Fresh off a shootout loss on Thursday night to the St. Louis Blues and without a truly skilled ace in the hole for the individual skills competition since Tyler Seguin was shipped to Dallas, it would appear the Bruins are altering their strategies a bit in the extra session.
Bruins coach Claude Julien opted for three forwards and one defenseman on the ice while looking for more offense in overtime, and fully aware Boston has one win in three shootout tries this season. That's a departure from the more conservative choice of two forwards and two defensemen in the OT session.
The players are pretty well aware of their shootout record this season as well, with just about every player outside of Patrice Bergeron struggling with the gimmicky game ender.
“We definitely didn’t want to go in the shootout, especially me. I didn’t feel really comfortable,” said David Krejci. “But I felt like we had an okay game, we had so many shots, we outshot them a lot.
“I feel like we could have scored way more goals and the game could have been over earlier [than overtime]. But we didn’t, and I guess we stuck with it and we found a way to win the game.”
The strategy worked on Saturday afternoon as Milan Lucic, Krejci and Jarome Iginla teamed with Johnny Boychuk to provide the overtime game-winner in a 3-2 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes at TD Garden.
It was a nice, aggressive stretch pass from Boychuk that Iginla with speed entering the offensive zone, and Iginla split two defenders before dropping pass to Krejci for the eventual game-winning score.
That was the kind of offensive punch the B’s coaching staff was looking for while dropping the entire Krejci line on in the ice in OT.
“We’ve practiced that this year when we’ve done our four-on-four. For me, we haven’t been very lucky in shootouts, or we haven’t gotten much out of our shootouts. So I just thought it was important to maybe get a line out there, give us maybe some more offense because of the fact they’re used to playing with each other,” said Julien. “Taking that strategy and having one defenseman there, and making sure a forward always comes back…tonight it paid off.”
It wouldn’t be surprising to see the Bruins start playing a bit more aggressively in overtime as they did on Saturday, and try to force the issue during 4-on-4 play rather than wait around for a shootout that no longer seems to be their friend.