Bruins Weekly Blog 11/23 - 11/29

11/23 Bruins 2 – Penguins 1 (OT)

When the Boston Bruins have gone to overtime this season it has not been pretty. Going into this game the B’s were 1-4 on the season when tied after 3 periods and against one of the better teams on paper, the Pittsburgh Penguins, it did not seem probable to secure 2 points. Nonetheless, the Bruins were able to pull this one out.

The Penguins were on the board first when that very strong power play led by Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin got an opportunity in the first period. Kris Letang sent a pass across the blue line to Malkin where he one-timed it past Jaroslav Halak for the lead.

Shortly after Malkin gave the Penguins the lead, Jake DeBrusk continued his hot streak as he fired a one-time slap shot past Tristan Jarry to tie the game at 1.

After the first period both teams struggled to get any offensive pressure as both goalies were phenomenal making big saves when they needed to. Jaroslav Halak continued to have the hot glove making 36 saves on the day and stymieing the high powered offense of the 5-time Stanley Cup Champions.

He stayed strong in the net through the overtime period where the Bruins took over the game. With David Pastrnak, Joakim Nordstrom, and Torey Krug on the ice for the 3-on-3, Pastrnak held the puck and sent it to Torey Krug on top of the right circle. He fired a one-time slap pass to the front of the net where Nordstrom was able to tip it in past Jarry.

These were a big two points for the Bruins as they immediately jump on a plane and head up to Montreal to face their longtime rival. The Canadiens have been a surprise all year long, playing well, but they find themselves just one point behind the Bruins in the standings, and they hold the second wild card spot two points clear of the next best team the Carolina Hurricanes. The Bruins will likely have Tuukka Rask in goal for this one hoping to win on back-to-back days.

11/24 Bruins 3 – Canadiens 2

The Bruins headed up to the great white north and into Montreal to take on the Canadiens in the Bell Centre. This was a meeting of two storied rivals that lived up to the hype as both teams find themselves within a few points of one another.

David Backes started the scoring in this game when his strong fore-check forced a Canadiens’ turnover and he beat Carey Price past his glove.

This was the first of the season for Backes as he has had a really slow start and has found himself living on the fourth line this season. Normally he locks down the right wing for David Krejci on the second line, but with lack of production so far this season he had been shifted down.

Only a few minutes later, the B’s and the Canadiens were playing four a side when Torey Krug and Jake DeBrusk just toyed with the Habs defenders. After a few passes between the pair, Krug set up Jake DeBrusk with a walk in goal that beat Carey Price again on the glove side, but he really had no shot at saving this one.

After the Canadiens were able to tie the game over the next two periods, John Moore stepped up and put the Bruins back ahead for good. This one came on the power play with three minutes to go in the game when Moore corralled a rebound off the pads of Price and he buried it on the stick side.

It’s always nice to win, it’s always nice to win a division game, but most importantly, it is always the best when the Bruins beat the Habs. If you’ve been a fan of the Bruins, you know about this rivalry and how much these teams hate each other, and if you somehow stumbled upon this blog and read to this point, these teams hate each other. Enough said.

11/26 Bruins 2 – Maple Leafs 4

From one divisional opponent to the next, the Bruins crossed Quebec into Ontario to take on the Toronto Maple Leafs. With the Bruins looking up at Toronto in the division standings it would have been great to get the two points up for grabs in this one. Unfortunately that wasn’t the case. Toronto is a power house this season with top end talent up and down the roster. Oh, but not in this one, as their young star Austin Matthews continued to sit out injured. Nonetheless the Maple Leafs outlasted the B’s in this one led by the scoring from Travis Dermott, Zach Hyman, Josh Leivo, and Igor Ozhiganov.

David Pastrnak was the lone goal scorer for the Bruins in this one as he beat Freddy Anderson twice and has just absolutely owned the Maple Leafs. In his last 11 games against the Leafs including the postseason, Pasta has 11 goals and 11 assists. Not too shabby. We will see on December 8th if Pasta can keep that streak going against the Leafs.

11/29 Bruins 2 – Islanders 1 (SO)

On a very “Nifty” night in the TD Garden, the Bruins were playing host to the New York Islanders. It was a “Nifty” night, because the number 16 jersey of Rick Middleton was hung up in the rafters in a very special ceremony before the game. In his 12 year tenure with the Boston Bruins, Middleton scored 402 goals and had 496 assists. It was a long time coming that the B’s would retire his jersey and that day has finally come. It’s always great to watch a jersey retirement ceremony for guys you got to watch growing up. For me, I never got to see him play, but I do know the long storied history of this team and it’s very special to have your jersey hanging in the rafters. I wish I could have witnessed him play firsthand, but like my fellow millennials, I guess I’ll have to vigorously search the internet to find videos of his time with the Bruins.

Now we move on to the game. As the Islanders jumped out to an early lead in the first period off a goal from Anders Lee, the Bruins were able to hold the deficit to one as they went into the dressing room for intermission. In the second period the Bruins started to get things going. They got a power play just over halfway through the period where David Pastrnak and Brad Marchand combined for a goal once again. Pastrnak corralled the puck just inside the offensive zone blue line and skated right down the middle avoiding a defender. He was  able to backhand a pass to Brad Marchand waiting just underneath the right circle and he buried the puck on the short side to even the game.

Late in the second period David Krejci took a very high hit from the Islanders’ Thomas Hickey and he appeared to lose some chiclets. When the third period started Krejci was nowhere to be found on the bench which was worrisome, but, thankfully he emerged from the tunnel only a few seconds into the period and returned to the ice.

As the third period went on, neither team could get anything past the goalies who were both playing great. Tuukka Rask was back in net for the Bruins and continued to improve his performance. He was making big saves all night long including this save that kept the game tied in the third period.

Consequently this game went to overtime, both teams earning a point on the night. With about two minutes to play in overtime, it was Tuukka Time. He made three huge saves in a row to keep this game going and based on those saves, it is clear that Tuukka may be locked in once again.

I have to give props to the Islanders goalie, Robin Lehner who had 35 saves in this one and helped this game get to a shootout. What a shootout it was, as both goalies continued to make save after save, but the Bruins’ Ryan Donato ended it. In his first game back after a short stint in Providence, he ended the game on a nice move to beat Lehner and secure the crucial second point.

In a busy week with 8 possible points up for grabs, the Bruins were able to snag six of them with the one loss coming against division foe Toronto. It was a strong week for the Bruins who are starting to look better even with the amount of injuries. Another positive is that guys are starting to get healthy for the B’s and should be returning to the lineup in coming days.

The Week Ahead

The Bruins will be back on the ice for three games next week as they stay at home and host the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday night 12/1 at 7pm. They then head on a quick two game Florida road trip as they are back in action on Tuesday night at 7 against the Florida Panthers. The week gets wrapped up on Thursday night at 7, when the Bruins are down in Tampa for a rematch of the Eastern Conference Quarter Finals from last year when they take on the Lightening who are once again one of the top teams in the NHL.

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