Bruins ride rare depth scoring to 3-0 win over Pittsburgh

Ken Laird
December 16, 2015 - 9:01 pm

[caption id="attachment_54648" align="alignright" width="150"] Max Talbot[/caption] The six players assembled to play on Boston'€™s top-two forward lines Wednesday night had produced 53 goals on the season entering the night'€™s action. The Bruins'€™ bottom-six forwards had managed just 16 markers. When the night was complete, and a 3-0 shutout victory over Pittsburgh was earned, the Bruins had three more tallies logged in the depth department. "Well, that'€™s what you want to see," said Bruins coach Claude Julien after watching goals from Max Talbot and Jimmy Hayes, plus an empty-netter from Ryan Spooner to salt the game away. "€œYou don'€™t expect them to score at the pace that the top two lines are, but you certainly like to see them chip in once in a while. Tonight, it allowed us to win this game [as] those first two goals came from the third and fourth line. You don'€™t want guys playing in other guys'€™ shadows, you want them to be able to be confident enough to play in this league and contribute." For Talbot and Hayes, the goals were an oasis in a desert of scoring drought. Hayes had been mired in a 15-game goal funk, and Talbot hadn'€™t scored in any of his 28 games with the Bruins dating back his acquisition via trade last year. "I think you saw my celebration," Talbot said of his displayed emotion upon giving Boston a 1-0 lead in the first period. "Obviously happiness but also relief. I got a chance to have a two-on-one, just put it in the upper right corner. Felt pretty good when it hit the twine." Then, four minutes into the second period, a Spooner centering pass for a hard-driving Hayes somehow found the scoring zone, with the goal awarded to Hayes and giving Boston a 2-0 edge. "It'€™s been a while, struggling to find the back of the net," Hayes said. "Just keep plugging. It'€™s happened to me before but you want to find a way out of it. You have to go to the net. Just find a way out of it. You don'€™t want to lose sleep, you'€™ve got to be a professional. That'€™s how I'€™m going to be effective, get big, move my feet. Just being hard to play against." Boston'€™s record of late proves that they have been hard to play against as a squad, as they improved to 9-1-3 in their last 13 games played. Their growing cohesion, and attention to detail, is making the difference. "I think as a team we'€™re playing better," said Spooner. "€œIn our own end we'€™re keeping teams to the outside a little bit more. And before, we were getting in some trouble at [the opponent'€™s] blue line, making some turnovers which doesn'€™t work well in this league. For the most part, we'€™re getting some pucks in deep, playing smart." It was the fourth straight game in the lineup for Talbot, the longest stretch of the season for an 11-year NHL veteran who has had to check his pride at the door while accepting a few stints in the AHL. "œI can say it was challenging at some points but I'€™m the type of guy to take the glass always half-full,"€ said Talbot. "I kept a good attitude working with the younger guys in Providence. I worked on my offensive game. When I got the call back up I'€™m doing what I can to help the team. That'€™s been my role here and I'€™ll keep on doing that as best I can." It'€™s a mindset that is appreciated by Julien. "Max, from the first day he went down to Providence, all I heard is what a great attitude he had, smiling, having fun with the guys, playing hard, and was one of the best players there," said Julien. "€œThat just shows his character and what he'€™s all about. What'€™s happening to him now, that'€™s what he deserves because of just the way he'€™s handled himself through the situation that started at the beginning of the year." Julien continued: "€œI don'€™t think he had much of a chance there from training camp, being put on waivers, up and down for a game or two. But he'€™s been with us now for a bit of a stretch, and obviously playing well. He'€™s a gritty player. Probably tonight he struggled a little bit in the faceoff circle but other than that, he'€™s competing hard and it'€™s nice to see some guys like that score some goals. They work so hard and you like to see different guys score on your team once in a while and give your team a boost. That'€™s what he did, led us with that first goal and I thought played a pretty strong game start to finish, on penalty kill, five-on-five, really reliable." "It'€™s been a rough start in a way, but at the same time it'€™s just good to do something to contribute,"€ said Talbot. "€œI think Claude gave me a little confidence putting me out there and it feels good. I'€™m trying to do what I can. For the team it'€™s nice when the third and the fourth line gets some goals, gets a little relief for the first and second line which usually score most of the goals."