BOSTON – The clinching game of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Pittsburgh Penguins was secured by a defensemen when Adam McQuaid’s game-winner in the third period officially banished the Penguins to golf courses across the world. It gave the B’s blueline corps their playoff-leading 15th goal from defensemen during the playoffs, and their second of the series, after Johnny Boychuk lit the lamp in Game 2.
“That’s what you need: contribution from different guys. It’s not always going to be the same guys, even when we get a lot of offense from guys that we rely on,” said Zdeno Chara, who leads B’s defensemen with 11 points (2 goals, 9 assists) in 16 postseason games. “In some key situations of different games we got contributions from guys that maybe are not well known for their offense.”
That’s 32-percent of the 50 goals that the Bruins have scored during the playoffs after Boston’s defensemen crew managed 18-percent (23 goals) of the 127 goals scored by the Black and Gold during the regular season.
Boychuk leads the way with five goals scored, and Torey Krug has certainly added to the offensive defensemen factor with four goals in nine playoff games. The Bruins defensemen had five power play goals in the 48 game regular season for Boston, and Krug has three power play bombs all by himself three rounds into their Stanley Cup run.
The emergence of both Boychuk and Krug has been key in a big offensive surge for the Bruins defensemen during the playoffs, and Zdeno Chara has been a constant at both ends of the nice.
So what’s the offensive uptick all about for Boston’s blueliners?
It’s clearly about Boston’s defensemen getting a little more energetic and aggressive with their pinch opportunities in the offensive zone, but it’s also about the Boston forwards using their points quite a bit more. The McQuaid game-winner was the perfect example as Brad Marchand found the stay-at-home defenseman as the trailer at the high point before getting off the ice for a line change.
“I know the coaching staff has always stressed for those D to take their ice and/or join the rush," said Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli. "It’s been a constant theme this year and we’re starting to see it now. In the offensive zone our game revolves around getting the puck to the point. Not that our offense is built around it, but we certainly have always stressed the D becoming involved. I’m not terribly surprised that they’re contributing the way that they have, they just didn’t do it as much in the regular season.
“So now you’ve got the well-chronicled younger D, all those D really can skate when they’re in the lineup. You’ve got Johnny [Boychuk] coming on too, in that sense. [In Game 4] we got Adam [McQuaid]. I don’t how often we’re going to see that like last night from Adam, but I’ll take it when he does it.”