(Photo Credit: Charles Krupa/AP Photo)

By: Tom Calautti | Follow me on Twitter @TCalauttis

TD Graden was filled to the brim as the Boston Bruins organization honored honor captain Brad Marchand for playing his 1,000th NHL game. The team was able to eke out a win against the Dallas Stars and snap their four-game losing streak in the process. Here’s how things went:

Brad Marchand Honored

After playing in his 1,000th game on Tuesday, February 14th, the Boston Bruins honored Brad Marchand before today’s matchup with a pregame ceremony to commemorate the captain’s achievement. Before the festivities began, the Boston Bruins showed a video tribute, where the likes of Johnny Bucyk, Zdeno Chara, David Krejci, and Patrice Bergeron appeared to congratulate Marchand on his achievement.

Marchand and his family then took to the black and gold carpet where they were met with a parade of bruins new and old to honor the accomplishment. Bucyk, as well as Don Sweeney, Cam Neely, David Pastrnak, Charlie McAvoy, and Brandon Carlo, all took to the black and gold carpet to present Marchand with a Rolex, specially commissioned painting, and silver stick, among other things.

Then, during the first TV timeout, the TD Garden played a second tribute video where players, both retired and active around the league, congratulated Marchand on his 1,000th game. The video featured fan favorites like Tuukka Rask, Torey Krug, and Kevan Miller, old friends Mark Recchi and Tyler Seguin, and friends of Marchand Sidney Crosby and Nathan Mackinnon.

Fourth Line Stays Hot

After the festivities, it was Boston’s fourth line and newest call-ups that stole the spotlight. Providence Bruins stalwart Justin Brazeau made his NHL-debut alongside, Anthony Richard, and Jesper Boqvist and the trio made sure to put their mark on the game, scoring the opening goal less than five minutes into the contest. The Bruins got on the board when Richard found a streaking Boqvist in front for a forehand-backhand goal against Jake Oettinger.

The Stars went up 2-1 following goals from Wyatt Johnston and Ryan Suter, and then the fourth line struck again. Jesper Boqvist found Justin Brazeau alone in front of the Dallas net, and the power forward slammed the puck home for his first NHL goal.

“I kind of blacked out,” said Brazeau after scoring his first NHL goal. “Honestly, (Anthony Richard) asked me where it went, and I said, ‘I have no idea.’ I just shot it and heard the crowd go crazy. So yeah it’s obviously a good feeling.”

Jim Montgomery sang the praises of Brazeau and his work ethic when discussing the player post-game. He said, “You’ve got to give a lot of credit to the young man. He wasn’t signed to an NHL deal, he keeps on working, he was here every day in the summer, and he lost I don’t know how many pounds to be able to show how much he wanted an NHL player.”

Montgomery continued, “I just think it’s a great story for anyone that tells you you can’t do something or that you’re not good enough, or you’re not tall enough, or you’re not smart enough. Whatever the case is, no one can tell you what you believe inside you. And give the credit to the young man because I think he has a lot of intestinal fortitude.”

Late Game Heroics

Things weren’t looking great after an offensive zone turnover led to an Esa Lindell goal with 9:16 remaining in the third period. With around two minutes remaining in the game, Jim Montgomery pulled his goalie and deployed his six-on-five unit in a desperate attempt to tie the game. David Pastrnak was the hero in regulation, wiring a one-timer past Jake Oettinger to send the game to overtime.

Neither team was able to notch the winner in overtime, so the game went to a shootout, where it took nine rounds for the Boston Bruins to prevail for their first win in five games. Brad Marchand put his stamp on his celebratory night by beating Oettinger in the third round of the shootout and keeping his team alive. Charlie McAvoy potted the game-winner, beating Oettinger on his backhand to snap the losing streak.

Swayman Shuts the Door

Jeremy Swayman was the best player on either team in this game, and he was the reason the Boston Bruins were able to come away with a victory. While his team was outshot 46-30, and out-chanced 36-27, Boston’s netminder stood tall and kept the Black and Gold afloat throughout the game. Swayman set a new career high with 43 saves on a night that culminated with this highlight reel save against Craig Smith in the shootout:

“You know he’s a battler, and I think that really showed, said Montgomery on Swayman’s performance. “He just keeps fighting; that’s why we call him Bulldog. And then in the shootout, he was awesome.”

When asked about how big the win was for his team, Swayman said, “I think it’s an extremely important win. Every (win) in this league is important, but knowing that we’re not going to be here for a week or two, it’s something that we owe our fans.

He continued, “They support us through the ups and downs and we owe them a good two points any given night, so it was really special tonight. Obviously it was a packed house, and seeing the reactions on a comeback win like that is something really special.”

Game Notes

  • With his 32nd point of the season (15 goals, 17 assists) Trent Frederic has surpassed his 79-game point total last season in only 55 games.
  • David Pastrnak is now the 4th players in the NHL this season to reach 80 points.
  • Anthony Richard (one goal, one assist) and Jesper Boqvist (one goal, two assists) now have multiple points in their last two games.
  • Jesper Boqvist, Jeremy Swayman, and Jim Montgomery all sang the praises of Brazeau following the game. It’s nice to hear teammates speak so fondly of a guy who’s worked so hard and is finally being rewarded.