A Rational Look at Injuries and the Remaining Boston Bruins Schedule

dm_180319_Donato_first_goal364Photo: ESPN
By Thomas Nyström | Follow on twitter @nahstrom

We were all warned. Hell, I even warned you that the upcoming schedule was daunting a few weeks ago: https://blackngoldhockey.com/2018/03/07/predicting-the-rest-of-the-season-bruins-final-record/

Here’s the updated remaining schedule:

Wednesday March 22 @ STL 8:00 PM ET
Friday March 23 @ DAL 8:30 PM ET
Sunday March 25 @ MIN 7:30 PM ET
Tuesday March 27 @ WPG 8:00 PM ET
Thursday March 29 vs TBL 7:00 PM ET
Saturday March 31 vs FLA 1:00 PM ET
Sunday April 1 @ PHI 12:30 PM ET
Tuesday April 3 @ TBL 7:30 PM ET
Thursday April 5 @ FLA 7:30 PM ET
Saturday April 7 vs OTT 7:00 PM ET
Sunday April 8 vs FLA 7:30 PM ET


My prediction in that previous article was the Bruins would end with 111 points. With 11 games remaining an sitting 12 points shy of my prediction at 99 points.. Boston needs to play .500 hockey to hit that mark. Looking at the remaining opponents, travel, and relentlessness of the ‘every other day’ nature of the calendar — I still believe that’s precisely what we will get.

The schedule lines up that they play every other day with exception to next weekend where they play back-to-back; Saturday @ Florida at 1:00 pm followed by an immediate northbound flight to take on Philadelphia for another early game with puck drop happening at 12:30 pm. After that comes the first of two key games against Tampa Bay — this one at home, the later date scheduled to be played in Tampa. Now before we even get to that, the Bruins have a troublesome road trip that they are currently in the midst of starting tonight in St. Louis. On tap after that is Dallas, Minnesota, and Winnipeg. Each team is playoff bound or at the very least in the hunt right now and will be putting forth playoff caliber efforts against a banged-up B’s lineup. I fully believe that despite the thin roster on this road trip, Boston has the ability to take 4 out of 8 points from these quality opponents. I expect Boston to split the two remaining games against Florida, because well, it’s the Panthers and we all saw the game last week. The back-to-back day games are very hard on the traveling team.. and I wouldn’t be surprised if they drop the Philadelphia game. While we know how unbearable ‘hockey-twitter’ can be after a B’s loss, we must take everything into account and not jump off the Zakim Bridge if Boston struggles against a very good team like Winnipeg.

That said, let’s take a rational look at what to expect with the injuries to this Bruins roster as we near the Stanley Cup Playoffs:

Although there were reports that we may expect to see Patrice Bergeron return from injury on this current road trip that ends next Tuesday, a more reasonable expectation — or really, a hope would be he rejoins the line-up at home on Thursday March 29th when the Bruins host Tampa Bay. Boston themselves shared footage of Bergeron getting ice time in and running drills on his own just a few days ago. Regardless, a foot fracture is a substantial injury to any player, especially one like Bergeron who is arguably the best two-way forward in the sport.

No updates regarding Jake DeBrusk, or at least nothing of substance. The ‘upper-body’ designation does very little in the way of telling us anything about a) the injury b) his timeline. If this is a concussion he could be out the rest of the regular season as we’re winding down to single-digit games by the end of the weekend. Unfortunate timing for Jake as he was on a tear before his injury with 9 points in his last 8 games. The Bruins would certainly benefit if that switch can be flipped again entering the playoffs.

My goodness did David Backes have a rough couple of days last week. It seemed like the hockey gods were against David for a bit there and then to cap it off he suffered a nasty laceration from an errant blade to the thigh that required 18 stitches. While that will take some time to heal naturally and to be tended to incase of any set-back such as infection, Backes may be out of the line-up until the playoffs as well, although I feel as though we will see him for a few tune-up games in the final week of the regular season.

