Nothing beats the atmosphere of a playoff game, the creative signs held up during stoppages in play, the thunderous roars around the arena and the fans. At the end of the day, it’s the fans that make the quest for the cup possible. Last night, the Boston Bruins skated one game closer to the final result. Taking a 2-0 series lead against the Rangers, Boston gave their fans everything they were looking for with a 5-2 win.
As is customary for a playoff run, injuries occur. An injury for one player is an opportunity for another and the young defensemen in Boston have stepped up to the challenge. With the current loss of line-up regulars Dennis Seidenberg and Andrew Ference, it’s been the mixed combination of Dougie Hamilton, Matt Bartkowski and newest recall Torey Krug that have lent an unexpected depth to the Bruins blue-line.
Bartkowski has been filling the physicality quotient almost every shift since his playoff goal in Game 7 of the unexpected series win over Toronto. But the real spark for the Bruins has come from 5′ 9″ defensemen Torey Krug. The Michigan native has recorded two goals in his first two playoff games, showcasing skill and an offensive style of play.
“Yeah, that’s a skill that sometimes you work on it after practice,” said Krug regarding his goal. “You don’t have to work on it too much. It’s just a couple extra reps here or there at the end, picking up pucks with your feet. So, it’s just something that I try to do, and I was lucky enough that it bounced my way.”
During any game, it’s all about just playing your game. Despite an added pressure of a playoff tilt, the mentality needs to remain the same.
“I told him, ‘don’t be afraid to make mistakes and play your game,’” said Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien upon Krugs’ arrival in Boston. “I said, ‘You know, I know how good you are, I know what you can bring to this team, just go out there and do it.’”
It’s been the defensive units that have yet again lifted Boston, and not just the newer additions. Blueline regular Johnny Boychuk scored his third goal of the playoffs, but still gave credit to the continued success of the young guns.
“They’ve been amazing. They’re making a case for themselves to stay in the lineup and that’s what you need,” said Boychuk regarding the newer defensemen. “You want to stay in the lineup and the way that they’re playing, they’ve been playing very, very good and responsible, and even in the D-zone I’ve been watching they’ve been battling hard and doing the right things and that’s what you need.”
It hasn’t been just the defense appreciating each other, but the team as a whole has noticed them stepping up their game. Forward Brad Marchand, who also recorded a goal in the 5-2 win was quick to give praise.
“Yeah, it’s huge the way they’re stepping up and getting goals,” said Marchand. “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, it’s very big for us right now and we’re going to need that to continue when we’re in New York.”
Winning two games at home to begin the series is a blessing, but now the hard work really begins, winning two more in a crowd that won’t have the same energy supporting you. The Bruins will look to keep the momentum going in New York during Games 3 and 4 on Tuesday and Thursday night respectively.