Fire-when-ready strategy working well for Bruins
The Bruins rolled up a whopping 38-12 shot advantage in their 4-1 win over the Jets Saturday.
It was their largest shot differential (+26) in a game this season and added to a trend this month that has seen the Bruins compile an impressive 292-190 shot lead over the last eight games.
Are they intentionally driving more rubber to the net the last three weeks, or is it simply a reflection that, most nights, they’re pressing play in their opponent’s end of the ice?
“I’d say it’s a little bit of everything,” said coach Claude Julien, whose club was off Monday, a day of rest prior to facing the Blues Tuesday night at the Garden. “I think the fact that the pace of our game is quicker, we’re able to attack a lot better than we have, and we are able to create those chances.’’
The Bruins are averaging 32.3 shots on net through 18 games, ranked behind only the defending Stanley Cup champion Penguins (32.9) and the recharged Maple Leafs (32.6).
Also encouraging, they rank No. 5 in the league for allowing the fewest shots per game (27.2). Best in the league: San Jose (25.7). Overall, it’s a differential of 5.1 more shots per game than their opponents.
“Our movement in the offensive zone is better between the forwards and the D’s,” Julien said. “I know last year we did that fairly well in the latter part of the season. We started to get our guys to move a little bit more.
“I think last year we averaged over thirtysomething shots, anyway, but this year it is up a little bit more. I don’t think we’ve asked guys necessarily to shoot more, but we have been able to create more opportunities to shoot the puck.”
Over the full 82 games last season, the Bruins ranked fourth in the league in shots per game (32.0). But they allowed 30.4, a difference of 1.6 per game.
Backup goalie Anton Khudobin, assigned to Providence over the weekend, went 1-0-1 and made 56 saves in his two starts. He stopped 34 in a 5-4 shootout win vs. Springfield Saturday, and followed with 22 stops Sunday in a 4-3 shootout loss to Hartford. It’s likely Khudobin will be recalled to the varsity and back up Tuukka Rask against the Blues, a move expected to be followed by the return of Zane McIntyre to the AHL . . . Rask is expected to make his sixth straight start Tuesday. He was denied his fourth shutout of the season when Adam Lowry scored for the Jets with 2:40 to go in the third period Saturday. Over his last five starts, Rask has given up five goals on 111 shots, a .955 save percentage.