By: Lucas Pearson | Follow Me On Twitter @LucasPearson_
There we go, THAT’S Bruins hockey. After a brutal stretch of hockey that saw the Bs go 4-5-6, the Black and Gold are back to their winning ways. Here’s everything you missed from this week’s action.
Jan 7 Boston Bruins @ Nashville Predators
The Bruins were able to acquire some help for their trip to Nashville to face the Predators. No, it was not Tyler Toffoli or Chris Kreider, but it was actually a the Bruins’ moms. This was the Predator’s first game after parting ways with Peter Laviolette, so the Preds were certainly going to bring their A-game with new coach (and former Devils’ coach) John Hynes.
The first period started off with a bang as the NHL’s leading goal scorer David Pastrnak came down the wing and blew a shot past Pekka Rinne just 1:36 into the game to give the Bruins the lead. The Bs continued their strong play throughout the period, testing Rinne for the full 20 minutes. A good period from top to bottom for the Bruins, where they were able to outshoot the Preds 13-8.
Just a minute into the second period it seemed the Predators scored after a bizarre play. Charlie McAvoy was knocked into the net, taking it off its pegs, while Nick Bonino proceeded to put the puck in the net. After it was originally called a good goal (because the puck would’ve gone in regardless of the net being off) it was then called back due to the Pred’s Rocco Grimaldi causing McAvoy to knock off the net. Confusing, I know. At the 11:39 mark, Danton Heinen finished off a pretty passing play from Charlie Coyle and Matt Grzelyck with a rip from the slot, making it 2-0 Bruins. Nashville finally got their goal back after Filip Forsberg converted on a five on three PP for the Preds. Late in the period, Boston was able to regain their two-goal lead after Patrice Bergeron finished a nice feed from Jake Debrusk on the powerplay.
The Bs nearly added yet another goal seconds into the third, but Pekka Rinne shut the door on the top line. It wasn’t long after that chance when the Bruins did tack on yet another goal when a Par Lindholm shot went in off of Chris Wagner in front. You could tell it just wasn’t Nashville’s night after Tuukka Rask STONED Viktor Arvidsson midway through the third. Nashville found a little life late after pulling within two on the powerplay, but it was all for not after a David Krejci empty netter and a late Charlie Coyle goal.
Jan 9 Winnipeg Jets @ Boston Bruins
The moms made the trip back to Boston with the team and it paid dividends in a back-and-forth game against the Jets. We aren’t going to mention the 2015 draft, at all, but the 17th overall pick Kyle Connor put Winnipeg on the board first after dipsy-doodling past Torey Krug and roofing one on Jaroslav Halak. A good shift by the second line and a semi-break for Chris Wagner both amounted to nothing, so the Bs remained without a goal. That was until the duo of Sean Kuraly and Joakim Nordstrom connected with David Pastrnak in the slot to tie the game. After a great play from David Backes, Danton Heinen and Charlie Coyle wouldn’t go, the period closed, knotted at one.
Exactly six minutes into the second, the Jets were able to retake the lead on the powerplay after Andrew Copp collected his 7th goal of the season. That lead didn’t hold for much longer as who but the league’s leading goal scorer, David Pastrnak, sent an absolute rocket past Laurent Brossoit on the powerplay, 2-2. Chris Wagner was inches away from giving the B’s their first lead of the game as he rattled one off the post, but the game remained tied. That 2-2 tie wouldn’t last the period as Jake Debrusk came in on a breakaway and buried one past Laurent Brossoit with 1:11 left. What should’ve been an easy final minute to kill off for the Bs, ended up being the opportunity for the Jets to tie it up, when Neil Pionk scored on the powerplay with just seconds left on the clock
After about eight minutes of stalemate, the Jets were able to regain their lead after Mark Schiefele banked a shot in off of Jaroslav Halak. When Jake Debrusk took advantage of a poor change from the Jets by driving to the net, David Krejci collected the rebound and fed Pasta in front of the net, queuing the hats to start flying down from the rafters. If you thought you had time to run to the bathroom before the lamp was lit once again, you missed the Bs take the lead. Just 30 seconds after the tying goal, Krejci won a faceoff clean to Matt Grzelyck, who fed McAvoy for a one-timer that Jake Debrusk tipped in, and topped it off with a beautiful celly. That proved to be the nail in the coffin for the Jets, as they were not able to muster up anything to come back.