Zdeno Chara and Charlie McAvoy have been sorely missed at times over the last stretch of games. Chara could be back by the end of the week although I would suspect that since Boston is on the cusp of clinching a playoff spot as early as tonight in St. Louis, head coach Bruce Cassidy may hold him out of the line-up an extra game. Remember that just prior to the injury there was debate on whether or not to give the big man a few games off to reset. Meanwhile, Charlie McAvoy has been quietly going about his work to get back on the ice. The severity of his knee injury wasn’t made entirely known, but all indications are that he will be ready to go come playoff time. Similarly to Backes, McAvoy may get on the ice in the final few regular season contests to ‘test the waters’, if you will. Seeing the defensive first line out there again would no doubt be a sigh of relief for Bruins fans.

dcbbaf89-2446-487f-949e-d459cda158ab_TVASPORTS_WEBSee? Isn’t this nice?
Photo: www.tvasports.ca/

Lastly and perhaps least concerning would be the injuries to Rick Nash and Adam McQuaid who are both considered day-to-day. Bruce Cassidy also hasn’t been shy about handing out ‘maintenance days’ which may be a contributing factor to the way he’s handling both individuals. He is fully aware that in two weeks it will be all hands on deck as his Boston Bruins look to start what we all hope will be a deep playoff push.

Thomas Nyström, Contributor.

Follow me on Twitter @nahstrom

Bruins Sign Donato To Entry-Level Deal


PHILADELPHIA, PA – JUNE 28: Ryan Donato meets his team after being drafted #56 by the Boston Bruins on Day Two of the 2014 NHL Draft at the Wells Fargo Center on June 28, 2014 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

By: Mark Allred   |   Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

The Boston Bruins announced earlier this evening that they’ve signed prospect and Harvard University forward Ryan Donato to an entry-level contract.  This year was a career season for the Crimson Junior as he posted 26-17-43 numbers in in 26 games and was the ECAC Player of The Year and a nominee for the prestigious Hobey Baker Award given to the best NCAA Men’s Ice Hockey Athlete annually. The 21-year-old was also selected to the United State hockey team that played at the 2018 Winter Olympics and played very well with six points in five games (5-1-6).


Donato, a second-round selection of the B’s in 2014 has really taken a huge step in his development over the past year and deservingly generated a great deal of hype from those professional opinions down to the fans that pay close attention to the developing youth on a yearly basis. Although I knew Ryan was going to be signed at some point in 2018, my projection of when was way off as I had him coming to the National Hockey League during the offseason as I believed the Bruins would go with the roster that’s had so much success in 2017-18. Regardless of my projected timeline, I’m very excited to have him with this team and look forward to seeing him when he makes it on the roster with 12 games remaining in the regular season and upcoming playoff schedule.

This is what Ryan had to say shortly after signing his entry-level deal with his beloved Boston Bruins…..

“I am excited to announce that today I have fulfilled a lifelong dream, signing a NHL contract to play for the Boston Bruins,” Donato said in a statement. “While I am beyond thrilled for this next opportunity, it comes with a bittersweet feeling, as my time as a student-athlete at Harvard comes to a close. I am so thankful for every day I have spent at Harvard and the remarkable people I have met along the way, from the classroom, to the ice, and beyond. It has truly been a privilege to wear the Harvard jersey and represent my school alongside such incredible teammates and coaches. My time in the Harvard hockey program has provided me with some of my closest friends and fondest memories, and I will strive to continue representing Harvard well from afar as I enter this next stage of my life.

“While no longer on campus, I am so proud to consider myself a member of the greater Harvard community, and I am still fully dedicated to working towards another lifelong dream of mine: a degree from the university that has given me the best three years of my life.”


With the current injuries on the Bruins coming down the stretch, this is a solid depth move for the organization with players like David Backes, Patrice Bergeron, and Jake DeBrusk returns up in the air with a dozen games to go before the Mid-April Stanley Cup Playoffs begin, the addition of the young Donato wasn’t exactly shocking. Regardless of how much action he gets into, he has to be a serious candidate at this point to make a full-time NHL player next season as current players that will be unrestricted free agents this summer might not be coming back and creating a permanent spot for him in 2018-19.


