Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports

Bruins experiment with Torey Krug-Charlie McAvoy top pairing

Ty Anderson
September 19, 2017 - 7:09 pm

It’s no secret that Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy has repeatedly stressed the importance of his team generating offense and a strong breakout from their backend.

That ideology has typically come with the idea of balance within their defensive pairings, often matching a quick-skating puckmover with a sturdy d-zone presence.

But Cassidy is throwing that idea out the window for tonight’s preseason contest at TD Garden against the visiting Red Wings (because why not?), as he will load up on the former and go wild with a top-pairing combo of Torey Krug and Charlie McAvoy.

Similar to the ideology of putting David Pastrnak with Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand to create a borderline superhero line when the team is trailing in the third period, the move will be a teaser of what could come should the B’s need to generate offensive quickly in the regular season.

“Well, we’re gonna see them at some point,” Cassidy said of the Krug-McAvoy pairing. “There’s gonna be games where we need offense when we’re down and those two guys can bring it. That’s their strongest qualities — their vision and their puckmoving ability. Certainly not a pair we’ll use everyday, but I’m curious to see how it looks.”

While seemingly unheard of, this is something that the Black and Gold experimented with a bit last season, putting Colin Miller and Krug together for a quick minute.

“We did that a lot because I think offensive players like playing with offensive players, especially when you want to pick up the pace as the clocking is ticking down and you need the offense,” Cassidy noted. “I thought they played well together at times when we needed that. Other teams backed off [playing aggressive against them].”

But it’s not a philosophy that comes without its share of concerns, especially if the 5-foot-9 Krug and teenage McAvoy find themselves in over their heads against stiff, offensive competition, and trapped in the mud of the defensive zone.

“Some of the issues that might come up is in defending — they’re not like the rest of our group, big and strong, — so they [could] get the wrong matchup,” admitted Cassidy. “And if they do get put in those situations and the other team is aggressive, I would hope their skill can take advantage of them and that will give you that odd-man rush you’re looking for to get back in the game."

Concluded Cassidy: "Probably won’t last long, to be honest with you, but it is something we want to see."

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