'Dominant' Dmitry Orlov making huge impact for Bruins in every area originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston
BOSTON -- Dmitry Orlov knows what playoff-type atmospheres are all about.
He appeared in 74 postseason games with the Washington Capitals over the last seven seasons, and he played a key role on the 2017-18 Capitals team that won the Stanley Cup.
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So, it shouldn't come as a surprise that the Russian defenseman played an important part of the Boston Bruins' 2-1 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday afternoon at TD Garden.
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It was a hard-fought 60 minutes that included multiple fights, plenty of huge hits, guys laying their bodies on the line to block shots and plenty of post-whistle scrums.
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"I think 85 percent of it was will, by both teams," Bruins head coach Jim Montgomery said. "It just made for a really good hockey game, maybe a late 1980s, early 1990s type of hockey game, but it's great because we're going to face this in the playoffs. We're going to face games where it's physical and it's hard. I really liked the way we responded. After the first period, I thought we really got to our game 5-on-5, and I just thought everyone started winning foot races, which is a huge indicator of not being deterred by any physicality that comes our way."
The Bruins upgraded their blue line in a major way last month by acquiring Orlov -- as well as bottom-six forward Garnet Hathaway -- in a trade with the Washington Capitals.
Orlov has made an imprint on so many of the 14 games he's played for the Bruins, and Saturday's showdown was yet another example. He set a physical tone and played fantastic in all three zones at 5-on-5 and on special teams.
He was especially clutch during the second period when the Bruins spent nearly three straight minutes on the penalty kill -- a stretch that included 70 seconds of a 5-on-3 Lightning power play with two good penalty killers, Charlie McAvoy and Brandon Carlo, in the box.
Orlov played the entire penalty kill and did a great job preventing the Lightning from generating quality scoring chances.
"We did a pretty good job. They didn't have any shots," Orlov said when asked about that pivotal second-period penalty kill. "We stayed tight and Bergy (Patrice Bergeron) had a good stick and we had a couple good blocks. It was important. We tried to stay close and not give them any opportunities. It was a huge PK for us."
The Lightning had five power-play opportunities and failed to score on a single one. It was a huge factor in the outcome of the game, and Orlov was a huge reason for Tampa Bay's struggles with the man advantage.
In total, Orlov led the Bruins with 23:42 of ice time Saturday, including 4:14 of ice time on the power play and 4:53 of ice time on the penalty kill. No matter the situation, Orlov was on the ice making a positive impact.
"He's just another dominant player back there," Bruins head coach Jim Montgomery said of Orlov. "You talk about someone who imposes their will, he took a couple big runs at players, and that's noticeable on both benches. It's nice when you see your team respond. The other team starts out hard, and we come back harder."
Since making his B's debut on Feb. 25 in Vancouver, Orlov ranks third on the team in average ice time (21:09), second in hits (31), tied for second in assists (nine) and fourth in points (12). He has also showed impressive versatility by playing on both the left and right side of the blue line, while also skating with several different partners.
The Bruins are going to need Orlov to play a significant role in the playoffs because he is used in every type of situation. Based on what we've seen so far, there's no reason to think he won't rise to the occasion.
"Off the ice and on the ice he works hard," Hathaway said of Orlov. "It's no surprise the puck is finding the back of the net for him. He's making plays, he's physical, and I think it's a great playoff-style hockey that he plays. That's one reason why, when I got traded, I was really excited to be traded with him and see what we can do and make an impact for this team."