In the first three games, the Bruins’ defense was quite suspect to the speed and skill of the Canadiens. In Game 4, the Bruins blue-line layered up, and in turn, Tuukka Rask had his best performance of the series.
There were a couple of breakaways here and there Thrusday night, including Brian Gionta’s in the second period that was stopped by Rask. But for the most part, Zdeno Chara, Dougie Hamilton, Johnny Boychuk, Kevan Miller, Torey Krug and Matt Bartkowski – despite his holding penalty in the second period – held steady giving the Habs little room to work with. Boychuk and Chara had a combined seven blocked shots, while Patrice Bergeron as usual helped out in his own end and Rask’s rebound control led to very few second chance opportunities.
That is a far cry from Game 3 where the Bruins defense left Rask out to dry allowing PK Subban – out of the penalty box – and Dale Weise to score on their breakaways. And it’s why they were able to get the 1-0 overtime shutout victory in Game 4 Thursday night at the Bell Centre to even the series at 2-2.
“He was great. He made those big saves when it mattered on the breakaway and a couple of back door plays on the power play,” Torey Krug said about Tuukka Rask after the overtime win Thursday night. “When he does that, the confidence spreads throughout the team, and it’s very important to the team and you saw that tonight.”
Aside from the third period where they were outshot 13-7, the Bruins were pretty strong in their own end in front of a hostile environment. They got off to a pretty good start – something that they were looking to do heading into the game – and that confidence grew as the game progressed.
From highlight reel goals to blocking shots and great goaltending from Carey Price, there’s a good reason why the Canadiens and their fans think they deserve to at least be ahead 3-1 in the series. Instead, with the series tied through four games, the series is now a best of three.
Those highlight reel goals are good for packages on SportsCentre, NHL Network, Hockey Night in Canada, NBCSN and other numerous local and national TV outlets. But at the end of the day, good defense and good goaltending are what wins games.
The Habs got that for most of the series with the exception of third period collapses in Games 1 and 2. The Bruins finally got that memo in Game 4, but can they continue that over to a crucial Game 5 Saturday night at the TD Garden.
Thursday night was a good start, and even if good defense and goaltending results in a low scoring game, that will be quite alright for the Black and Gold.
Relive what the Bruins had to say about their Game 4 victory Thursday night.