The Bruins bounced back from two straight blowout losses with a 4-1 win over the Rangers Sunday afternoon. Here are three key takeaways from the game:
1. Message received
After losing four of their last five games, including back-to-back blowout losses, Bruce Cassidy’s message to his players was clear — recent play has been unacceptable and not everyone has been carrying their weight.
Following a few changes to the bottom of the lineup, the Bruins took the ice with purpose and were a much harder team to play against.
From the opening shift, Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand set the tone with a couple physical hits on Ryan Lindgren — who got the Bruins’ attention after roughing up David Pastrnak a few times Friday night.
It was more of a complete game effort for the Bruins as they led the Rangers in faceoffs (55-45%), shots on goal (36-21), hits (43-37) and blocked shots (16-12).
There’s no secret to success—it’s having the willingness to out-work opponents. While it wasn’t a perfect game for the black and gold, their compete level was where it needed to be.
The challenge will be playing every game with the same compete level.
2. Coyle steps up
It hasn’t been the best offensive start to the season for Charlie Coyle, as he has been snake-bitten for much of the season.
However, after netting three goals in his last four games, including two on Sunday, it looks like Coyle has turned the corner.
With the game scoreless in the first period, Coyle trucked down the left wing boards and made a finesse backhand to forehand move to get around K'Andre Miller for his fourth goal of the season.
It was the type of power move Coyle is capable of performing and it’s often a wonder why he isn’t able to impose his size and skill more often.
Coyle would eventually add his second goal of the game in the final minute as his empty-netter would ice the contest.
3. McAvoy continues to grow offensively
Following a two-point performance (1G, 1A) Sunday at Madison Square Garden, Charlie McAvoy now has 15 points in 19 games this season.
After spending much of his first three seasons learning defensively under the guidance of Zdeno Chara, McAvoy is now taking his game to the next level offensively all on his own.
There’s a reason why McAvoy’s all-around game was compared to that of Drew Doughty when he was drafted by the Bruins.
There’s a level of offense that McAvoy has the ability to achieve that most NHL defensemen don't.
With the departure of Chara and Torey Krug, McAvoy is now assuming an even greater role on the Bruins blue line and is taking full advantage of the opportunity.
McAvoy’s skating, vision, hand-eye coordination, passing and physicality allow him to be an elite, three-zone defenseman and he is showcasing his Norris potential on a nightly basis this season.