Bruins look to extend win streak
If Tuesday’s 5-0 win, over the then, first-place New York Islanders in the Metropolitan Division, needed a song playing in the background…probably fitting would have been The Dells’ 1969 hit “Oh What a Night.” The strong, almost perfect 60-minute performance by the Bruins was impressive to say the least. The Dells’ song hit #1 on the ‘Soul Singles’ chart, and the Bruins game could easily have registered #1 for the way the entire team played – with plenty of ‘soul.’
Several players turned in solid performance, beginning with Sean Kuraly who scored two goals (#7 & 8), a nice goal contributed by Noel Acciari (#4), along with what is beginning to seem automatic, a Patrice Bergeron goal (#28), and the speedy Jake DeBrusk goal (#23). Add to that Tuukka Rask’s fourth shutout of the season, and his 45th career blanking, facing only a baker’s dozen of shots (13), plus the blanket-like defense turned in throughout the game by the entire Bruins blueline corps. Following the game Rask explained, “I don’t know if they had five scoring chances, no game is easy in the NHL, that’s for sure. There’s always going to be some kind of chances against, but I think if you look at the overall team effort and how we played, I guess it qualifies as an easy game.” The Bruins welcomed the return of David Pastrnak to the lineup, following a month on the sidelines with a thumb injury, and although he didn’t find his way on to the score sheet, he did not look out of place.
Boston’s dominance over the Islanders was obvious from the drop of the puck, as the Isles managed just two shots on net in the first period, six in the second, and five in the third. For their effort, the Bruins were able to expand their lead over the third-place Toronto Maple Leafs by six points in the battle for home ice advantage in the upcoming playoffs, as the Leafs were shutout 3-0 by the Nashville Predators. With Boston currently at 44-20-9, and nine games left on the schedule, they are in a good position to repeat with 50 regular season wins. Three of the Bruins next four games are against teams that are out of the playoffs. In either case, it’s on to New Jersey to face the Devils in the second game of the Bs four-game road trip, as the locals attempt to extend their win streak to three with a victory.
On the injury report and closer to returning to the lineup, Torey Krug (concussion protocol), Matt Grzelcyk and Marcus Johansson (lung contusion). Defenseman Kevan Miller is not expected to join the team on this current trip. Though not confirmed by Cassidy, Jaroslav Halak will likely be in goal tonight (Thursday) versus New Jersey, with Rask possibly minding the Boston net on both Friday (Florida) and Monday (Tampa). As is always the case, Cassidy will make those decisions prior to game time, and the situation at that time. Boston’s road trip will continue with stops following tonight’s game with the Devils, (Thursday at 7:00pm), with the Florida Panthers (Saturday at 7:00pm), and end the trip on a high note, with Tampa Bay Lightning hosting the Bs on Monday at 7:30. Tampa recently clinched the President’s Trophy (best regular season record) for the first time in their franchise history, currently posting 116 points to lead the NHL. The Bs will return to TD Garden ice on a rare Wednesday night (7:30pm) game to take on the rebuilding New York Rangers who currently hold 13th place in the Eastern Conference standings.