So far this season, the Bruins have again been carried by familiar faces. Their top trio has been one of the league’s best while David Pastrnak has virtually been unstoppable. As of late, however, this team has been besieged by injuries, forcing young players to step up. While the Bruins have struggled with key players out, they have also received scoring from some unlikely sources. For head coach Bruce Cassidy, it has been a welcoming sign as his defensemen have stepped up offensively.
Over the past month, a Bruins defenseman has at least one goal in five of their nine games. The Bruins have gotten goals from everywhere as Torey Krug, Zdeno Chara, Connor Clifton, and Matt Grzelcyk have scored in that span. On Tuesday night, the blueline carried the offense as Grzelcyk and Clifton combined for three of the Bruins’ five goals.
Additionally, coming into November, Clifton and Grzelcyk had yet to record a goal in the first month of the season. Without the services of Torey Krug, they have stepped up, making the Boston defensemen a force to be reckoned with in the offensive zone. It is a trend that the Bruins will hope to continue when Krug returns later this week.
Furthermore, through 21 games this season, the blue line has combined for 12 goals. Unexpectedly, Zdeno Chara leads all Boston defensemen with four goals after recording only five last season. Brandon Carlo, who is not known for his offense, already has seven points after finishing with 10 last year. They have been joined by Connor Clifton, who, after going scoreless in 19 games as a rookie last season, has two goals this month.
Coming into the 2019-20 campaign, one area the Bruins were looking to improve on was their secondary scoring. In last year’s postseason run, if an opponent could shut down their top line, the Black and Gold became easier to beat. So far, the Bruins have been able to avoid that as someone different contributes every night.
Although the Bruins have struggled to close out games over the past week, the variety of scoring has been a welcoming sign. The Bruins defensemen won’t be expected to carry the offense all year, but they will need to contribute more like they have this month.
The return of Krug will only make it easier, as he currently has the fourth-most points on the team and is deadly on the man advantage. As the Bruins look to return to the postseason, the contributions they receive from their defensemen will be key and provide a needed a boost.