BOSTON MA - DECEMBER 18: Andrew Ference #21 of the Boston Bruins is congratulated by teammates Adam McQuaid #54 and Brad Marchand #63 after Ference scored a goal in the first period against the Washington Captials on December 18 2010 at the TD Garden in Boston Massachusetts. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Most teams are measured by how many goals they put on the board. While the Bruins have that aspect included in their measuring stick, the defense has not only been a backbone, but have stepped up from the blueline and produced when they were needed the most.
The best defense is a good offense.
In many cases, that phrase does hold true. After all, if one team scores more than another, they win. Offense prevails.
However, in the past couple of games for the Bruins, the best offense has been the defense. In the last three games, four of the nine goals by the B’s have come from the defensive pairings, including two games that have been decided by just one goal.
Starting on Thursday against the Columbus Blue Jackets, the Bruins came out and scored only one goal in regulation, courtesy of defenseman Adam McQuaid. His wrister through traffic in the second period tied the game at one a piece and allowed the Bruins to get to a shootout and earn the eventual win with a goal from David Krejci.
The next game against the Islanders, the Bruins were back to blowing out teams, and two of their six goals came from the defense. Andrew Ference and Zdeno Chara netted their first and second goals of the season respectively.
And finally, there was last night against the Montreal Canadiens. So far this season, neither team has blown out the other, and last night was no different. But once again, the defense stepped up and Ference scored his second goal of the season and second in two games to give the Bruins an early lead. Boston took that game 1-0 and picked up second place in the Eastern Conference, and first in the Division with that one important goal.
Despite the offense that seems to be coming from the blueline, the defense is surprisingly not waning because of it. Both the pairings and the goaltenders between the pipes have held their own, and even in the tough games, they come out strong. The past two games have been shutouts for the Bruins, and in three games, have only allowed one goal.
The depth of the team goes far beyond the four lines, and goes as far into the defensive pairings as well. Even Adam McQuaid who was out with injuries at the beginning of the season, and Ference who returned just a few games ago are contributing when the offensive regulars are nowhere to be seen.
Even when the B’s don’t chase goalies from net or score more goals then some football teams score points in a game, the team is still focused and is so in sequence with everyone else on the team, that when they succeed, it doesn’t come as a surprise to anyone.
"Well we know what our strengths are. I think we have a real good grasp on what we’re good at, and I think that’s a real battle for some teams, is just first of all figuring out what works for them," Ference said. "So I think we have that going for us where everybody’s right on the same page.
"It’s not a mystery of how we have success. And so in games that are a little tough and you’re not quite on it, at least everybody knows. You’re not searching for answers and everybody knows what parts of the game have to be picked up. So I think the last couple of games have been a bit like that where people realize what’s going on on our team. So we’re able to lean on our system a lot and lean on some of the technical stuff. If we have that, we can stay in those ugly kind of games. It’s when we bring the extra kind of juice and whatnot. That's when we really get over the top and have the great games."