Bruins D-men step up to shoulder offensive load

Bruins D-men step up to shoulder offensive load
May 20, 2013, 1:15 am
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BOSTON – The Bruins have enjoyed the jolt of offensive production from their three rookie defenseman in two straight wins over the New York Rangers, but the Boston defensemen corps has consistently kicked into the offense during the playoffs. The Boston blueline corps has accounted for 10 goals in nine Stanley Cup playoff games this spring, and B’s defensemen kicked in a pair of goals in Boston’s 5-2 win over the Blueshirts in Game 2 at TD Garden.

During the 48-game regular season, Bruins defensemen accounted for 23 total goals for Boston, and they’re almost halfway to that mark just nine games into the Stanley Cup playoff season.

It was defenseman Johnny Boychuk that scored the game-winner in the second period on a wrist shot from the high slot, and has scored three goals during Boston’s playoff run. Combine that with Torey Krug’s goals in each of the last two postseason games against the Rangers, and the Bruins D-men crew is carrying their offensive share right along with the Krejci and Bergeron lines.

“They’ve been really good. I think we’ve seen our team – one of the big things that's helped our game right now is how quickly we’re moving the puck up the ice. We talked about that after the first round, and instead of slowing the game down we had to pick up the pace a little bit,” said Claude Julien. “Our young guys have come in and done exactly that and so have our older guys. We’re moving forward with that puck, and our transition game because of that has been better in this series.”

But it’s not just the young guys. Zdeno Chara leads all NHL defensemen with 10 playoff points (2 goals, 8 assists) and is among the league’s top five with a plus-8 rating through nine postseason games. He’s also second among NHL playoff players with 37 shots on goal during the postseason, and has been a constant threat at both ends of the ice over the last two weeks.

“It’s huge the way they’re stepping up and getting goals. The way the young guys have come in and played very, very hard and very strong, and our older guys stepping up and playing huge minutes,” said Brad Marchand. “It’s very big for us right now, and we’re going to need that to continue when we’re in New York.”

That’s the mission for a Bruins defensemen corps that’s seemingly figured out the key to being successful in all three zones, and is giving Boston the offense they’d been searching for all season. The young defensemen want to keep proving that it’s not a fluke, and the older veterans want to keep right up with the young pups showing their stuff over the last handful of games.