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The setup is one that would curl the toes of every NHL coach. The ace shutdown defenseman in the league takes one shift. One of the top defensive forwards hits the ice for the next shift.
Claude Julien is a fortunate coach.
Zdeno Chara, the 2009 winner of the Norris Trophy as the NHL’s best all-around defenseman, is regularly matched against the opponent’s most dangerous forward. Patrice Bergeron, the 2012 winner of the Selke Trophy as the league’s best defensive forward, draws the assignment of shutting down the second-most threatening attacker. Their defensive awareness is one reason why the Bruins could claim a 3-2 series lead in Game 5 on Saturday at the United Center.
The Bruins’ system centers on forcing turnovers and creating offense from defense.