Leading up to the end of the regular season, I will be taking a look back on the Bruins’ previous week of games and providing some analysis and lukewarm takes about the team. We all know life can get busy and we might miss a game here and there, so let me be your Bruins’ informant.
For these weekly roundups, I will be covering the games played from Monday-Monday and posting this article every Tuesday afternoon. NHL teams mostly play Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays, so we’ll have about 3-4 games per week to talk about.
February 25th – March 4th
The team made one final move before the NHL Trade Deadline by acquiring New Jersey Devils forward Marcus Johansson for a 2019 second-round pick and a 2020 fourth-round pick. Johansson had been playing on the first and second lines with the Devils while star forward Taylor Hall missed time with an injury. He had 12 goals and 15 assists in 48 games before being traded to the Bruins.
Overall, the Bruins gave up just the right amount, if not a little too much, for stability along the second line alongside David Krejci and Jake DeBrusk.
Game One: Boston Bruins vs San Jose Sharks (Feb. 26th)
After blowing a three goal lead, but ultimately defeating the San Jose Sharks 6-5 on the road in OT a week prior, the Bruins had a rematch with them at TD Garden on Tuesday night. The Sharks came into the game winning two of their last three games including a 4-0 shutout of the Pittsburgh Penguins. Their top defenseman, Erik Karlsson, returned to action against the Bruins after battling a groin injury.
Things started off rough for the Bruins as Logan Couture got the Sharks on the board with seven minutes left in the first when he crashed the net on Tuukka’s right side after an errant defensive play by the Bruins. From there, it was almost all Bruins as David Krejci got the scoring started as he ripped a one-time slap shot past Shark’s goalie Martin Jones on the power-play.
The Bruins would add a goal from Charlie McAvoy and Jake DeBrusk before Brad Marchand undressed Erik Karlsson and scored a short-handed goal to put his team up 4-1. Karlsson was in obvious distress as he had injured his groin earlier in the game and Marchand opened him up and spun him around before backhanding the puck through the wickets of Jones.
This was Marchand’s 25th-career short-handed goal and he tied Bruins great Rick Middleton for most short-handed goals in franchise history. The team improved to 9-0-1 in their last ten games and extended their points streak to fourteen straight games.
BONUS GIF (DeBrusk’s goal):
Final: Bruins 4 – Sharks 1
Game Two: Boston Bruins vs Tampa Bay Lightning (Feb. 28th)
During the regular season, there come games that can be used as a measuring stick for your team. The Tampa Bay Lightning are that team seeing as they were a perfect 10-0 in their previous ten games and had earned a point in fourteen straight. The Lightning were playing the second game of a back-to-back after just defeating the New York Rangers 4-3 in OT the night before; but make no mistake about it, Tampa is a team that can dominate its opponent on any given night.
Tampa Bay started backup goaltender Louis Domingue and he performed admirably all game – until the floodgates opened midway through the third period. Domingue’s only blemish for most of the night was a Jake DeBrusk power-play goal that was deflected by Lightning defenseman Anton Stralman. From then on, Domingue was lights out and robbed numerous Bruins shots that were ear-marked for the twine netting.
It took a hard-earned goal from the team’s fourth line of Noel Acciari and Chris Wagner to extend the lead to 2-0. Patrice Bergeron made it 3-0 and Brad Marchand scored a breakaway goal to make it 4-0 and invoke rage by Domingue as he smashed his stick off his own net’s crossbar.
Despite facing a Lightning team that was on the second game of a back-to-back, this game reassures us that the Bruins can hang with the best team in the league. Sure, it’s not a seven-game series in the playoffs, but it impresses nonetheless.
Final: Bruins 4 – Lightning 1
Game Three: Boston Bruins vs New Jersey Devils (March 2nd)
Marcus Johansson was traded from the Devils to the Bruins on February 25th and it didn’t take too long before he got to face his former team. Johansson didn’t do much against his former team except for mustering one shot, which was not bad considering the team only won 1-0. They scored the only goal of the night on the stick of Brad Marchand that came not nearly three minutes into the game.
It wasn’t too eventful of a game aside from Marchand’s goal and his failed penalty shot attempt that came later in the first period. Devils’ goalie MacKenzie Blackwood played well and stopped 29 of 30 shots in the losing effort. This win was somewhat of a letdown considering the Devils are 25-33-8 and are a bottom-five team in the league, but a win is a win as the saying goes.
This win extended the Bruins’ point streak to sixteen straight games.
Final: Bruins 1 – Devils 0
- The Bruins second line continues to be a force on the ice during the team’s points streak and they continued to contribute this past week:
- David Krejci: 1 goal, 1 assist
- Jake DeBrusk: 2 goals, 1 assist
- Marcus Johansson: 1 assist, 4 shots
- Brad Marchand had accumulated 666 penalty minutes (PIM) and played in his 666th career game against the New Jersey Devils.
- David Pastrank last played against the Colorado Avalanche on February 10th and the Bruins have gone 8-0-1 in his absence.
- Tuukka Rask stopped 40 of 41 shots in his two starts this week and has gone 14-0-3 with a .933 SV% over his past 17 starts.
Bruins MVP of the Week
Brad Marchand: 3 G, 2 A, 5 Points, +4 Rating (1 SHG)
Bruins Record: 39-17-9
The Bruins are well on their way to the Stanley Cup Playoffs and have 17 games remaining in the regular season. This upcoming week, the Bruins face-off against the surging Carolina Hurricanes (36-23-6), the Florida Panthers (28-26-11), Ottawa Senators (23-38-5), and Pittsburgh Penguins (34-22-9).
Join us again next Tuesday as we recap these games and take a look forward to where the Bruins will wind up in the playoff seeding.
Be sure to follow me on Twitter to discuss all things Bruins @acomak8