Jan 11 Boston Bruins @ New York Islanders
The mom-less Bruins headed to New York for their next game with a couple of players hitting milestones along the way (Torey Krug and Sean Kuraly playing their 500th and 200th games respectively). It was all Islanders early in this game, with Tuukka Rask forced to make save after save until the Isles were able to breakthrough. Scott Mayfield’s shot from the point snuck past Rask, giving New York the lead. Rask continued to battle after a bad period from the Bs and made 13 saves in the first.
A couple big saves by Rask opened the second period until the Bruins were able to knot the game up at one. A clean breakout led to Charlie McAvoy joining the rush, and the ensuing traffic in front of the net lead to Jake Debrusk’s equalizer. The rest of the period showcased the two goaltenders battling it out, and the game continued into the third, tied 1-1.
That was until a seeing eye shot from John Moore found its way through Semyon Varlamov to give the Bruins their first lead of the night. That, unfortunately, didn’t silence Barclays Center for too long after Josh Bailey fed Matthew Barzal in front, who tucked it past Rask to tie the game. Some big saves from both Varlamov (namely two on David Krejci) and Rask sent the game into OT.
The Bruins were gifted a powerplay early into OT after Brock Nelson tripped up Brad Marchand, and that ended up being the demise for the Isles. “Mr. Perfect” Patrice Bergeron was able to collect a pass from Torey Krug in the slot, looked off the defense and wrist a shot past Varlamov to give the Bs the victory and complete the 3-0 week.
- Zdeno Chara missed the Bruins’ game in Winnipeg due to a jaw injury but played their next game in New York with no problem.
- Joakim Nordstrom missed the game against the Predators due to an illness but has played in every game since.
- Matt Grzelcyk left the game against the Islanders early and never returned. He played the next game in Philly.
My Three Stars of the Week
A lot of contenders for this week’s honors. A few guys who just missed the cut were Danton Heinen (one goal, two assists, +3 rating), Charlie Coyle (one goal, two assists, +4 rating) and a trio of defensemen (Charlie McAvoy, Torey Krug, and Matt Grzelyck) who all picked up three assists in the week.
- Jake Debrusk
The second line has regained life and so has Debrusk. The Edmonton native had a point in every game and ended with a statline of three goals, two assists, and a +3 rating.
- David Pastrnak
The Bs’ main dish of choice this week was Pasta, who put up four goals in three games. His hockey IQ was on full display and he showed why he’s leading the league in goals.
- Tuukka Rask
Take that Rask haters. Tuukka was incredible this week, going 2-0 with a .944 save percentage and a sub 2.00 goals allowed average. He single handedly kept the Bruins in both games and without him, there was not a chance the Bruins go 3-0.
Play of the Week – David Pastrnak Goal
Gotta be this shot by Pastrnak. The video would be a whole lot better with sound.
- Anders Bjork has made the 2nd line FAR more dynamic. While he only had one point, it was clear his playmaking ability gelled very well with Jake Debrusk and David Krejci. I think we’ll see a big uptick in points from the Notre Dame product
- Joakim Nordstrom took a few shifts next to Krejci and Debrusk despite Bjork’s solid play. I’d hope that doesn’t continue to happen.
- Tuukka Rask is awesome.
- Danton Heinen is getting his confidence back. He looked good this week, making skill and power moves while tacking on three points in the process.
- This big week proved that the Bruins can take a little more time to find the winger they need. I still think they need some help in the middle-six, but Bjork, Heinen and Debrusk’s play this week proved the Bruins still have a lot to work with on their roster.
- Oh, and Pekka Rinne has more goals than Charlie McAvoy, that is all.