Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports

Bruins 3, Islanders 1: Resolve powers Bruins to yet another win

Ty Anderson
December 09, 2017 - 11:37 pm

Jake DeBrusk made his first shift after a whopping 17 minutes in penalties count.

Back on the ice after sitting out the final 15:57 of the second period and opening six minutes plus of the third frame for defending Charlie McAvoy after a heavy-but-clean hit from New York forward Casey Cizikas, DeBrusk stormed off the bench, received a puck from Torey Krug, spun and rocketed a puck through the Isles’ Jaroslav Halak.

The energetic DeBrusk immediately let the energy he had saved up during that mandatory break out with a goal celebration that practically made its way to center ice.

“It was a bit of a different scenario to say the least,” DeBrusk admitted. “It was something that happened and I honestly didn’t try to get an instigator or anything like that, you know, it was just one of those things you can’t control and I watched the period in here and just felt a little out of sorts and just wanted to get back in action and wanted to make the first shift a good one and was lucky enough to cash in on a goal.”

And in a game that finished as a tooth-and-nail, grind-your-teeth 3-1 win for the B’s, who have now rattled off wins in eight of their last 10 games, it was yet another example of what Cassidy’s youthful team can bring to the ice on a nightly basis. Even when temperatures rise and take some of their most important pieces out of the equation.

In addition to DeBrusk’s penalty, the Bruins lost Brad Marchand for five minutes in the third period of a one-goal game due to an interference penalty against John Tavares. They also lost David Backes to a five-minute major and game misconduct when it was ruled that he headbutted Andrew Ladd in a post-whistle scrum midway through in the third. (Backes, for the record, said he “vehemently disagreed” with such a call.)

But this team never seemed to crack or miss a beat against an Islander club that arrived to Boston with wins in 16 of their 28 games and six of their last 10 games overall.

In fact, the Bruins seemed to really excel when assessed on both five-minute majors.

The Bruins found a way to successfully dig in and make the first five-minute penalty Marchand a mere 1:12 power play for the Isles, as David Krejci drew a tripping penalty against Calvin de Haan just 12 seconds before the Isles were set to go on the advantage. And when the Backes major became potentially painful for the Bruins as Ladd exited the box after his roughing penalty, the Bruins surrendered just two shots on goal and were credited with four takeaways (from four different skaters, too).

“Those majors ended up being kind of three-minute power plays for them and then we draw a penalty. We cut it in half twice,” Zdeno Chara said. “That’s something that shows guys are working hard even away from the puck. Even when we are shorthanded we are capable of being dangerous and that’s what happened we drew some penalties.”

“We kept our resolve; it’s a good word,” Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy said after the win, which was sealed with a Danton Heinen empty-net goal at 19:18. “I thought we were really stiff in the third and our penalty kill has been good all year and we needed it to be tonight in those stretches and we were able to draw a penalty on one of the majors. These are games you look back on, when you’re able to kill those for two key guys in our lineup in the third there that we lose for stretches. So, someone else just has to step up and [Sean] Kuraly and Heinen played a little more maybe down the stretch and if those two guys are here. So, it’s a good word, I like that.”

The group effort is also something that Cassidy -- whose team is one Adam McQuaid and a Ryan Spooner away from dealing with a full deck for the first time this season -- is finally now able to see from an undeniably battle-tested group.

“I’m actually getting to know our team that we were hoping to ice from the start of the year,” Cassidy offered. “So a bit of it the run has to do with having your good players in the lineup every night and they’re playing well, and that makes a coach’s job easier.”

It would also make Cassidy’s life easier if the Bruins don’t lose three different forwards for three separate five-minute spans, but consider it another test passed.

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