I’ve seen many games that Ryan’s played at the NCAA level and every Bruins development camp that he’s attended and in my opinion, he’s got the skills of an NHL player now, and the pedigree is there with his father and former Crimson coach for the last three seasons Ted Donato who spent several seasons in Black and Gold cannot be denied. The way this kid can skate and stickhandle in traffic is second to none, and he does possess an NHL release. Now his development has brought him to the highest level in the world and can’t wait to see him play NHL opponents shortly as he’s been rumored to get his first taste of the top tomorrow night when the Columbus Blue Jackets come to the TD Garden in Boston. I have to go with a few professional analysts and say I doubt he plays against the Jackets tomorrow night without practicing with the team. Wednesday on the road in St. Louis is a better opportunity in my opinion as he’ll be more acclimated to his new club.

Premature Panic: The Bruins Have Turned Their Season Around


Photo Credit: MassLive

By: Lauren Campbell | Follow on Twitter: @lalalalaurrrren 

It’s March 7, 2018, and the Boston Bruins are 41-15-8.

I was very, very wrong about this team.

Back in October, I wrote about how it was already time to hit the panic button on this season. They were 2-3-0 through their first five games, they couldn’t string together consecutive regulation wins until November, and Tuukka Rask was playing nowhere near the level he’s at now.

One thing that really stuck out to me from my previous article was that I wrote, “the young studs are not living up to the expectations surrounding them.” At the time, they weren’t, but players like Jake DeBrusk, Charlie McAvoy, Danton Heinen and David Pastrnak are very much exceeding those expectations now. Between the four players listed above, the young studs have 56 goals, McAvoy is playing like a veteran in his rookie season, Heinen is quietly making a name for himself while DeBrusk and Pastrnak just continue to score and collect points each game.

Trust me, I am extremely happy to have been so terribly wrong about this team. I never expected them to be this good – especially during Bruce Cassidy’s first full year as head coach, all the youth on this team and a year where there was a lot of questions surrounding Rask after how he started early in the season. But something happened between then and now – maybe it was getting Patrice Bergeron and David Backes back into the lineup, or maybe it was just a matter of time until this team started clicking.

Whatever it was, it’s worked. I had little hope for the Bruins after their slow and sluggish start. But now I have hopes for a deep playoff run. They’ve added depth with Rick Nash, Nick Holden, and even Brian Gionta. Rask, despite his last five games, has been playing phenomenally. But what has been standing out to me a lot, besides the rookies being fantastic, is the “next man up” mentality this team has when a player goes down.


Currently, this team is without Bergeron, McAvoy and Anders Bjork. Fortunately, Bergeron and McAvoy will be back this season, and they need McAvoy’s defense and Bergeron’s offense. But that gives opportunities for Holden, Nash, and Gionta to get more ice time, David Krejci to get more goals and Marchand to continue to step up and be the force on the ice this team needs.

We saw what this team is like without McAvoy and Bergy on Tuesday in their 6-5 overtime against Detroit. It was a game of the good, the bad and the ugly against a mediocre Red Wings team. But the team stepped up with two goals from Torey Krug, a natural hat trick from Marchand and some players dropping gloves. They are a completely different team – a team that is built for the playoffs. So when Bergeron, McAvoy, and Rask come back, this team will be even better because they will be at full health.

I was so very wrong about this team. But I am so pleased I was. 

Predicting The Rest of The Season: Bruins Final Record

Photo: Elise Amendola, AP

By Thomas Nyström | Follow on twitter @nahstrom

Last nights 6-5 overtime win over the visiting Detroit Red Wings marked the beginning of the stretch-run for the rest of the regular season. It was also the first of what will be a Bruins game every other day until the end of the schedule. This will no doubt be a trying and tough few weeks for the Boston Bruins as it includes a lot of travel and hard opponents including two trips to Florida to face the Panthers who are hot as of late and sitting just two points out of a wild card spot. While in the area, the B’s will face the conference leading Tampa Bay Lightning twice as well. Additionally, both teams from the sunshine state will make at least one trip to the TD Garden —  Tampa Bay for one game, Florida twice (one being a make-up game) — so we’re looking at 7 of the final 18 games against just them alone.

