BOSTON – The Bruins offense has been far too one-dimensional for most of this season, and far too reliant on David Pastrnak and Brad Marchand to carry them to victory.
So it was nothing short of a Black and Gold revelation on Thursday night when five different Bruins players scored goals in a 5-2 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets at TD Garden, and none of Boston’s top line forwards factored into the Boston scoring.
BRUINS 5, BLUE JACKETS 2:
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Instead it was a David Backes goal for the Krejci line, a pair of goals for a third line that’s struggled to produce for the balance of the season, a score for Torey Krug and a fourth line goal from Tim Schaller that gave the Bruins exactly the kind of balanced scoring they’ve been unsuccessfully seeking out until this point. It wasn’t enough to simply chase Sergei Bobrovsky from the game after a video review awarded Schaller’s goal in the first period, and made it four B’s goals scored in the span of roughly four minutes of ice time.
That was tremendously good for the Bruins, and one would guess pretty disconcerting for Columbus.
“I think we had [balanced scoring] the other night in Montreal, as well. I think it’s coming around,” said Claude Julien. “You’ve got some of those lines – David Krejci with David Backes back and David [Krejci] is finding his stride as well. They have been a better line obviously. Ryan [Spooner] was good tonight, Nasher [Riley Nash] with [Austin] Czarnik and Matty Beleskey, Matty is playing better than he did at the beginning, so that has helped that line.
“[Czarnik] with his speed and skill, and it’s just been a good blend there. And our fourth line continues to just do their job. It’s nice to have that balance, no doubt, so that you’re not just relying on one or two lines to score some goals for you.”
The offensive surge represents a couple of things for the Bruins: One is certainly the chemistry developing between Krejci and Backes, and the way that’s allowed Ryan Spooner to build his confidence while chasing the puck around. The other is a third line that looks like it’s been let out of offensive jail since Jimmy Hayes was swapped out for the younger, faster and smaller Czarnik, and Beleskey and Nash have developed their own chemistry together to give Julien options as he’s rolling out forward lines.
“We need [secondary scoring] and we’re going to need it down the stretch to win games,” said Torey Krug. “You can’t rely on the same few players every night to produce because eventually -- I know they don’t want it to, but eventually it is going to slow down a bit. It’s important for any good team to have secondary scoring so it was nice to see that.”
A couple of weeks ago a game with a zero stat line for Marchand-Bergeron-Pastrnak would have meant a surefire loss for the Bruins, and a real exercise in frustration for many of the players yet to catch fire offensively. Now those supporting players like Krug and Beleskey are finding the range offensively, and giving the Bruins a fighting chance even on the rare off night when Boston’s big guns aren’t lighting the red lamp.