Washington Capitals left wing Alexander Semin (28), of Russia, celebrates his goal with teammate Mathieu Perreault (85) as Atlanta Thrashers goalie Chris Mason, bottom right, looks on during the second period of an NHL hockey game, Saturday, Oct. 23, 2010, in Washington. The Capitals won 4-3 in overtime. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
Are the Boston Bruins good again?
Because it is starting to look like the Boston Bruins are good again.
They were winners for the fifth time in their past six games on Sunday afternoon with a rather convincing 6-3 win over a Dallas Stars team that watched whatever remained of its playoff chances completely crumble in defeat.
The goal scoring started early with Marchand picking up his 27th of the season 5:56 into the game. David Krejci added his 16th of the season less than a minute later. Frank Vatrano and Ryan Spooner also added goals for a Bruins team that for the past couple of months has quietly started to become an offensive powerhouse since the start of the new calendar year. And that is not an exaggeration, either. Including Sunday’s game, the Bruins are up to 76 goals in the 23 games since Jan. 1, a goals per game average of 3.3 that is among the best in the league during that stretch.
The Marchand-Bergeron-Pastrnak trio are all averaging more than a point-per-game since then, while Marchand’s 17 goals since the new year are the most in the league.
Their defense still needs some work, but with the offense starting to click again and with a goaltender that is capable of getting hot and carrying them for stretches this could be a team worth watching down the stretch, especially if they can secure a top-three spot in the Atlantic Division and get that path in the postseason.
One team you will not have to be worrying about the playoffs, though, is the Stars.
After Sunday’s loss they remain nine points back of a playoff spot in the Western Conference after failing to gain any ground on the teams they are chasing.
At the moment the St. Louis Blues are holding the second Wild Card spot in the West with a 91-point pace. That means the Stars would need to finish with 34 points to reach 93 in their final 20 games to pass them. That would require a 16-2-2 run to finish the year.
This has been a massively disappointing season for a Stars team that was in the second round of the playoffs just one year ago and seemed to be returning a team that should have at least been a contender in the Western Conference. Instead everything has just completely fallen apart defensively, especially on the penalty kill where they are a league worst at 73.5 percent.
This Ryan Spooner goal in the third period, off of a ridiculous pass from Torey Krug, pretty much sums it all up.
The Wild being responsible for three of those players is obviously what sticks out there, but Carter, who just signed a one-year, two-way contract to return to the team on Sunday, must pass through waivers before he is able to join the team.
The Star-Tribune‘s Michael Russo has some thoughts on the decision to place Dalpe, who has appeared in nine games for the Wild this season.
Dalpe was placed on waivers I’m guessing to reset his waiver clock. He’s at nine games, so if the Wild wants to send him down after tomorrow’s game, he’d need waivers (and you can’t waive anybody past Wednesday, so the Wild wouldn’t want to get stuck).
If he gets taken tomorrow, at least the Wild can react. I can’t imagine the Wild would want to find out somebody grabbed him on waivers Wednesday — three hours before the deadline, so that’s why you do it today.
Pulkkinen, however, is the most interesting name here, not only because he has been on the waiver wire multiple this season, but because he is still a talented player that could be intriguing for a team looking to take a cheap chance on somebody that still seems to have at least a little bit of potential. At 25 he isn’t a prospect anymore, and this is the age where you would expect him to be established as a regular NHLer, but there is still talent here.
He has only appeared in nine games for the Wild this season, scoring one goal. He has 12 goals and nine assists in 79 games with the Red Wings and Wild.He has only appeared in one NHL game since the middle of October (a Dec. 17 game against the Arizona Coyotes). He has spent most of this season playing for the Iowa Wild of the AHL where he has 35 points (18 goals, 17 assists) in 46 games.
Sunday’s game between the Boston Bruins and Dallas Stars gave us an opportunity to check in on the relationship between Jamie Benn and David Backes, and it seems that they still do not like each other very much.
Their on-ice feud continued literally as soon as Sunday’s game started, when they dropped the gloves right off the opening faceoff, which you can see in the video up above. It was clear right from the very beginning that fight was going to happen given the way they were discussing things before the puck was even dropped.
These guys have been going at one another for years, dating back to Backes’ days with the St. Louis Blues, and their fight (it was mostly a lot of jersey pulling at the start) on Sunday is already the third time they have dropped the gloves with one another in their careers.
The Boston Bruins are starting to get on a little bit of a roll and they look to keep it going on Sunday afternoon when they visit their old friend Tyler Seguin and the Dallas Stars.
The game will be shown live on NBC with a 12:30 p.m. ET faceoff and also be available on our Live Stream.
It’s a Star Sunday with the focus falling on Seguin and David Pastrnak, while the game will also have Dave Strader calling the play-by-play action on NBC. Strader recently returned to the Stars’ broadcast booth as he continues to battle cancer.