What we learned in Bruins' impressive 4-0 win over the Canadiens


Here’s what we learned in the Bruins' decisive and impressive 4-0 win over the Canadiens in Montreal: 

1) Interesting that reports out of Montreal had Bruce Cassidy holding a 10-minute pregame team meeting.
It probably isn’t much of a surprise after there was almost zero intensity in an important Sunday loss to the Buffalo Sabres at home, but it was instructive to see how his players responded after the rare - for Cassidy - move of calling out the players for a lack of accountability. It probably wouldn’t have to be done if Zdeno Chara and Patrice Bergeron were around. They're expected to return this week at some point, but sometimes the coach needs to step up and be the voice of leadership when some of the other important voices are absent and unavailable. The win over the Habs pretty much assures that the Bruins are going to get over the hump with their big injuries and get at least Bergeron back while in pretty good playoff position, all things considered. While it did work against the Habs on Monday night, the Bruins coach also knows that he needs to be selective when to call those kinds of meetings. Having too many loses some of the effectiveness of the strong message being conveyed.

2) Charlie McAvoy had his best game since coming back from a concussion.
Perhaps it was just the right amount of time for him to get his quality skating legs back or it was getting challenged after a couple of so-so defensive games against Pittsburgh and Buffalo. McAvoy was a physical presence throwing his body around. He finished with a couple of assists while making some excellent passes and played No. 1 defenseman-type of hockey at both ends of the ice. Now, it’s going to be up to the D-man, who turns 21 Friday, to continue building on his performance Monday night and keep improving as he works toward peaking in the playoffs. McAvoy has the chance to be a real difference-maker on a nightly basis. Three shot attempts, six hits, a pair of blocked shots and 19:47 of ice time ends up being a solid night’s work.  

3)  Colby Cave's hard work rewarded with goal No. 1.
Cave certainly isn’t going to be a top-six NHL center and it remains to be seen if he’ll even carve out a niche in the league at all. Still, he did get rewarded for his diligence the past few weeks by scoring his first NHL goal. Cave finished with two points and a plus-2 rating along with two shots on net and three hits. He couldn’t have asked for a better setup for the goal than a McAvoy drop-back pass from the goal line that caught the rookie center all alone with the puck in the slot area. Perhaps scoring his first goal will allow him to build some confidence and relax for a bit more offensive production, but I wouldn’t expect any kind of offensive explosions coming from the P-Bruins farmhand after he's filled in ably during the spate of B’s injuries.

*Cave scored his first NHL goal, collected his first multi-point game and packed plenty of hustle and production into his 12 minutes of ice time. Cave may be a guy that returns to the P-Bruins once Patrice Bergeron gets healthy, and if that’s the case then he’ll always have that game vs. Montreal to remember.

*McAvoy finished with 19:47 of ice time, collected a pair of assists with a plus-2 rating and was one of Boston’s most physical players, throwing out six hits and forcing the Canadiens players to pay a price for the puck. It was McAvoy’s best game since coming back from a concussion and a reminder of what a difference-maker he can be.

*Joakim Nordstrom scored the first goal of the game and allowed the Bruins to play as front-runners for the entire game. Nordstrom continues to be a very valuable member of this team.

*Matt Peca was a minus-2 with zero shots on net in eight minutes of ice time. Not only did he not make an impact on the game, he actually made things worse for Montreal most of the time that he was out there.

*Habs defenseman Shea Weber was on the ice for a pair of goals against in 24:01 of ice time and really wasn’t much of a figure in a game where he should have had some kind of influence. He was one of many Habs who didn’t make much of a difference.

*One shot on net and three giveaways in 16:05 of ice time for Jonathan Drouin, who was much better for the Habs the last time that the Bruins visited the Bell Centre. This time he was damned near invisible.  

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