Tomorrows contest with the Philadelphia Flyers whom are 6-2-2 in their last 10 and sitting in 3rd place in the Metropolitan Division. Looking ahead at the schedule at other games against playoff / playoff caliber teams include Columbus at home, plus Minnesota, Winnipeg, Dallas, Philadelphia and St. Louis on the road.

So feasibly, what can we expect for the Bruins in terms of record at the end of the season? Earlier this week I put up a twitter poll in preparation for this article and the results were quite definitive.


Before I layout my prediction we must consider a number of contributing factors, first let’s take a look at the remaining schedule:

Thu. March 8 7pm vs PHI
Sat. March 10 1pm vs CHI
Sun. March 11 12:30pm @ CHI
Tue. March 13 7pm @ CAR
Thu. March 15 7:30pm @ FLA
Sat. March 17 7pm @ TBL
Mon. March 19 7pm vs CBJ
Wed. March 21 8pm @ STL
Fri. March 23 8:30pm @ DAL
Sun. March 25 7:30 @ MIN
Tue. March 27 8pm @ WPG
Thu. March 29 7pm vs TBL
Sat. March 31 1pm vs FLA
Sun. April 1 12:30pm @ PHI
Tue. April 3 7:30pm @ TBL
Thu. April 5 7:30pm @ FLA
Sat. April 7 7pm vs OTT
Sun. April 8 7:30pm vs FLA

So lets start right off the clip with the biggest story of the week: Charlie McAvoy missing time due to his left MCL sprain. Remember this: Charlie is being evaluated in 4 weeks. Until then he’s expected to be in a brace and not skating. Best case scenario is that the next month goes by and he’s cleared and he’s right back on the top pairing with Zdeno Chara. Bad news, that isn’t going to happen. We would all love to see it, but the idea of McAvoy returning by April 1st at Philadelphia is probably an unreasonable ask for him. If he gets looked at, feels right enough to get some work in then we might see him for the final weekend of the season when the Bruins finish off the season with Ottawa and Florida. Silver lining here is the defensive depth is going to get quality time in, and in no short supply with the brutal schedule the Bruins are staring in the face.

Patrice Bergeron is also being evaluated in a few weeks, and with the fracture that he suffered is also unable to skate. We’re well aware of the fact that Bergeron is a professional and will not take much time to get right back into game shape following his hiatus. Possibly looking at some reduced minutes initially, or perhaps just simply getting a few extra games off leading up to the playoffs.

Lastly, just consider the quality of opponents and the on/off schedule Boston has left. Some less than desirable travel days loom, and there will not be a lot of time to rest up. There will be more injuries, hopefully nothing major but there are going to be guys banged up without question. It will be interesting to see how coach Bruce Cassidy handles his rotations and scratches over the next few weeks.

Boston Bruins record as of Wednesday, March 7th is 41-15-8, with 90 points.

All that said, here’s where I see it:

The most anticipated and undoubtedly important games remaining come against the Tampa Bay Lightning. 18 games left for a maximum of 36 points out for the taking. With 3 games against conference leading Tampa Bay, I predict the Bruins will go 1-1-1 head-to-head in March and April. The Lightning are 8-1-1 in their last 10 games including a current win streak of 3 games. This team is legit, no one doubts that. The Bruins are no slouches either, and will take three points out of the Bolts. It’s not an easy call to predict an OT loss with Boston’s recent success in extra frames, but Tampa Bay will take it if that one is on their home ice. Contrarily, I feel the same that if a game went to overtime in Boston, it would be the Bruins taking the extra point.

Another key matchup would be the two games remaining against Philadelphia. One home on March 8th and one on the road April 1st. The Flyers are a more dangerous team than their record may suggest. Certainly their goal differential isn’t ideal at +4, but this team can surprise people. Although they failed to use the deadline as a way to bolster their roster for the playoffs with GM Ron Hextall admitting the prices for rentals were too high for his liking stating they were in this ‘for the long haul’, and he wasn’t going to make ‘emotional decisions’. Probably the correct play on his part as Philadelphia aren’t necessarily considered true cup contenders — but they sure are built to play spoiler if teams aren’t careful. I believe the Bruins have enough depth to take the full 4 points from them, but wouldn’t be shocked if they split the difference with the Flyers.

