by Bob Morello
Bruins look to ride Classic win
With the satisfaction of having pinned a 4-2 loss on the Chicago Blackhawks at the 2019 NHL Winter Classic at Notre Dame Stadium, the Bruins will take the two points and look forward to continuing the New Year’s festivities during their four-game homestand. At the end of the game Tuukka Rask took off his specially designed for the Classic goalie mask, knowing that he had delivered an impressive effort, and could take pleasure in having one-upped the Rask-haters. His effort was solid from beginning to end, as he allowed an early goal to Chicago’s Brendan Perlini in the first period, and then put up the barricade, stopping all but one of the Blackhawks’ remaining shots.
Rask came up big twice on Chicago’s All-Star, Patrick Kane, stopping him first on a breakaway close to the end of the first period, and again with a spectacular stop on Kane’s shot from the slot with less than 40 seconds remaining in the game and the Bruins up by one goal. With a jam-packed stadium of 79.126 in attendance, Rask disappointed the majority of them, as the crowd was heavily weighted with Blackhawks fans from nearby (90 miles) Chicago. Rask earned high praise from his teammates who appreciated his efforts that once again put the Bs into a playoff spot, but Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy summed it up best with: “You get two points, but it’s more than just an average game. You’re playing in front of what, 80,000 people on national TV, two historical franchises. Everyone wants to see a good hockey game, and we just want to be on top. It worked out well for everybody, specifically for us.”
David Pastrnak tied things up (1-1) for Boston, scoring his 24th goal on a nice feed from Patrice Bergeron. Pastrnak returned the favor, feeding Bergeron who scored (#13) in the second period to tie the game at 2-2. The solid performance throughout the game by the fourth-line, saw Chris Wagner setting up the game-winner, as Matt Grzelcyk’s shot bounced off Kane’s body, landing in the perfect spot on the ice for Sean Kuraly to cash in with the go-ahead goal (#4). Putting the cherry on the tasty win was Brad Marchand’s empty-netter (#13) with 33 seconds remaining.
The Bruins return to Garden ice for a four-game homestand, beginning with tonight’s game (Thursday 7:00pm) as they take on the Calgary Flames. The Flames are currently battling the Vegas Golden Knights and the San Jose Sharks for the top spot in the Pacific Division. Saturday (1/5 at 7:00pm), the Buffalo Sabres, who at press time were tied with Boston (48 points), will provide the opposition. The Sabres, despite their red-hot start to the season have cooled off a bit, posting a record of 4-4-2 of for their last ten games. The Minnesota Wild are battling to get into a playoff spot, and will be hosted by the Bruins on Tuesday (1/8 at 7:00pm). The Wild have been struggling of late, with a lackluster 3-6-1 record in their last ten games. The Bruins’ homestand will end Thursday (1/10 7:00pm), when the streaking Washington Capitals invade the Garden, looking to add to their impressive record, as they ride on the strength of eight wins in their previous ten games.