When we catch up on sports that we missed from the previous day, we often focus on the score sheet or a few minutes of highlights on TV or the Internet to tell us the story of what happened.
And while these records of past games inform us of the major events or incidences of a game, they often miss the little plays or details that played a huge role in the success or failure of your favorite team.
Two prime examples of this from the first round would be the play of Par Lindholm and Joakim Nordstrom.
Aside from the single assist registered by Nordstrom versus the Canes, you probably won’t find either of these two on the highlights on Sports Center the next day. However, to say neither played a significant role in the Bruins’ series against the Canes would be a mistake.
To start the playoffs, Joakim Nordstrom decided he was going to hit anything that moves.
Leading all Bruins in hits (31 through 8 games) despite not being the biggest guy, Nordstrom has added some much needed sandpaper to the B’s bottom six.
However Nordstrom’s contribution to the team’s success doesn’t stop with his increased aggression, as he’s also been huge for the Bruins in his own end.
Nordstrom leads all Bruins forwards in shots blocked so far, has won a ton of puck battles in the corner, and has put in some solid minutes on the PK, helping Boston improve their kill rate steadily as the playoffs have gone on.
While blocked shots and hits may not be great metrics when considering possession, they served their purpose in regard to Nordstrom’s role on the team.
Just in case you forgot, here’s how Nordstrom recorded his one assist against Carolina. It was a big goal, that’s for sure:
Meanwhile, after sitting out the three round robin games and the first two games of the Carolina series, Par Lindholm got his first taste of playoff action in Game 3.
The Bruins, coming off a somewhat listless loss in Game 2, and needing to shuffle their lineup, looked to Lindholm and Jack Studnicka to try to ignite a spark for the next game.
While there has been little to point to on the score sheet from the last three games to suggest Lindholm has made a difference, after watching Lindholm compete, it’s hard to argue he’s not making an impact.
Lindholm was a thorn in the Canes’ side, playing with perhaps the most energy and feistiness we’ve seen from him in a B’s uniform.
A little Par Lindholm truculence:
Not only has Lindholm fit in well on the 4th line, his presence has allowed Sean Kuraly to shift up to the third line with Charlie Coyle and Studnicka or Anders Bjork, to provide a better all-around attack than they were getting from the combination of Ritchie, Coyle and Anders Bjork.
While that new 3rd line has not scored on 5v5, chemistry may be brewing between Coyle and Kuraly as this shorthanded beauty may suggest:
Inserting Lindholm into the lineup while also keeping Nordstrom engaged on the fourth line proved to be great moves by head coach Bruce Cassidy.
Time and time again, Cassidy and the rest of the B’s coaching staff have been asked to make adjustments this season, either due to injury or to spark the team. In most cases, these adjustments have led to success for the Bruins, and certainly played a role in helping Cassidy earn a Jack Adams nomination.
As a series looms with division rivals the Tampa Bay Lightning, Cassidy is going to need to be very strategic with his lineup decisions.
But based on the last series, you should expect to see Par Lindholm’s and Joakim Nordstrom’s names on the Bruins’ lineup sheet to start the series.