BOSTON, Mass – One of the byproducts of the coaching change from Claude Julien to Bruce Cassidy has been the floodgates opening up offensively, and it’s been noticeable in many different areas of the roster. One of them is on the back end as Bruins defensemen scored a pair of goals in the 4-0 shutout win over the Montreal Canadiens at TD Garden on Sunday night, and made it four goals in the last two games from Black and Gold blue liners.
On Sunday night it was Adam McQuaid crashing backdoor to score the game’s first goal on a pinpoint pass from Peter Cehlarik, and then Zdeno Chara dangling through Montreal players on the way to a highlight shorthanded strike for the 6-foot-9 defensive stopper. While it certainly doesn’t figure that the Bruins are going to get two goals per game from their D-men moving forward this season, it’s also been eye-opening to see both offensive D-men and stay-at-home types get encouraged to take some risks and make some plays.
“You need that. We’re getting encouraged from the coaching staff, guys who are known for being more defensive [are encouraged] to be supporting the attack and also from guys that are more known for the offensive part of their game, and also taking big parts in playing defense,” said Chara, who logged 26 plus minutes in the win. “So we have to be able to do both. At times, the situation presents for offensive guys a little bit more, and at times, guys that are more known for the defensive part of the game.”
The activation of the B’s defense corps has been noticeable since Cassidy took over all the way to the first goal scored when Torey Krug pinched beyond the goal line to set up a David Backes strike, and it extended to Saturday’s win with goals from Kevan Miller and Colin Miller in the victory over Vancouver.
But the difference on Sunday, according to Cassidy, was the Bruins defensemen doing a better job of picking their spots while taking an offensive risk, and minimizing the potential damage at the other end of the ice.
“They’re on a roll, let’s enjoy it,” said Cassidy, of the bumped up production from the D-men. “We’ve encouraged that and they’ve taken it to heart. I thought we did a much better job with our decision-making when to activate as well. We weren’t reckless [after] we had bouts of that against Vancouver. We addressed it this morning, pick the right times, [make] good decisions and I thought for the most part we did [make] good decisions.”
It’s all part of a faster, more aggressive mindset that Cassidy wants from his Bruins players all over the ice, and an almost wholly different approach in the offensive zone where Boston has gone from passive to attacking. The results speak for themselves as the Bruins have gone from one of the least productive offensive blue lines in the NHL to one that’s helping carry the new-look Black and Gold offense during their three-game winning streak.