The Boston Bruins finished off their regular season as defending Stanley Cup champions with a 4-3 shootout win over the Buffalo Sabres and all it took was the power of three: the line of Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and Tyler Seguin working at tiptop potential.
- Marchand scored his 28th goal of the season on what would be the final regulation goal of the Bruins’ season. Back in October, he also scored the first goal for 2011-12. But back in June, he also scored the last goal of the playoffs. He kind of has a thing for book-ender goals.
- Bergeron had a huge night, assisting on all three Bruins goals and then providing the only shootout goal needed to secure the victory.
- Seguin put away his 28th and 29th goals, winning the goal-scoring race against Marchand. By doing so, he becomes the youngest Bruin to ever hold the scoring lead for the season. The most recent 20-year-old to have that title? Patrice Bergeron in 2005-06.
The first period of this game 82, though, was so devoid of action that Jack Edwards asked the team to watch Contact during intermission. He may have been inspired to ask this by the first-period fight between Shawn Thornton and Robyn Regehr, because aside from that, there was just not much physicality between these same-division teams that have occasionally really clashed this season.
If the Sabres looked deflated at first, then they inflated for the second and third periods, when they scored three unanswered goals. It looked as if the Bruins might begin and finish this season with a loss until the rallying started. Seguin scored his second goal on the power play and Marchand put his away a little more than two minutes later to tie up the game until the end of regulation. Then, in the shootout, Tim Thomas was perfect again, stopping all three Sabres shooters. To be fair, Jhonas Enroth also stopped Seguin and David Krejci, but he failed to stop Bergeron and in the end, that was all that mattered.
Did you know? Including this game, the Bruins have a 32-0-0 record this season whenever leading after two periods. They are the only team in league history to be perfect in that situation.
Before the game, four pregame awards were given to five different players.
- Eddie Shore Award–Zdeno Chara. The Shore Award is for the player who has shown “exceptional hustle and determination.” Considering Chara leads the team in time on ice, has a career high in points at 52 and has a +33 rating, I’d say he epitomizes these principles needed for an award named for a fellow blueliner.
- Elizabeth Dufresne Trophy–Brad Marchand. The Dufresne Trophy goes to a player who has done very well in home games. While playing in the TD Garden, Marchand scored a team-high 17 goals and tallied 30 points total this season.
- John Bucyk Award–Brad Marchand. The Bucyk Award, whose winner is chosen by Bucyk himself, is meant for a player who makes notable off-ice contributions. This year Marchand started Brad’s Brigade, giving pediatric cancer patients and their families a fun day away from other worries with great game seats, goodies and a meet-and-greet session.
- Three Stars of the Year–1. Tim Thomas, 2. Patrice Bergeron, 3. Milan Lucic. Thomas put together a great 35-19-1 season with five shutouts, his fourth NHL season with at least 30 wins. Bergeron leads the team in assists, is in the 20+ goals club and tops the entire league in plus-minus. Lucic has more than 60 points and more than 130 penalty minutes to his name.
Next up for the Bruins: the Washington Capitals, after a complicated bit of last day win-and-loss involving the Capitals, the Florida Panthers and the Ottawa Senators. The schedule for the playoff games will be released on April 8.