Bruins get the bounce
It’s not very often that the Bruins have been on the receiving end of lucky ‘puck bounces,’ but Tuesday night versus the Minnesota Wild, they definitely were. When you factor into their 4-0 whitewash of the Wild, which included Patrice Bergeron’s 14th goal of the season banked into the goal off his skate, and then the unlikely bounce of John Moore’s shot which bounced off the spoked-B on Jake DeBrusk’s jersey and into the net for his 14th of the season, I guess you could say it was a bit of ‘puck luck’ for Boston. In addition to the bounces of the puck, the Bruins skated and dominated throughout the game, managing the puck well, while Tuukka Rask managed to keep the puck out of the Boston net with 24 saves, while on his way to his first shutout of the season, the 42nd of his career, and his 250th win – not a bad night’s work.
In all fairness to the Wild, they didn’t arrive in Boston until 3;00am on Tuesday morning game day, following a grueling 1-0 win over the Montreal Canadiens Monday night in tough set of back-to-back games, while Boston waited, and rested. In earning their fifth win in a row, the Bs jumped off to a quick start in the first period, putting three pucks behind Minnesota’s backup goaltender Alex Stalock. Boston’s first line once again figured heavily in the scoring, with Brad Marchand and Bergeron each notching three points with a goal and two assists. It was a game that saw some help come from the blueline as well, with Torey Krug and John Moore each earning a pair of assists. The strong effort was highlighted by the power play and the penalty-killing teams which ended up with Boston going 2 for 2 on the power play, and 3 for 3 on the all-important penalty-kill which has now totaled 15 for their last 15 kills. Rumor has it that Bruins defenseman Charlie McAvoy may return to the lineup on Thursday from his six-game absence, and face the Capitals.
For the Bruins the schedule will continue to be heavy, with six games to be played in the next ten days leading up to the All-Star Game in San Jose. Coming up will be the defending Stanley Cup Champion, Washington Capitals, currently riding a two-game win streak, and holding the number three spot, two points ahead of the Bruins in the Eastern Conference standings. In an attempt to end the tough luck the locals have endured when playing the Capitals in the past, coach Bruce Cassidy offered up this thought when asked if he had a goaltending plan: “We haven’t had much success against them (Washington), so we’re leaning towards, I’ll tell you flat out (Jaroslav) Halak, because he hasn’t started against them in a Bruins uniform. So kind of like (when we played) Anaheim – throw a different guy in there and get a result. That would be a switch and getting Jaro his game, but Tuukka’s now earning the – I don’t want to say the net back, I don’t think that’s the appropriate term, but more starts.”
With a game scheduled at least every other night for the Bs, the January workload continues with a trip to Toronto on Saturday (7:00pm) to face the high-scoring Maple Leafs, who are also two points ahead of Boston, in both the Atlantic Division and the Eastern Conference standings. This is the first of three important games on their upcoming schedule, as the Bs will host division rival Montreal Canadiens on Monday (7:30pm), followed by a trip to Philadelphia to take on the cellar-dwelling (36 points) Flyers (Wednesday 7:30pm), then returning to TD Garden ice for a two-game homestand. On Thursday (1/17 at 7:00pm) they take on another cellar-dweller (38 points), the St. Louis Blues, with the final game leading into the All-Star Game break coming on Saturday (1/19 at 7:00pm) with the New York Rangers who are currently riding a four-game losing streak.