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 clinched the second seed in the Atlantic Division and are scheduled to face the Toronto Maple Leafs in the opening round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. We did have a few games before the end of the regular season, however, so let’s take a look at these before we preview the Leafs series.
Game One: Boston Bruins @ Columbus Blue Jackets (April 2nd)
With a chance to clinch home-ice in the first round of the playoffs, the Bruins were looking to defeat a Blue Jackets team that gave them fits the last time the team was in Columbus. Seeing as the Bruins have had late-season struggles, I don’t think it was going to surprise anyone if they came out on the wrong side of this one.
Well, if you thought the way I thought, then you were on the complete opposite end of the spectrum as the Bruins decimated and embarrassed the Blue Jackets in their own building with that obnoxious cannon. Jake DeBrusk had two goals, while Brad Marchand, David Pastrnak, and Marcus Johansson added goals of their own to take a commanding 5-0 lead early on into the third period.
One of the nice things to see in this game was the bounce back performance from Tuukka Rask as he had given up eight goals on fifty shots in his previous two starts. Rask has been notorious for bad play down the stretch of a season, especially when he nears his 50th start. They’ll need him to be at his best as the Bruins would cruise to the finish line in this one and secure the home-ice for their opening series against the Maple Leafs.
Final: Bruins 5 – Blue Jackets 2
Game Two: Boston Bruins @ Minnesota Wild
Now, that the Bruins clinched home-ice, there were only a couple of things that the team needed to worry about: 1) getting players rest who needed rest and 2) making sure everyone remained healthy. They accomplished one of those goals as Brad Marchand and David Krejci sat out and they recalled Zachary Senyshyn from the AHL Providence Bruins to provide that rest for those players.
Unfortunately, Kevin Miller was injured in the game and is expected to miss at least the first round of the playoffs. Hopefully, he will be back as soon as possible in anticipation for the second round should the team make it past Toronto.
Jaroslav Halak started in net and pitched a 26-save shutout in relief of Rask. It was a nice performance against Ryan Donato’s current club who had just been eliminated from playoff contention one game earlier.
Joakim Nordstrom, David Pastrnak, and Senyshyn all scored goals and the team took care of business before they headed back home for one final matchup against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Final: Bruins 3 – Wild 0
Game Three: Boston Bruins vs Tampa Bay Lightning
Like the team’s last game against the Wild, there really wasn’t much to play for in this one. Unlike the last one, however, there was a little sense of urgency in the back of the players’ minds since they were playing a team who they could very well see if they make it to the second round of the playoffs. Sure, the game itself means nothing, but for any competitive person like these players are, there’s always a lingering thought or two about the future.
If you turned the game off after the first period, then you saved yourself the pain of watching the Lightning dominate and control as they scored four unanswered goals after they were outscored 2-0 in the first. Matt Grzelcyk made it interesting late in the third after slapping a shot pasted Tampa’s fifth-string goalie Eddie Pasquale (which you can add to the Italian Name Hall of Fame).
It was all for nought when Rask let in one of the softest goals all season to make it 5-3 and Tyler Johnson added an empty-netter to finish the Bruins off. Don’t worry, though, it’s all going according to plan:
Final: Bruins 3 – Lightning 6
- Marcus Johansson scored his first goal as a Bruin against the Blue Jackets.
- The Tampa Bay Lightning tied the 1995-96 Detroit Red Wings for the most wins in a season with 62.
- The Bruins will face the Toronto Maple Leafs for the third time in the last seven seasons dating back to 2012-13. The Bruins have won both series with dramatic game sevens in both of them.
- Zach Senyshyn scored his first goal in his first NHL game with an empty-netter against the Wild.
Bruins MVP of the Week
The Team: Home-Ice Clinched for Round One
Now that the regular season has ended, we can finally look forward to the playoffs. The playoffs are a special time where memories can be made: both joyous and devastating. Last season, the Bruins won an exciting seven-game series against the Maple Leafs, only to bow out to the Lightning in the next round.
Expectations are certainly high for the third-best team in the NHL, so we will need to breakdown the opening round the only way I know how: the non-hockey wizard’s preview!
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