Boston Bruins Film Session: Hampus Lindholm vs the New York Rangers (4-23-22)

( Photo by Brian Babineau / NHLI via Getty Images )

By: Joe Travia | Follow me on Twitter and Instagram @NHLJoeTravia

Twitter is a weird place (duh). After last week’s 4-0 shutout loss, some of the discourse was puzzling at best, downright crazy at worst. I saw people calling for Bruce Cassidy to be fired, Brad Marchand to be benched, calling the team a fraud, etc. I try to stay as even-keeled as possible, so I sent the following tweet:

Now, I am new to having my opinions on the Bruins amplified, but the blowback I received was crazy! I was called a homer, told I was making excuses and got the eye roll emoji. Well, guess what. I am here to take my victory lap. David Pastrnak and Hampus Lindholm both returned to the lineup and helped lead the Bruins to a 3-1 victory over potential first-round playoff foe, the New York Rangers. It did not take them long to make an impact either, as Lindholm started the play, which led to Pastrnak’s first-period goal:

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We all know what David Pastrnak is. When he is in the lineup, the Bruins offense is brought to a different level. Hampus Lindholm, on the other hand, is a less familiar commodity. Sure, we know they paid a steep price to acquire him and re-sign him, but due to suffering a knee injury, we have not gotten the chance to get an extended look at him in Black and Gold.

This game showcased everything Lindholm can add to this Bruins team. His combination of size (6’4, 215 lbs.), skating, defending, and ability to make a quick outlet pass brings a new element to the Bruins back end. On Pastrnak’s goal, Lindholm is able to win a race with Panarin to a loose puck, fend him off with his size, and immediately get going up ice. He hits Brad Marchand with a quick pass, starting the attack the other way.

Charlie McAvoy, who no doubt is able to be turned loose more with someone as steady as Lindholm as his partner, beats everyone up the ice and finds Pastrnak with a beautiful pass for the easy tap in goal. Lindholm does not get an assist, but he kickstarts the entire sequence. Overall, it was an excellent game for Lindholm; here are some other highlights.

Lindholm impresses me with his ability to win puck battles and break things out quickly. Here, he gains control and hits Patrice Bergeron with a nice seam pass that starts a three-on-two rush the other way.

The thing that stands out in these two clips is Lindholm’s positioning. He always seems to be in the right place in the D-zone, and when he breaks up the attack, he has good ability to find an outlet option quickly. This was a component the Bruins were lacking before his arrival. Plays like this are going to allow the Bruins skilled forwards to attack with numbers off the rush.

Can you tell I love Lindholm’s passing ability? For such a big, strong defender, it is easy to forget that Lindholm possesses plenty of skill as well. He really excels with the cross-ice stretch pass, showing great patience to wait for lanes and hit his targets right on the tape.

The pass to Pasta in the third clip is made with a level of confidence and offensive flair that is present in all elite NHL defensemen. I knew he was a solid two-way, shutdown defenseman, but even I have to admit that I did not realize he possessed the confidence and offensive flair to make passes like this.

Overall, it was an excellent return for Hampus Lindholm and one that should have Bruins fans excited. With guys like him and David Pastrnak in the lineup, there is no telling how high their ceiling can go. Now please stop yelling at me on Twitter.

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