A stretch we should also be looking at is March 21st through March 27th where within that seven days the Bruins travel to St. Louis, Dallas, Minnesota, and Winnipeg who are all strong teams in the West. Only the Blues are currently on the outside looking in with regards to the playoffs — however they only sit 2 points outside of the wild card. If the Bruins come to each of these games and match the hunger and compete level I would call taking 5 out of a possible 8 points as being a ‘win’ for that road trip. Oh, and incase you were wondering their next game coming off that is against Tampa Bay. Are we all starting to see how insane this schedule is about to be? Good grief.

And now my prediction:

The final stretch: 10-7-1 in the final 18 games, good for 21 points.
Overall 2017-2017 record: 51-22-9, with 111 points.

Here are some other predictions from our BNG Staff:

Court LaLonde  53-19-10, 116 points
Lauren Campbell  52-22-8, 112 points
Spencer Fascetta  50-22-10, 110 points
Mike Cratty  52-21-9, 113 points
KG  51-20-11, 113 points

If McAvoy and Bergeron were were healthy then the prediction would be 117 points on the nose. I even believe thats still possible, as predicted by our own Court LaLonde,  because of the depth, and players like Rick Nash and Jake DeBrusk getting hot. Brad Marchand being — well, himself. The 4th line being one of the best and most productive in the NHL. Even the defensive depth like Nick Holden and Matt Grzelcyk getting increased playing time is not a bad thing if you take into account that the ultimate goal is a deep playoff run.

Regardless, playing slightly above .500 hockey which is below our true expectations for this team but reasonable for what they face over the next 4 1/2 weeks. If the Bruins play .500 hockey from tomorrow’s game and through the end of the season we shouldn’t be surprised, though I’m sure panic would rain down on hockey twitter in the form of blaming a goaltender, an aging defender, or unproven youth. Remember folks, when they’re hot you love every single piece of this team — as you should.

Let’s all take this final stretch for what it really is. It’s a test. A test that Sweeney and Cassidy appear ready to handle.

Thomas Nyström, Contributor.
Follow me on Twitter @nahstrom

Report: Bruins Bergeron May Have Injury After Leafs Game

Photo Credit:  NHL.com

By: Mark Allred  |  Follow On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

After last night’s 4-3 Boston Bruins loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs from the Air Canada Center in Toronto, Ontario, multiple reports are coming out that after the game B’s forward and assistant captain Patrice Bergeron was seen leaving the area in a walking boot on his right foot. Many are saying the injury could be part of a shot-blocking effort during the game that didn’t get revealed until after the game when his right skate was taken off.  Also, have to mention his efforts leaving the ACC last night were not assisted by crutches of any sort.

The 32-year-old Bruins veteran has played in 953 career National Hockey League games with Boston and with 54 points in 54 games this season is on track to break his career-high of 73 points he accrued in his second full professional season in 2005-06 with 24 games remaining in the current 2017-18 campaign. The Bruins are set to play the Buffalo Sabres today at 5 pm from the Key Bank Center in Buffalo, New York. No reports as of yet have come out about Bergeron’s participation today against the Sabres who are last in the Eastern Conference and are 4-4-2 in their last ten games.

Bergeron leads the team in goals with 27 and is second in points behind long-time linemate Brad Marchand who leads the team with 57 points and is another Bruin who could break his career high of 85 points he earned in 2016-17 and with 24 games remaining in the 2017-18 schedule could surpass that feat. Regardless a player like Bergy will be heavily missed because of his constant leadership and an outstanding two-way game that could land him a record-breaking fifth Selke Trophy after this season but has also been heavily discussed as a top Hart Trophy candidate.

Below are some tweets related to this news from last night






Zdeno Chara: The Bruins Ageless Wonder


Photo Credit: NHL.com

By: Lauren Campbell | Follow on Twitter: @lalalalaurrrren

In a year where the Bruins are completely exceeding expectations, there is one player who is quietly underrated. For what it’s worth, it’s definitely fun to talk about how fun this team is – from the rookies, Patrice Bergeron is having a spectacular year to Tuukka Rask completely turning into a brick wall – it’s easy to overlook one specific player.

