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Bruins getting offensive with the defense

Posted By Mike Petraglia On April 24, 2012 @ 10:21 am In General | No Comments

For all of the talk – and deservedly so – about Patrice Bergeron [1] finally getting nominated as a finalist for the Selke award for best defensive forward in the game, it’s ironic that the offensive play of the Bruins’ defensemen is a key reason they even find themselves in a Game 7 Wednesday night against the Caps.

“Yeah, they’€™ve played well all series, but also I think all year and it’€™s just another aspect of our game that shows right there that we’€™re deep offensively, but also we’€™re deep on defense and throughout the lineup,” Bergeron said Monday. “They’€™ve been helping us in this series a lot to just get offense, but also defensively to stop their skilled guys and can’€™t say enough about all of them back there. They all do their job and they all take pride in it.”

Everyone knows about the abilities of Zdeno Chara [2] and Dennis Seidenberg [3] in helping to contain Alex Ovechkin [4], Alexander Semin and Nicklas Backstrom. And everyone knows that both of them bring cannons from the point with their slap shots. What fans – and even the Caps – may not have counted on was the offensive contributions of Johnny Boychuk [5] and Andrew Ference [6].

Boychuck had one of his patented “Johnny Rockets” on a power play to tie Saturday’s Game 5 at 3-3, when time was running down. Sunday, it appeared for all the world that Ference – on “Earth Day” – had given the Bruins the game-winning goal in regulation when he pinched down and scooped up a rebound off a Tyler Seguin [7] shot and put it in the net.

Earlier in the game, it was Ference who smartly read the rush of Patrice Bergeron [1] and Rich Peverley [8] out of the offensive zone circle draw toward the slot and fired a shot that Peverley tipped past Braden Holtby for the game’s first goal.

“I think he’€™s done a great job,” B’s coach Claude Julien [9] said of Ference. “We’€™ve always liked Andrew’€™s battle and also for his size and also for the fact that he certainly has good versatility. He moves well, he skates well and again, we keep encouraging our D’€™s to support the attack and go out the ice and he’€™s done a great job of that.”

There is a risk, of course, like when Chara and Seidenberg get caught too far up ice as was the case on Capitals’ goals in Games 3 and 6. In Game 6, the Capitals tied the game, 2-2, when Jason Chimera got behind Seidenberg, who had a broken skate, and beat Tim Thomas [10].

“Our D’€™s seem to be finding a little bit more balance in this series as we get near the end, between jumping in [and] supporting, and also being reliable defensively we can’€™t forget the fact that this is a team in Washington that’€™s got some guys that can score goals and they love to blow the zone quickly. So we’€™ve got to be careful we don’€™t get our D’€™s caught up the ice all the time, but he did a great job [Sunday] at identifying that opening and going up the ice and giving us that lead.”

The Bruins will be relying on that again in Game 7 as they look for every advantage.


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URL to article: http://bigbadblog.weei.com/sports/boston/hockey/bruins/2012/04/24/bruins-getting-offensive-with-the-defense/

URLs in this post:

[1] Patrice Bergeron: http://media.weei.com/hockey/patrice-bergeron.htm

[2] Zdeno Chara: http://media.weei.com/hockey/zdeno-chara.htm

[3] Dennis Seidenberg: http://media.weei.com/hockey/dennis-seidenberg.htm

[4] Alex Ovechkin: http://media.weei.com/hockey/alex-ovechkin.htm

[5] Johnny Boychuk: http://media.weei.com/hockey/johnny-boychuk.htm

[6] Andrew Ference: http://media.weei.com/hockey/andrew-ference.htm

[7] Tyler Seguin: http://media.weei.com/hockey/tyler-seguin.htm

[8] Rich Peverley: http://media.weei.com/hockey/rich-peverley.htm

[9] Claude Julien: http://media.weei.com/hockey/claude-julien.htm

[10] Tim Thomas: http://media.weei.com/hockey/tim-thomas.htm

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