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.
The Bruins cooled off after riding a nineteen-game point streak into the Steel City last week. The team lost Matt Grzelcyk in their final game last week and seemed to stumble defensively when they allowed 12 goals in three games, seven of those coming against the Columbus Blue Jackets. It was a slightly uncharacteristic couple of games for the team on the road as they looked lost and outmuscled.
Thankfully, the team ended on a higher note when they returned home to the Garden at the end of their three-game road trip.
Let’s dive into this week:
Game One: Boston Bruins @ Columbus Blue Jackets (March 12th)
Despite my poor reviews of this game above, the team actually had a good start when Patrice Bergeron scored a short-handed goal early in the first and silenced the Blue Jackets’ crowd.
From there on, however, it was all Columbus as the Bruins struggled defensively, especially against the 6’3″ Josh Anderson who’s combination of physicality and play-making ability proved to much to handle in this contest. Make no mistake, Anderson isn’t an all-world talent, but he was all over the ice and recorded four points with one even-strength goal and one assist each at even strength, short-handed, and on the power play.
Josh Anderson’s line killed the Bruins all night as Anderson and ex-Ottawa Senators Matt Duchene and Ryan Dzingel combined for three goals, five assists, and ten shots on goal.
The Bruins actually made this game interesting trailing 5-1 with under seven minutes in the second period before they scored three unanswered goals from Brad Marchand (2) and Chris Wagner. That was as close as the team would get despite staying within striking distance until just over seven minutes in the third when the Blue Jackets scored to make it 6-4 and added an empty-netter for closure.
The team needed to re-group after such a poor start, despite their best efforts to come back. Luckily, the Bruins would possibly get to exact some revenge later in the week against the Blue Jackets.
Final: Bruins 4 – Blue Jackets 7
Game Two: Boston Bruins @ Winnipeg Jets (March 14th)
The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. For the second time in three nights, the Bruins got down early to a more physical team and didn’t wind up in the win column. There was also the “revenge game” narrative as Blake Wheeler faced his former team and has had decent numbers against them with seven goals and nine assists in twenty games.
Like their previous game, the Bruins had trouble with the big men on their opponent’s team as Wheeler, Mark Scheifele, and Patrick Laine are all over 6’3″ and can put up points at will as indicated by a combined 214 points on the season so far.
Unlike the other Jets, this team can actually fly and score and they did so just over a minute into the game with a goal from Wheeler. They would strike again about ten minutes later with a goal from Scheifele as the Bruins were caught in an odd-man rush, which happened earlier on the Jets’ first goal.
As the Bruins always do, however, they fought back to tie the game with a goal from Charlie Coyle with Tuukka Rask pulled when they were down two goals late in the contest. Unfortunately, they couldn’t take a lead at any point in the game and would wind up falling in the end.
Despite losing their second game in three nights and undergoing a rare three-game losing streak, the team headed home looking to get a win for Boston as St Patrick’s Day approached.
Final: Bruins 3 – Jets 4
Game Three: Boston Bruins vs Columbus Blue Jackets (March 16th)
With a legend in the building, the Bruins knew they had to put on a show for him and the city of Boston on St. Patrick’s Day. What legend could I possibly be talking about?
Yes, Connor McGregor was in the building to a place whose Irish roots are heavily embedded in the city. McGregor provided the emotional lift the Bruins needed for a rowdy crowd who got their St. Patrick’s Day drinking started a full day in advance. Needless to say, McGregor was electric in every sense of the word.
For the first time in what seemed like a long time (like one game, really), the Bruins scored first and set the tone early. They did relinquish the lead near the end of the first period, but wouldn’t allow the Blue Jackets to score for the remainder of the game. Of course, they didn’t wind up scoring either for the remainder of regulation.
With just a minute and a half remaining in 3-on-3 overtime, the beautiful pair of Bergeron and Marchand ended the game and sent the Garden faithful home happy. Marchand even mimicked McGregor and his famous strut for his walk-off celly.
It was a great way to end an otherwise lackluster week from the black-and-gold.
Final: Bruins 2 – Blue Jackets 1 (OT)
Bruins CO-MVPs of the Week
Brad Marchand & Charlie McAvoy
Marchand: 3 Goals, 2 Assists
McAvoy: 1 Goal, 1 Assist, 6 Shots, 1 Awesome Fight
With a little over three weeks remaining in the 2018-2019 NHL regular season, the Bruins currently sit as the second best team in the Eastern Conference and are tied with the Calgary Flames for the second best team in the league. The team is close to clinching a playoff spot, but still must stave off the Toronto Maple Leafs for the next best record in the Atlantic Division seeing as the Tampa Bay Lightning just clinched the President’s Trophy on Monday night. The magic number for the Bruins to clinch a playoff spot is down to four.
This upcoming week, the Bruins face-off against the New York Islanders (42-23-7), New Jersey Devils (27-37-9), Florida Panthers (32-28-12), and Tampa Bay Lightning (56-13-4).
Join us again next Tuesday as we recap these games and take a look forward to finalizing the team’s playoff seeding.
Be sure to follow me on Twitter to discuss all things Bruins @acomak8