On a normal NHL night, the Boston Bruins would be the talk of the town. They took a backseat to a certain hockey icon this Monday night – Versus swapped its coverage from their game against the Montreal Canadiens – but the Bruins did something almost as impressive as Sidney Crosby’s comeback.
The B’s rolled into Montreal and managed to grind out a 1-0 victory, their ninth consecutive win. Amazingly, it took that much for them just to move into a tie with the Toronto Maple Leafs and Buffalo Sabres for the Northeast Division lead at 24 points.
(Technically, Boston is in first place because they have a game in hand on Buffalo and two on Toronto, but it shows that the Bruins cannot rest on their laurels.)
Thomas wasn’t all that bad in the beginning of the season – scoring was a bigger problem than anything else – but he’s on fire again now. The Bruins netminder is on a two-game shutout streak and produced three goose eggs in six starts during that nine-game run.
The most impressive number is the Bruins’ goal differential, though; their +26 margin is far and away the best of any team in the NHL. (The Pittsburgh Penguins are behind them with +15.) It’s still a small sample, but that’s an indicator that they’re dominating again.
So, yes, the Bruins aren’t getting the headlines today, but the defending champions are rampaging through the league like a big, angry bear right now. They’re winning games by shutting teams down and blowing them out, which might help them steal the spotlight from glamor teams when the games matter the most … again.
Tonight, there’s a big Metropolitan Division showdown at Consol as the Pittsburgh Penguins host the New York Rangers. You can catch the game on NBCSN (8 p.m. ET), or watch live online with NBC Sports’ Live Extra.
CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE
Some relevant linkage for tonight’s affair:
Rangers ‘are doing a lot of good things’
‘I wonder if that’s Crosby, what happens?’ — AV upset after McDonagh concussed by Simmonds
Malkin (lower body) to miss rest of week
Crosby, Karlsson and Trocheck are NHL’s three stars of the week
PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.
Calgary Flames head coach Bob Hartley seems pretty chill about healthy-scratching Sean Monahan, Johnny Gaudreau and Lance Bouma. That goes for Monahan and Gaudreau in particular, noting that they’re “great kids.”
Besides … it’s not like they robbed a bank. (NHL.com)
Uh oh, did Nazem Kadri make the throat-slashing gesture to Mark Giordano? See for yourself in the video above. (Puck Daddy)
What should the New York Islanders do with unrestricted free agent Kyle Okposo, who’s enjoying a productive contract year? (The Hockey News)
What a playoff berth would mean to the Florida Panthers. (Sportsnet)
Checking in with various teams as the trade deadline looms. (NHL Numbers)
On the Canucks using those Pavel Bure-era jerseys. (Greatest Hockey Legends)
The Minnesota Wild put together the kind of effort that would beat a lot of NHL teams on Tuesday. Unfortunately for that beleaguered group, it wasn’t enough to edge the Dallas Stars.
Despite generating 40 shots on goal and generating 1-0 and 2-1 leads, the Wild lost to the Stars 4-3 in overtime. With that, they’ve lost six straight games.
(The view doesn’t get much prettier if you pull away a little further, either, as Minnesota’s only won once in the last month, going 1-9-2 in their last 12.)
Ultimately, the Stars’ big guns were too powerful. Tyler Seguin generated two assists and so did Jamie Benn, who set up John Klingberg‘s overtime game-winning goal.
Again, the effort sure seemed to be there for the Wild, even if they’re far beyond the point of accepting moral victories.
As frustrating as this must be, Minnesota’s not that far from a playoff spot. Still, it has to sting to see “Close, but not good enough” as a prevailing theme as of late.
The Boston Bruins welcomed Milan Lucic back on Tuesday. Maybe they shouldn’t have extended such a warm welcome to the Los Angeles Kings overall, however.
You won’t see many games as lopsided as this one, at least in 2015-16, as the Kings walloped the Bruins by a humbling score of 9-2.
Lucic wasn’t just there, either, as he scored a goal and an assist in his quite triumphant return to Boston.
Tuukka Rask had a short night in Boston’s net, yet it wasn’t as if Jonas Gustavsson enjoyed his time. It was a pretty sound beating by all accounts.
This dominant win is a heck of a way for the Kings to begin an imposing seven-game road trip, which continues against the New York Islanders on Thursday. The Bruins probably want to burn the tape on this one themselves, as they’re about to head on a six-game road trip.