Derek Forbort was not the sexiest pick-up off-season in the Bruins summer camp. Such is the fate of the home defender.
But when the Bs somehow found themselves in a one-goal game with the San Jose Sharks late in the third period at TD Garden Sunday — a competition they never seemed to be in danger of losing before then — we saw a bit of why B’s management gave him a three-year deal. After a couple of deflection goals by the Sharks in 49 seconds made it a 4-3 match with 5:41 to go, the Bruins found themselves in survival mode and Forbort took the lead. He had already scored his first goal as Bruin — a long-range gift that avoided starting goalkeeper Adin Hill — and added an assist, but this was one of the situations he was hired for.
Away, who has had some ups and downs in the first three games of the season, played 2:12 of the last three minutes and was a big part of ensuring that another goal did not come past Linus Ullmark, as the Bs have their first straight win (a modest two-player) of the season.
“He has to play in those situations. He’s a good guy to clear the front of the net. I thought he handled the puck well. It went up to the strikers and they could have done a better job of giving us a little more breathing space, to be completely honest with you, ”said coach Bruce Cassidy. “We made a couple of head scrapers that we would normally put away. Made it interesting with their goalkeeper out. But he had a good fight tonight. He clearly moved the puck a little cleaner and was rewarded for hitting the net. But, yes, that’s where he’s supposed to be good for us. ”
Along with the goal and an assist, Forbort recorded three blocks in 20:31 of ice time. The points were neat, but the successful close-out is what gets Forbort under pressure.
“I love it,” Forbort said. “When I was out there with a one-lead, the goalkeeper pulled, it’s my favorite time to play hockey.”
Gone has quickly gained respect for his new teammates.
“He has been amazing from the first day he has been here, in space, outside the ice, he comes out really well with everyone. He’s a great guy, “said Brad Marchand. “And then his game on the ice, he’s one of those guys you hate to play against, really solid defensively. He plays really good games out of the D-zone. And he also goes top mail. Glad to have him here. ”
A few more observations from B’s 4-3 victory:
• For the second straight game, B’s first line put them in an early lead. This time it came on a blitzkrieg of a first shift in which David Pastrnak discarded Patrice Bergeron behind the net before the captain fed Marchand in the castle to the goal just 28 seconds inside the match. Pastrnak also added a one-hour power-play goal from a Bergeron feed.
But the group also left a few potential goals on the vine in the third period that would have made life a little easier. Standing all alone in front, Pastrnak called the crossbar behind James Reimer, who replaced the inefficient hill in the second, and Marchand waved a move at the top of the fold.
Although Marchand has 4-3-7 in total through four games, he is still not happy with his game.
“I just think sometimes things go your way and you get jumps at the right time. In fact, I do not think I have played my best hockey, ”said Marchand. “Regardless of the points, I think I could be better. I could handle pucks better and I have felt tired a few fights. I still think I can be better than what I have been. Points, that’s part of it, of course, but I want to be happy with where I play and how I play, and I’m not entirely happy enough with how things have been. ”
• Linus Ullmark won his second victory in as many starts. He had little chance of any of the two third goals tipping goals, but he allowed a bad short-side goal in the first period shortly after the Bs had risen 3-0. That kept the sharks in the game. But Ullmark made a total of 23 saves for the victory.
“The two deflections, I do not know that you can mistake the goalkeeper on them. That, of course, is a weak goal, their first. Short side, you want it, ”Cassidy said. “He made some good saves on the powerplay, and our powerplay when we broke down, he stops an outburst. Not a very busy night for him, and that’s what he sometimes has to get used to with our team. When we are good defensively, we can do it to stay in the game. ”
• With Nick Foligno (upper body, IR), Anton Blidh (upper body) and Craig Smith (a presumed lower body injury) all inaccessible, the Bs had to make some predatory moves. They sent John Moore, who cleared dispensations at the start of the season, to Providence and called in Jack Studnicka and Oskar Steen.
Steen picked up his first NHL point when his deflected pass put Jake DeBrusk up for a left-wing snap chasing Hill. Steen, who played with DeBrusk and Erik Haula on the third line, later turned down a good shooting opportunity, but played reasonably well.
“The puck followed him tonight. He must learn to shoot the puck … He postponed. Young guys, at some point they have to attack the net and be selfish when they puck on their stick. He will have to go through that, “said Cassidy. “But he worked hard and he had good places.”
Studnicka were on the ice for a goal against, but had an otherwise uneventful day centering a fourth line with the wings Trent Frederic and Karson Kuhlman. In 11:10 of ice time he had a shot on goal.
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