That player is the captain of this team and someone who is proving age is just a number: Zdeno Chara.

Big Z will be 41-years-old in less than a month, and the’s shown no signs of aging. Maybe it’s playing with young kids such as Charlie McAvoy, or maybe he’s adopting some Tom Brady-like diet.

Or maybe he’s continuing to be a consistent, solid defenseman.

He showed just how solid of a player he is in last week’s 3-2 comeback win over Connor McDavid and the Edmonton Oilers. Chara was matched up against McDavid, who is arguably the games most dynamic offensive player, for 15:12 of the 17:40 he was on the ice.

During that time, Boston outshot Edmonton 12-4, and David  Krejci scored the game-winning goal late in the third period. But what was truly amazing about Chara being matched up against McDavid for most of his ice time was McDavid’s final line: zero goals, zero assists, a minus-1 rating and had just two shots.

Those two shots came in a two-second span, and it was just the 10 time on the season McDavid was held to zero points in a game.

Chara has always been a force on the ice season after season, but this 2017-18 season, much like the entire Bruins team, is exceeding expectations and is playing incredibly well at the age of 40.

His numbers aren’t anything spectacular – six goals and 11 assists doesn’t jump out at anyone – but his ice time most certainly does. The captain leads the team in average ice time with 23:20.

Chara has been the captain of this team for several years and this season especially is proving why he is continuing to be deserving of sporting the C. He is a veteran leader for the rookies and isn’t afraid to stand up for his teammates and drop the gloves.

We saw that this season against Anaheim when he went up against Ryan Getzlaf in January. No, he’s not a 20-year-old Charlie McAvoy or 21-year-old Jake DeBrusk – but Chara’s presence on the ice is something that needs to be paid attention to.

The black and gold are doing something spectacular this season. They’re in second place in the Atlantic Division during what was supposed to be a rebuilding year – and Chara is playing a significant role in where this team is in the standings.

Age is just a number, yes. New England sports fans see that every season with Tom Brady and what he does for the Patriots each year. But now Boston has another 40-year-old player to get excited about because it seems as if Chara is indeed an ageless wonder this season.

Boston Bruins Focus On Fixing Game After Rough Road Loss



Patrice Bergeron #37 and David Pastrnak #88 of the Boston Bruins celebrate after Bergeron’s goal put the Bruins up 3-1 against the New York Rangers in the second period at Madison Square Garden on February 7, 2018, in New York City.
(Feb. 6, 2018 – Source: Abbie Parr/Getty Images North America)

By: Andrew Thompson                                                                        Twitter: @godwentwhoops

Well, that was an ugly one.  The Boston Bruins have been one of the best teams in the National Hockey League this season.  As good as the B’s have been playing, we all sort of knew that one of those games was going to happen. The Black and Gold got mercilessly drubbed by the Vancouver Canucks 6-1 the other night.

While the Canucks and their fans celebrated like it was game eight of the 2011 Stanley Cup finals (It was seven years ago, and you lost, get over it.), the Bruins knew they’d have to take a step back and analyze exactly what went wrong on Saturday.

The answer was simple. The Bruins defensive game had gotten sloppy. The team had gaps in their coverage. The team seemed a little slow on the draw as well.  When those factors were added to Tuukka Rask having an off night, it led to the B’s giving up four first period goals against Vancouver.

The B’s knew that the team had lost a little polish off their game, but they usually relied on their offensive firepower to get themselves out of trouble.  That also seemed to let them down on Saturday (although not through lack of effort).  So, the Bruins will take this loss on the chin and get back to work.

“It’s been creeping into our game,” said Bruins forward Patrice Bergeron about their lack of defensive effort. “We’ve been getting away from what’s been good to us.” Our defensive zone coverage has been lacking a little lately. We’ve got to tighten that up and yesterday was a perfect example…when you don’t start on time, and you have holes defensively that you don’t take care of, and don’t play the proper way and respect the game plan, that’s what happens.”

