11/10 Bruins 5 – Maple Leafs 1
Just when the Bruins needed a strong bounce back game after a miserable loss to Vancouver on Thursday night, they got just that. All around this was a great game up and down the lineup. Jaroslav Halak was back to his strong form in this one when the Bruins needed it most. While Tuukka Rask is gone for personal reasons, they are going to rely heavily on Halak and his hot glove.
When the B’s signed Halak they were hoping that he would be better than he has in the past few years. What they didn’t expect was that nearing the middle of November, Halak is very clearly in contention for the Vezina Trophy. He may be four wins back of the league leaders, but his save percentage (.941) and goals against average (1.86) are both third in the NHL.
Speaking of league leaders, what a game by the Bruins first line once again, surprise, surprise. David Pastrnak led the way with yet another hat trick. He now is the league leader in goals with 15, three ahead of Patrick Kane. You can see all three of his goals here:
Patrice Bergeron got the first goal of the night for the B’s when he redirected a shot on goal in the net. He also had two assists on the night for a total of 3 points and putting himself tied for the league lead in points with 24 (9 goals, 15 assists).
Brad Marchand finished the game with two assists on the night giving him 14 for the season. When this line is firing on all cylinders it is must watch hockey. All three of these guys are special players and the chemistry they have built together is exceptional. We will see tomorrow night if they can keep it going on back to back nights.
11/11 Bruins 4 – Golden Knights 1
Going into this game the Bruins had only played on back to back nights twice this season. In the second game of the back to back the B’s are 1-1 so even with a small sample size, this game could have gone either way. Not to mention the defending Western Conference Champions were in town for this one.
Jaroslav Halak was in goal once again for this game playing on back to back nights. This is a sign to me that the Bruins expect Tuukka Rask back in a short amount of time. With the age of Halak and his struggles in the past, I don’t think they would try to get as many minutes out of him as possible this early in the season. Yeah, I understand sticking with the hot hand, but that hot hand is more than likely to cool off in the near future. Nonetheless, Halak was great once again. He has made 77 saves on 79 shots in the past two days, nothing short of incredible for the Bruins backup, now starting goaltender.
Here is something that I haven’t said too much this season. There were multiple goals from guys that are not on the first line for this team. Danton Heinen got his second goal of the season to open the scoring in the first period off a great play with Anders Bjork when Heinen led Bjork down the right wing and tipped in the pass in front of the net from Bjork on a Bergeron-Marchand style give and go.
The Bruins got their second goal of the night later in the first period when Jeremy Lauzon got his first career NHL goal on a huge mistake by Golden Knights goalie Malcolm Subban when Sean Kuraly dumped the puck off the end boards and Subban tried to bat the puck and completely missed leaving an empty net for Lauzon to bury the shot.
Then the best line in hockey did what they do best, especially on the power play, and score they did. It started with Brad Marchand giving the Bruins the 3-0 lead when he scored from the dirty area right in front of the net on a rebound.
After the Vegas got a goal in the 2nd period to get it back to a two goal game, the B’s went back on the power play and the league leader in goals got another one. David Pastrnak got his 16th of the season when Torey Krug made a slap pass to him in his usual spot on the left circle and buried the one timer past Subban for the 4-1 lead sealing this win.
In this four game home stand the Bruins were able to pick up 6 of 8 possible points to get themselves tied with the Maple Leafs for 2nd place in the Atlantic Division. However due to the tiebreaker the Bruins are in third place, but the season is still somewhat young and things may change. Hopefully Tuukka Rask will return to the Bruins very soon and find the Vezina worthy performance he has played at time and time again.
11/14 Bruins 3 – Avalanche 6
What a roller coaster of emotions this game gave us. We went from watching one of the most exciting, fast-paced periods of hockey we will see all season in the first period, to loathing by the end of the game. Going into this one I think it was expected to be this kind of game having two of the best lines in hockey going up against one another. The Avalanche have one of the games youngest stars in center Nathan MacKinnon and his line with Mikko Rantanen and Gabriel Landeskog. They proved to be a handful for the B’s as they combined for 6 points on the night en route to the win for the Av's.
The Bruins did have their moments early on in this game. After Landeskog put the Av’s on top in this one, the B’s came storming back starting with, you guessed it, David Pastrnak. He scored his league leading 17th of the season and league leading 8th power play goal on a great feed from David Krejci.
From here it was all Bruins. Jake DeBrusk got the 2nd for the B’s as he was able to pick off a sloppy pass from the Av’s, breakaway down ice and beat Varlamov to give the B’s the lead.
Through the first few weeks of the season, the Bruins were not getting much secondary scoring if any at all, and without that they aren’t going to win many games. Jake DeBrusk as well as Krejci and Heinen are guys that they are relying on for that secondary scoring. DeBrusk has definitely been getting it going as of late. He then got his 2nd of the game at the beginning of the second period on the power play. David Pastrnak took a slap shot from the point and DeBrusk got the deflection past Varlamov to extend the lead 3-1.
The two goals on the night now give him 4 goals and 2 assists in his last 5 games. If he can continue to produce and give the team that secondary scoring this team can go a long way.
But, with all the positive that happened early in the game, there were quite a few negatives. The biggest negative on the night (other than the loss) was Zdeno Chara exiting the game late in the first period with an apparent lower body injury. The team has not announced what the actual injury is, or whether or not he will miss anytime. However, I saw the play and it did not look good for Chara. He has had problems with his legs in the past and I fear that he may have an MCL sprain at the very least. If that’s the case he may miss a month or two but he would be able to return this season. If it’s anything worse, who knows what will happen, Chara is 41 years old.
After DeBrusk put the B’s up 3-1 and Chara left hurt the game flipped and was all Avalanche. They put 5 unanswered goals up on Halak who clearly couldn’t handle the firepower from that great Avalanche first line. All is good though, Tuukka Rask is back with the Bruins and will likely get the start in their next game, giving Halak a much needed break.
The Week Ahead
This week is going to be a challenging one for the B’s as they finish up the last 3 games of their four game road trip. On Friday night they travel to Dallas to take on the Stars again and hope to get another win against them as they did on the 5th. Saturday the team will be over in the desert of Arizona to take on a hot Coyotes team. They then finish off the week and road trip in Detroit on Wednesday night.
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