On Saturday, Jake DeBrusk and Danton Heinen scored for the Boston Bruins in a 4-3 loss to the Toronto Maples Leafs at Scotiabank Arena. Although not the result the Bruins wanted, they did bank a point. In large part due to their secondary scorers stepping up. On Tuesday night, it was Brett Ritchie who scored the game-winner, while Par Lindholm snapped home the insurance marker in a 4-2 Bruins victory over the Leafs. The Bruins collected three of a possible four points and did it with more than just their top line.
“Yeah, he’s a good pro,” Bruce Cassidy said regarding Lindholm Tuesday night. Lindholm’s first goal as a Bruin came against his former team, the only team he had scored a goal for in the NHL prior to Tuesday. The Bruins have been a one-line team through the first portion of the season. David Pastrnak, the NHL goals leader, is tied for second in the league in points (17). He’s been leading the way.
The Bruins are at their best when they are a four-line team. That is especially true when they hold a lead in games.
“We tend to be a four-line team when [we] have a lead as much as possible so that probably explains the minutes.” At even strength, the Bruins four lines were relatively even in ice time. Although the game was tied until the third period, it was a “heavy special teams night” according to Cassidy. Lindholm is a key penalty killer, while Heinen is a mainstay on the Bruins second powerplay unit. This makes the difference in total time-on-ice from Tuesday.
When a team is in a funk, players tend to cheat to create offense. Cassidy acknowledged that while he wants to see some secondary scoring, it needs to be done the right way.
“We were kind of gassed and they made a decision to stay on the ice going up the ice, and then they don’t have it coming back, and I think those two lines did a little of that, and I know why,” Cassidy said. “They want to get rewarded. It looked like something was going to happen offensively; they want to get on the scoresheet. I get all that, you know, the secondary scoring, but got to do it in the right way, so part of that played in to [the line shuffling].”
The Bruins have played the right way in recent games. It’s led to depth players stepping up and making a difference in key spots in the game. It earned the Bruins three points in their last two games. Players stepping up is something the Bruins know well, it is something they thrive on.
“They recognize when the game’s on the line when they need to step it up. They’re pretty good at doing that,” Cassidy remarked about his team.
They did it on Saturday when Heinen stepped up. They did it on Tuesday when Ritchie and Lindholm stepped up. They’ll need to continue doing it to keep pace in the Atlantic Division.