Special to BostonSportsJournal.com
Ian Moran played in over 500 NHL games, including 66 in the postseason, in 15 years as a defenseman with the Penguins, Bruins, and Ducks before retiring in 2008. The Acton native attended Belmont Hill and Boston College before being a sixth-round pick of the Penguins in 1990. The Duxbury resident is currently the head New England scout for Neutral Zone, a first-of-its-kind hockey scouting and news site which identifies, ranks and profiles NCAA and Ontario Hockey League (OHL) prospects from across North America. Ian will be breaking down each Bruins playoff game for BostonSportsJournal.com.
WHY THE BRUINS WON GAME 2
It’s easy to say the Bruins won because of their top line, but it’s true. Toronto doesn’t have a matchup that can play with them shift for shift. Patrice Bergeron is the best two-way forward in hockey (and it’s not close). His smarts allow David Pastrnak and Brad Marchand to use their creativity and speed to do things that Toronto can’t match.
THREE OTHER THINGS THAT JUMPED OUT
Toronto is getting dominated in front of both nets. They are consistently on the wrong side of the puck and certainly have not had the will or compete to get to the right side of it.
David Backes has been a monster on the forecheck. He has Toronto’s defense giving the puck away because they know he’s going to punish them. A tough veteran and an important piece so far.
B’s D underrated: Before the series, people were talking about Toronto’s transition game and the difficulty the Bruins were going to have, but Torey Krug, Matt Grzelcyk and Charlie McAvoy have been great. I know Pastrnak has had an incredible two games but, in my opinion, Krug has been just as impactful.
THREE UP FOR BRUINS
Power play: Joe Sacco has been a huge asset for the PP. Sounds crazy, Right?? Well, he made his living being a defensive forward and a penalty killer, so the Bruins’ assistant knows what’s hard to defend and the Bruins’ PP is entirely different. Think Tampa or Washington or Winnipeg … everyone in the building knows where the shots are designed to come from and what hand those shooters are (Righties if you weren’t sure). Think Bruins PP... Where’s Krug going to be? Well, he’s a left shot D who fired a rocket pass from the right goal line on Jake DeBrusk’s goal to make it 2-0. Ok, next PP. Krug is working the left mid-wall with a right-shot Pastrnak on the point. This means neither guy is a one-timer so Toronto’s top right penalty killer over pursues Krug, leaving Pastrnak 25 feet to get his shot through, Rick Nash wins the rebound battle & the game is 4-0.
Transition game: The Bruins’ transition game is like nothing else in the East. If you’re watching the other series, it’s very obvious that the defensemen are waiting for their forwards to move and create passing lanes. Not so much with the Bs. All six d-men get the puck and move. They don’t just go North & South. They’ll go left to right and allow their forwards to gain speed coming up behind them. Toronto might expect that with David Krejci or Brad Marchand, but how many times did you see the Bruins’ D take ice and hit a delaying Tim Schaller or Noel Acciari coming up full speed on Toronto’s players who were standing still? It’s got to be a blast to play that way.
Managed minutes: Meaning