Regardless of health, it is wise to keep this combination together

The Boston Bruins had a tough hand when Dmitry Orlov knocked out Kevan Miller in Game 4 with a free kick. The impact sent Miller to the hospital for further testing, and it was up to the five remaining defenders to close the game. Rallying behind their fallen leader, Boston continued its cruise to a 4-1 victory.

“We felt we had to do it for him,” David Pastrnak said after the game. “He’s part of our team. It was our main goal going into the third to do it for him ”.

One of those defenders forced to step up was Connor Clifton who was activated in the second injury game. Jeremy Lauzon. Clifton is cut from the same fabric as Miller, although not of the most intimidating stature, they both pride themselves on parting their man from the puck, often with intense velocity.

So when it came time to find Miller’s replacement and Clifton’s defensive partner ahead of Game 5, it was between veteran Jarred Tinordi and Urho Vaakanainen, the answer was pretty straightforward. At 6ft 6in, 205lb Tinordi is a skid mack truck with crisp reach and compliments Clifton’s rough and rugged styling beautifully.

Physically, Clifton and Tinordi harassed Washington all night

The two feasted on the unsuspecting Capitals, a particularly jarring collision occurred at the hand of Clifton which flattened Garnett Hathaway behind the Boston net. Physical nature aside, the pair made simple games all night long. When in danger they smashed it from the high window, against Washington’s forward failure, they reversed the game behind their own net and passed out of the zone, against the rush they carried in the middle of the ice fishing forward Washington. at the corners.

Collectively, the pair combined for nearly 35 minutes played, including six shorthanded. Impressive work from two players who sometimes struggled to find their place in the regular season, let alone playing meaningful minutes together.

In the second period, the momentum shifted in favor of Boston. Despite being dominated and outclassed, the Bruins took a 2-0 lead thanks to an incredible individual effort from David Pastrnak. Washington recovered one just 11 seconds into the third period when former UMass Amherst captain Conor Sheary stuck his own rebound over Rask’s shoulder, but it would be as close as it gets. Barely 12 minutes later, Bergeron collected his second goal of the game to take it to 3-1, which was the final score of the game.

With the emergence of the Charlie McAvoy / Matt Gryzelcyk pairs as well as Brandon Carlo / Mike Reilly, Tinordi and Clifton are providing sandpaper to a core that lacks grain. Although the sample size is small, Bruce Cassidy would be wise to keep his new defensive third pair together. Miller is likely to miss a considerable amount of time to recover from his ailments, but Cassidy can rest assured that her roster won’t be lacking in what Miller brings to the table.


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