fourth time this season, Tuukka Rask posted a zero on the scoreboard.
It wasn’t for a lack of high-danger chances for the Isles, of which they had 10, but Rask made 25 saves. Even though the Bruins’ offense was able to fairly easily put the game out of reach, the netminder ensured things never got close.
The performance was the continuation of a nice run for Rask over his last 10 games. Even with a couple clunkers mixed in, Rask in that stretch still is 7-3-0 with a .935 save percentage, 1.85 goals against average and pair of shutouts.
He’s recently been seeing a heavier workload than usual, but as the numbers clearly show, he’s handling it well.
— There was a brief scare with Jeremy Lauzon, who took an Ondrej Kase shot to the face during the first period.
He went to the locker room after suffering the injury, but ultimately returned at the start of the middle frame with his chin stitched up.
— Saturday’s win wraps up another successful month for the Bruins.
The B’s put up an 11-3-0 record during February, scoring 3.36 goals per game while conceding just 2.21. They cashed in on 23 percent of their power play opportunities, while killing off 84 percent of their penalties.
Even if the Tampa Bay Lightning win Saturday against the Calgary Flames, the Bruins’ lead atop the Eastern Conference won’t be any less than seven by night’s end.
Thumbnail photo via Andy Marlin/USA TODAY Sports Images