Bruins off to a Good Start
Taking a page from Sonny & Cher’s songbook: “The Beat Goes On,” the red-hot Bruins, after taking a huge bite out of the San Jose Sharks with Tuesday’s 5-1 attack, now own an impressive record of 9-1-2. Boston has now taken a point out of eleven of their last dozen games…not bad – eh? The team has also started to enjoy some additional goal-scoring, getting help with secondary scoring. Tuesday’s game featured goals from David Krejci (#1), Charlie Coyle (#2), Chris Wagner (#1) and Brandon Carlo (#2), with all but one goal coming from the top line’s, David Pastrnak. Pasta’s league leading 12th goal extended his point streak to 10 games, second only to Brad Marchand’s personal 11 game point streak, and at press time Pastrnak is the top point-getter in the NHL with 24 points.
Not to be overlooked in the umbrella of scoring the Bruins have enjoyed of late, is the solid performances they’ve received from their goaltending tandem of Tuukka Rask and Jaroslav Halak. Rask is definitely in the ‘zone,’ he wasn’t overwhelmed with shots by San Jose, as they were only able to put 17 of them on his net. Having stopped 16 of them, he now boasts a save percentage of .951, to go along with his 1.42 goals-against-average – including two shutouts and a spotless 6-0-0 record. Halak has performed well in his opportunities to play, with a record of 3-1-0, including a goals-against-average of 2.59, a .919 save percentage, and one shutout.
Tuesday’s win has put the Bruins into a tie with the Buffalo Sabres, each with 20 points, and Boston having played one game less. Encouraging is the strong play of David Backes; he has shown veteran experience on many occasions, such as the sharp pass to Wagner, sending him in on a breakaway to beat Sharks goaltender Martin Jones through the five-hole. Considering the fact that the Sharks hit TD Garden ice with the most effective penalty kill in the NHL at 93.2%, the Bs had no problem in quickly putting two powerplay goals in the San Jose net. Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy approved of the team’s powerplay efforts with, “Skill guys feel good about themselves when they score, I don’t think they care if it’s five-on-five or power play. They want to touch the puck and they want to finish. How it effects the other team, typically they’re going to have to be a little more disciplined, a little more careful about what penalties they take, there’s that effect. I think at home when it’s on, it looks good so you get the fans into the game. It’s typically the first group but tonight I thought the second unit did their part too, throwing it around.”
This season thus far has been rewarding as coach Cassidy summed up the progress to date, “I think these past four, five, six games, we’ve progressively tightened up, played more our style where teams have got to earn their way out there. I thought at the start of the year we were a little bit too loose, even though our goals against was down. I thought that was a product of probably our goaltenders and then playing the right way once we got the lead. But, I see us more start to finish now, playing that way. I like where we’re at, playing good times.
Amazing to see Joe Thornton still out on the ice celebrating his 22nd year in the NHL. As the Bruins’ #1 pick overall in 1997 at 18 years old, “Jumbo Joe” has done it all, except win a Stanley Cup. Playing the bulk of his career with San Jose, Thornton has career stats that shine: 1,579 games played to date; 413 goals scored with 1,069 assists; and a total of 1,482 points. After enjoying a couple of days without a game scheduled, the Bruins will be back on Garden ice Saturday (7:00pm), to host the Ottawa Senators who remain at the last to the bottom spot of the Eastern Conference standings (3-7-1), on Monday (11/4 at 7:00pm) the Bs will do battle with the Sidney Crosby-led Pittsburgh Penguins. The three-games in four-days schedule ends with a Tuesday night (7:30pm) confrontation with the Bruins traveling to Canada to take on their 5-4-2 Atlantic Division rival Montreal Canadiens.