11/2 Boston 0 – Nashville 1
Anytime a team from the Western Conference and a team from the Eastern Conference matchup it potentially could be a Stanley Cup Final preview. You really just never know what could happen in the 82 game NHL season. Just take a look at the Vegas Golden Knights last year. No one thought they would even make the playoffs, and what do they do? They go all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals. So yes, any matchup of the different conferences could be a Cup Final preview, but this game especially. On paper, these two teams are two of the strongest teams in the NHL. It seems that every season, when it comes down to the wire, these two are in the hunt for the top of the standings in their division and conference.
This was another great game in the young season, but maybe not so much for the Bruins offense. Jaroslav Halak was incredible yet again and has made it clear he is the number 1 guy between the pipes for the Bruins as of now. After giving up an early first period goal, Halak really settled into this one saving 39 of 40 shots faced including this big save:
Having Halak has been so much better than I ever thought it would be. When the Bruins signed him, my first reaction was “this guy is so washed up, why are we wasting our backup role on him with young guys still developing that would be better.” Well clearly I was wrong and Halak has taken over the starter role from Tuukka Rask. Now this isn’t set in stone since Tuukka has had flashes of excellence at times, but has just been inconsistent. Tuukka should be getting the start on Monday night against the Dallas Stars, and a good game by him could push him right back into the starting role.
11/5 Boston 2 – Dallas 1 (OT)
In a game that saw a few some Dallas Stars returning to the TD Garden ice (Tyler Seguin and Anton Khudobin) it was all Bruins from the start. The B’s were skating hard and fast creating many scoring opportunities. The best thing that I saw that was improved from the shutout loss to Nashville was the net front presence in the offensive zone. Although the Bruins had many scoring opportunities they lacked finish in this one against former backup goalie Anton Khudobin who played outstanding with a little help from his best friend, the post. Boston hit the pipe on 3 separate occasions, once in overtime when Brad Marchand found Patrice Bergeron for the one timer that beat Khudobin.
Tuukka Rask was in goal for this one and after a horrible start giving up yet another bad angle goal that should have been an easy save, he locked in and played great the rest of the way. We have to hope that this game boosts the confidence of Tuukka and he can stay in good form heading deeper into November.
After giving up the lead on the aforementioned Dallas goal, David Pastrnak was able to tie the game shortly thereafter. He got a nice pass from Patrice Bergeron and one-timed it past Khudobin to tie the game.
When it came down to it, neither team could get the deciding blow in regulation and the game subsequently went to overtime. Once again it was all Bruins from the start when they put their dominant overtime line of Bergeron, Marchand and Torey Krug. With less than 2 minutes to go in OT, the Stars made a mistake that would cost them the game when they got called for too many men on the ice. Shortly into the penalty kill the Stars took another penalty on a cross checking call. Now a 5-on-3 power play for the Bruins they finally were able to beat Khudobin. Marchand held the puck down on the goal line and waited for the opening where he put it right by Khudobin’s head and ended the game.
11/8 Boston 5 – Vancouver 8
In what truly was a back and forth game the Vancouver Canucks were able to get on the board first when Bo Horvat picked the puck off in the attacking zone and buried it from the top of the circles past Jaroslav Halak.
Matt Grzelcyk tied the game on his first goal of the season late in the first period.
This gave the Bruins some momentum heading into the dressing room before the start of the 2nd period. It proved to continue at the start of the 2nd when Patrice Bergeron corralled a rebound from a Torey Krug wrist shot, and put it past Jacob Markstrom for the 2-1 lead.
This lead would not hold up however and Vancouver would score two quick goals to take a 3-2 lead midway through the 2nd. The Bruins then showed something that they were good at last year, resiliency. Jake DeBrusk was able to tie the game at three only 32 seconds after Vancouver took the lead. He tipped a David Krejci past Markstrom.
This wouldn’t be his only goal of the game as he scored a much needed power play goal late in the 2nd period after Vancouver jumped all over Jaroslav Halak and made the score 5-3. Tuukka Rask came off the bench to replace him and the Bruins started to turn it around when they got the power play and DeBrusk tipped in a great pass from Torey Krug right in front of the net.
Just when we all thought the crazy second period was done. Vancouver was able to slip one past Tuukka with only 33 seconds left to increase the lead back to 2 goals for yet another momentum shift heading into the break.
The third period picked up right where it left off in the way that Vancouver was all over the Bruins. They were able to extend their lead to 8-4 halfway through the period and the Bruins just never seemed to get back into it. Danton Heinen was able to score on the power play to make it 8-5, but it wasn’t enough to get the boys back in the game.
Well not a great week for the Bruins as they only get 2 out of a possible 6 points. As we get closer to Thanksgiving they really need to start to string together a series of wins as collect as many points as possible. This is the time of year where we start to see who the playoff teams are going to be, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that it is set in stone. A lot can happen in the next few months of the season.
The Week Ahead
We will see the Bruins another three times this coming week as they get it started on Saturday the 10th at home against Toronto at 7pm. This is a big game as all division games are, but the Bruins can make a statement with a win against one of the top teams in the NHL.
Then the B’s are right back at it on Sunday night against the Vegas Golden Knights and they finish off the week on Wednesday 11/14 in Colorado to take on the Avalanche in the start of a four game road trip.
Videos courtesy of NHL.com