Backed by the stellar goaltending of Bruins rookie Dan Vladar making his first career start on Tuesday night versus the streaking Pittsburgh Penguins – winners of six in a row – Boston got back on the winning trail. Even though one victory doesn’t necessarily mean a win streak is in the making, Vladar’s victory gave the team a boost that the locals hope will carry over as they remain on the road to face the Buffalo Sabres who at press time are mired in the very bottom of the Eastern Division. On the strength of goals from David Pastrnak (13) and the 2-1 winner from Trent Frederic in the third period, the Czech-born goalie provided the standout game the Bruins badly needed…and put the team’s recent abysmal streak of 5-7-2 in the rear-view mirror.
With visions of devouring two victories versus the lowly Sabres, who just this Wednesday fired their coach Ralph Krueger who was in his second season, following a dozen straight losses (0-10-2), the Bruins know the importance of not looking past this pair of game. Games are scheduled for Thursday (tonight, 7pm), and Saturday in a 2pm matinee. Following their pair of road games with Buffalo, the Bruins will return to the friendly confines of the Boston Garden, and the beginning of fans in the seats. Albeit the crowd will just be a small percentage of the usual sellout, it will be a welcome sound to hear the fans cheering (and booing if necessary). The team’s stay at home will be an extended one with eight games jammed into less than two weeks.
The jam packed home schedule includes visits that begin with the high-flying New York Islanders (19-7-4) on Tuesday 7pm and Thursday 7pm, with a single game to take on the Sabres in a Saturday 1pm matinee. The extended homestand continues with the struggling New Jersey Devils being hosted by the Bruins on Sunday in a rare 5:30pm faceoff, and a Tuesday 7pm drop. Beginning Thursday April 1st, the remaining teams checking in at the Garden are, the revenge-seeking Penguins on Thursday, April first (and that is no joke) – at 7pm, and a rematch on Saturday for a 1pm matinee. The final game of this homestand will have a single-game visit from the Philadelphia Flyers on Monday, April 5th at 7pm. The Bruins have been victorious in their previous five games with the Flyers.
Boston’s roster continues to deal with an injury list that continues to grow with each passing game, on Tuesday it was defenseman Jarred Tinordi who received a check while in a somewhat vulnerable position, from Pittsburgh’s Brandon Tanev who received a five-minute major penalty for boarding, which also included a game misconduct. Currently, the Boston injury report includes: goaltender Tuukka Rask, players on injured reserve have defensemen Kevan Miller (return soon is likely), and fellow blue-liners Brandon Carlo who remains out following the vicious check from Washington Capitals’ Tom Wilson, and Jeremy Lauzon, plus Zack Senyshyn, and Ondrej Kase with no return date in the near future for the latter.