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Two-Way Performance Powers Bruins To Complete Victory Over Canucks

Goals from four different scorers and a shutout from Tuukka Rask propel the B's to their 4th straight win

by Michael Tolvo @NHLBruins / BostonBruins.com

BOSTON - The Bruins entered Tuesday night's game against the upstart Vancouver Canucks looking for their fourth consecutive win. The Black and Gold left the contest with a dominant 60-minute effort and two points.

"I really liked everybody's compete tonight," said Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy. "I think we were the better team and we're full value for the two points." 

Cassidy could sense the B's were in a good place at the teams morning skate at Warrior Ice Arena.

"I think this morning we were a little bit, I don't know how to describe it, in a good place, in a good mood, good energy," said Cassidy. "We just were fighting the puck a little bit, and it translated a bit tonight. We stuck with it…I thought we played the right way in the third for the most part."

Video: Coach Bruce Cassidy speaks to media about home win 

Two Way Terrific

While the Bruins received offensive contributions from four different scorers, the two-way play was the biggest standout from the victory.

"That was one of the best checking games all over the ice I remember," said netminder Tuukka Rask. "We took their time and space away and they didn't have too many chances from the slot or anywhere else. I think everybody checked well and defended well. And that turned into offense. That's great to see when we win 4-0 and it was a great checking game."

 Video: Rask speaks with media after his shutout performance

Tuukka Rask's third shutout of the season and 48th of the his career was an indicator of the team's play.

 "When we have a shut-out, it's usually a good sign of how the forwards and defensemen and we play as a group of five," said forward Sean Kuraly. "When we play defense as a group of five I think we're hard to beat, hard to score on, hard to get into the hard areas of the ice and I think that's how we want to play moving forward."

The strong two-way play has been evident during the Bruins recent success.

"There's been a stretch of five or six games now, I think Vegas at home, I thought we did a good job with that," said Cassidy. "Pittsburgh at home, against a good offensive team, we did a good job. We're taking a lot more value in that part of the game, and some of it is getting the balance in the lines so that they're fresh, getting everyone involved."

The Bruins have recorded four consecutive victories, including wins in each game since the return from the break. 

"It's nice to start off that way after a long break and get a few wins under your belt," said Charlie Coyle, who had a pair of points in the win over Vancouver. "They're not really flooky either. We are doing the right things and that's a good sign coming out of the break.

"A lot of teams will slowly have to build their game back up, a little sloppy, you see it in spurts, maybe, but we do a pretty good job in correcting that stuff and realizing it right away so we can turn the tide and come back, be more crisp, have that focus and we need that when we're coming off those breaks, so it's been a good start. We have a long way to go but we take it game by game and I think that's the way to go about it."

The B's are seeing the results of their good habits built as a collective unit. 

"No matter who's in there we know that we play a responsible brand of hockey and we take a lot of pride in our D zone," said defenseman Charlie McAvoy. "That's player one through twenty-five. It's always really good to get excited on the bench when you see a forward make a good play, a good defensive play, a good dot line. There were tons of guys tonight who made great plays." 

Video: McAvoy speaks with media following Tuesday's win

Coyle Breaks Through

Flanked by speedsters Sean Kuraly and Anders Bjork, Charlie Coyle stood out in the B's win. The 27-year-old netted the games opening tally, and was involved in a number of high-danger chances throughout the contest. The goal marked his first in eight games.

"You just stay with it," said Coyle of his mindset. "You always kind of play the right way and feeling good, you can't find that goal. Its second, third, fourth efforts around the net, usually it's some type of rebound or second whack at it and the first one was exactly that. You just need to have the mindset to stick with it. Just knowing that your game will pay off when you're playing the right way."

 Video: Forward Charlie Coyle address media after Tuesday win

The goal was not without controversy, as the Canucks challenged for offsides, and many in the building and on the Vancouver bench believed the play would be overturned. 

Charlie McAvoy took the puck in the neutral zone and patiently waited for his teammate Sean Kuraly to exit the offensive end. With Kuraly tagging up on the blueline, McAvoy pushed the play back into enemy territory ahead of the game's first goal. 

"When I looked at it, I thought, 'Geez, that looks like it's offsides," said Cassidy. "But Charlie [McAvoy] didn't touch the puck until [Sean] Kuraly had cleared, so that got clarified quickly on the bench when we looked at it the second time. The first time, we could tell Sean was still in the zone but we hadn't touched the puck yet, so I was a little surprised they challenged it, but that's the way it goes."

Kuraly was behind McAvoy on the play, but the young defender's impressive awareness on the play enabled the Bruins to stay onside.

"Kind of out of my peripherals there, I thought [Sean] Kuraly had tagged [up]," said McAvoy. "I tried to straddle the blue there for as long as I could until [Sean] Kuraly came over, I'm going to have to watch it to see how close it was. To my understanding just tried to not touch it until he was there and ended up with a goal."

Kuraly's Return

Bruce Cassidy made the decision to hold Sean Kuraly out of Sunday's game against the Minnesota Wild to try and create some urgency in the young forwards game. In his return against Vancouver, the 27-year-old speedster made an impact in the victory.

"I liked it a lot better," said Cassidy of Kuraly's performance. "He had the puck, he was assertive, trying to get to the net…I thought he got in shooting lanes. Sometimes freeing up and going to the wing allows you to do some of that; you're not worried about what's going on behind me or first back in the zone. It's something we've talked about with Sean - do we toggle him, or try him over there? I thought it worked out well tonight for him and he showed the player he can be for us."

The Ohio-native kept things simple when asked about his return to the lineup.

"Obviously good to get back and be around the team and just give me a little jump," said Kuraly. "I think and just wanted to play it simple and play hard."

Video: Kuraly addresses media after Tuesday's win over VAN

The game was one of the first times Kuraly has lined up on the wing next to Charlie Coyle, and the duo showed promise.

"We haven't played a whole lot together," said Coyle. "But you just know he's a pretty straight line player. He's got a ton of speed. He can protect the puck really well, and you know he's gonna take that puck to the net. So, you can kind of read off him pretty well like that.

"It's nice to get rewarded when you play with a new linemate or two, and you get things going right away. But, I think as long as we play the right way, we do those right things. I like playing with him, and it's a work in progress. We want to keep building that, if that's what it is tomorrow."

Opposing Views

Following the win over the Canucks, the Bruins head to Chicago for the second night of a back-to-back against the Blackhawks. Chicago was also in action on Tuesday night, falling the Minnesota 3-2 in overtime. The Blackhawks will enter Wednesday contest having won six of their previous eight games, and currently sit three points out of the second wild card spot in the West.

Up front, Chicago is led by offensively by nine-time All-Star Patrick Kane. The 31-year-old winger leads the team in goals (25), assists (40) and points (65). The 31-year-old winger is tied for 9th in the NHL in points, and 8th in assists. In net, Robin Lehner and Corey Crawford split the goaltending duties. Lehner leads the way with 15 wins, a 2.86 GAA and a .922 save percentage. 

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