The Bruins have become masters of suspense and intrigue, featuring drama. Taking their show to Dallas last night (Tuesday), they provided suspense by losing 50 of their 62 faceoff attempts, something that rarely happens to this team, led by the Captain Patrice Bergeron who usually owns the faceoff circle. Adding to the intrigue was the interference penalty assessed to Brad Marchand that came just 32-seconds into the overtime, drawn by former Bruin Tyler Seguin. Boston’s outstanding league leading penalty kill seemed to inspire the team who came into the overtime with renewed energy, while still in a 4-on-4 matchup following Marchand’s OT penalty. Pavel Zacha corralled the puck and rushed up ice following the penalty kill, allowing Charlie McAvoy access to the offensive zone, and put him in position to make a perfect pass to Pastrnak for his trademark one-timer, and the 3-2 game-winning goal (#39). Pasta now trails Connor McDavid whose 42 goals now gives him a three goal advantage over Pastrnak, who holds the fifth spot in NHL point leaders, with 74 points (39-35).
It wasn’t all fun and games on the night, as the Stars put a couple of goals through the five-hole and behind Linus Ullmark, the NHL’s leader in goals-against-average (1.90), which would usually be routine saves for him. Despite allowing the pair of goals, Ullmark bounced back strong, and his 29-save win upped his impressive totals to 27-4-1. The awful night in the faceoff circle was compounded with the inability of the powerplay units who both went scoreless in their three total chances, extending that powerplay dry spell to now reach the 0-20 mark. On the plus side, Bruins head coach Jim Montgomery notched his 100th win as a head coach, ironically enough with victories he earned in Boston and while coach of these same Dallas Stars. The victory keeps the Bruins at the top of the NHL standings with a record of 40-8-5, and also marked the first team to achieve 40 wins this season.
Jake DeBrusk is close to returning to the lineup following his injuries (thumb and leg) during the Winter Classic win. Coach Montgomery has mentioned on a couple of occasions the fact that the team especially misses DeBrusk’s speed, and his ability to track down pucks. The chances are good that he will be back on board tonight (Thursday) versus the Nashville Predators. Despite missing 15 games, DeBrusk’s 16 goals keeps him tied with Marchand and Taylor Hall for third in goals on the Bruins roster. Following tonight’s game with the Predators, the Bruins will return to TD Garden, to begin a brief two-game homestand during which they will host the New York Islanders on Saturday (5:00pm), and a Monday (1:00pm) matinee versus the Ottawa Senators. The Sens’ goaltending tandem of Cam Talbot and Anton Forsberg has taken another hit after Talbot was out injured, now Forsberg has suffered MCL tears to both knees, and is likely out for the remainder of the season. Boston will follow up this short homestand by returning to the road to begin a tough four-game road trip with stops in Seattle, Vancouver, Edmonton and Calgary.