Boston Bruins Week in Review: Week 2
A look back at Week Two
The Bruins turned the tide against the Carolina Hurricanes, who dealt them four losses in all four games played together last season, by beating them 5-3 on Jan. 28.
Nathan Horton's late-game heroics against the New Jersey Devils one day later set the stage for a decisive shootout where Brad Marchand's first-ever shootout attempt sealed the 2-1 win.
Then came the aberration, the painful 7-4 loss to the Buffalo Sabres on Jan. 31. It was painful on multiple levels: not only did the scoresheet look bad, not only did the defense fail so badly that head coach Claude Julien called it brain-dead, but the lineup physically suffered setbacks. Shawn Thornton went down with a concussion. Daniel Paille took a high stick to the face. Patrice Bergeron appeared to have twinged his shoulder.
But, just as they did so often last season, the Toronto Maple Leafs provided a healing balm for the Bruins. In their first February game, a special celebration of 60 years of Hockey Night in Canada, the son of a Boston legend picked up his first goal in Black and Gold and Tuukka Rask got vindication through a 1-0 shutout win on Feb. 2.
The injured Bruins are making their ways back onto the roster and looking to put together another solid week. While the Bruins look ahead to their first journey up to Montreal's Centre Bell, a matinee meeting with the Tampa Bay Lightning and the rematch with the Sabres, here's a look back at some notable aspects of the week that was.
Power play goal, believe it or not
There are some teams for whom the power play is a fairly efficient machine, able to score goals with enough regularity that fans don't dread the man advantage. The Bruins are not one of those teams, to say the least. Their power play has bedeviled them for some time now, even when they were able to win the Stanley Cup with a bad one.
But in that 5-3 win over Carolina, Zdeno Chara made miracles happen when he took a pass from David Krejci while stationed near the blue line and slung a wrist shot right past Cam Ward to put Boston up 2-0. A few minutes earlier, Brad Marchand had scored shorthanded, so yes, the Bruins can score on the power play—sometimes.
The quiet efforts of David Krejci
Don't look now, but David Krejci is fast approaching 300 career NHL points. All but 83 of the 283 he has right now are assists, but he can often provide some helpful, timely goals. When he scored to break the 3-3 tie against Carolina late in the third period, that was both helpful and very timely. He also helped Nathan Horton score his late-third goal against New Jersey and scored to break another 3-3 tie against Buffalo, though that didn't bring about a victory—that time.
Krejci has registered at least a point in all but two games so far this season. If he keeps up this pace, he should definitely be able to pass 300 soon, maybe in February or March. Might it also mean an end to, or at least a quieting down of, the "trade Krejci" declarations that come out a lot? Here's hoping so.
Brad Marchand, shootout sniper
A shootout was necessary to decide the game between the Bruins and Devils. After known shootout quantity Tyler Seguin opened with a goal on Johan Hedberg and Ilya Kovalchuk evened it up, Claude Julien sent out Patrice Bergeron, Nathan Horton, David Krejci and Chris Bourque—but Hedberg stopped every one of them. On the other hand, Tuukka Rask kept the door shut on everyone but Kovalchuk. Going down the Boston lineup, who was going to be next to try to win this one?
Bring in the little ball of hate, Brad Marchand. Sure, it was his first time ever in a shootout, but why not? Tongue stuck out as per usual, Marchand went in on Hedberg and the puck slipped right into the back of the net. In the end, that was what it took. Marchand kept his reputation intact by giving the New Jersey bench a little chatter when the shootout ended, but he did prove himself useful in yet another aspect of the game.
Shawn Thornton is concussed
Shawn Thornton probably just wanted to show John Scott of the Sabres that he would gladly go with him before Scott targeted any of his teammates for a fight. However, it backfired when Scott stapled him to the glass, held him down and pummeled him with blows to the head—even after he started going down to the ice. Thornton left the game early and was diagnosed with a concussion, a word that strikes fear in every Bruins fan's heart because of prior experiences.
There is good news, though: Thornton is reportedly concussion-free and has even started skating and biking again just days after the fight. He's estimated to be out for seven to 10 days. At this pace, he could be back in the lineup again by Feb. 10, which just happens to be when the Bruins play the Sabres again.
Redemption for Tuukka Rask
Tuukka Rask is often pretty quick to say something quippy, sardonic and rooted in truth, especially after setbacks or bad games. When he was on record for six of the Sabres' seven goals, he said after the game that he thought he was going to get sunburn on the back of his neck from the goal light being on so much. (He also summed the game up by saying “[expletive] hits the fan sometimes.”)
But if he worried about needing to apply sunscreen before the Toronto game, he ended up being more than fine, making 21 saves for the 1-0 shutout. It was a nice measure of redemption and a way for the team to show that they didn't mean to leave Rask out at sea like that against the Sabres.
The first for Chris Bourque
It's two down and just 408 to go for Chris Bourque in terms of catching up with the goal production of his dad Ray. But this first goal as part of the Bruins is especially special for the younger Bourque because he'd been putting so much pressure on himself, to the point that Claude Julien sat him out against the Sabres. This paid off one game later when Bourque was back in and scored the sole goal needed for the win.
Julien joked post-game that he threatened to put Bourque through bag skates if he didn't score. Bag skate averted. But on a serious note, the coach also saw a completely different player, one infused with confidence and ready to produce. Maybe now that Bourque has the first goal off his chest, he'll continue to be confident and productive!