Bruins bench boss Bruce Cassidy knows his team will bounce back from this disappointment.  Still, he scheduled a Sunday practice that focused on the B’s remembering their strengths in the defensive zone. While the team didn’t need to go back to the drawing board, they did get a few touch-ups on their three-zone game.

“We built into practice. That’s generally what we do after a video session, where we try to teach or get better in an area, we’ll try to translate it into practice,” said Cassidy on the focus of the B’s Sunday practice. “We play tomorrow, we play Tuesday, so we’ve got to be careful. It was a workday.”

Even with the tough loss, the B’s are still in great shape. They’re one point ahead of the Toronto Maple Leafs for second in the Atlantic with five games in hand. The team will likely make life interesting for Dougie Hamilton and the rest of the Calgary squad as they fight to get themselves back in the win column.

Boston Bruins: Patrice Bergeron And The Triple Fifty Line



Patrice Bergeron #37 and Brad Marchand #63 of the Boston Bruins react in the first period against the New York Rangers during their game at Madison Square Garden on February 7, 2018, in New York City.
(Feb. 7, 2018 – Source: Abbie Parr/Getty Images North America)

By: Andrew Thompson                                                                        Twitter: @godwentwhoops


The Boston Bruins earned themselves another two points with a solid 5-2 drubbing of the Calgary Flames Tuesday night.  Overall it was a great night for Bruins fans. The TD Garden hosted the legendary Don Cherry and members of the Bruins 1977-78 squad (the only team in NHL history to have 11 20-goal scorers).

The Bruins got on the board early, and they got on the board often. Once again, the Black and Gold came from behind to make life difficult for the opposing goalie. Riley Nash put in the first two goals of the night for the B’s, and B’s captain Zdeno Chara put in the empty-netter to seal the deal late for Boston.

But once again, the player of the game was B’s alternate captain Patrice Bergeron. Bergeron scored the third and fourth goals of the game, putting the game out of reach and stealing the heat from the Flames.

Patrice Bergeron has been on fire these last few weeks. Since the start of 2018, the four-time Selke winner (and obvious first ballot into the Hockey Hall of Fame) has made NHL goalies his playthings by putting in 16 goals for the Black and Gold (including two hat tricks). Four of those goals were game-winners and he tallied an obscene 65 shots on goal.

So what does one of the hottest players currently in the National Hockey League think about being a one-man shooting gallery?

“I’m trying not to think about it,” said Bergeron with his usual honest humility. “I’m trying just to go out there, play, and stay focused…push myself to be better from one night to another and learn and watch video. Whenever it’s on the power play, [studying] my positioning and trying to find openings and things like that. To be honest with you, I’m trying to stay focused and be in the moment.”

Bergeron’s two goals helped him eclipse the 50-point plateau this season. Bergeron has hit this mark or higher every year for the last five seasons.  He’s the last of the Bruins top line to hit that mark. David Pastrnak crossed that line last week against the New York Rangers. Boston’s Little Ball of Hate Brad Marchand passed that mark in late January against the New Jersey Devils.

The Bruins top line has been one of the strongest lines in the entire league this season. It’s impossible to find a line in the league that has let in as few goals as they have. In his long career, Bergeron has been a remarkable leader and teacher to the rest of his line. He’s helped turn Marchand from a fourth-line grinder to an All-Star, and Pastrnak from a raw rookie to a future All-Star.

There’s also that small matter of putting Bergy’s name in the conversation for the Hart Trophy.

Look at the numbers Marchand and Bergeron have put up in their respective careers in Boston.  43 goals in 2010-11. 50 in 2011-12. 28 in 2012-13(but that’s because the owners wanted to stick it to the players and thus gave up half the season). The numbers are high and they stay high.

Now add in David Pastrnak and the numbers just get silly. 69 goals (10 of them game-winners) between the three of them. 156 points. 440 shots on goal and nobody on that line hits less than 14% of the time.  It’s as close to Bruins hockey perfection without mentioning the name ‘Orr’.

Patrice Bergeron is only 32. He still has five-plus years in the league. Marchand’s just 29. This power trio will be one of the dominant lines in the NHL until the mid-2020s.  Guess Bruins Nation owes a big debt of gratitude for Claude Julien for putting them together.