The floodgates have opened for the Boston Bruins.
And it’s about time.
With Saturday’s 6-3 win over the Flyers, the B’s have scored 22 goals in their last six games. The offense has been a relative juggernaut compared to the first few months of the season. Brad Marchand had five points against Philadelphia, and he likes the progress the team has made.
“I think early on we had a lot of moving parts and guys in and out of the lineup. [We had] different guys that came in that we all had to get used to one another, and it doesn’t happen overnight,” said Marchand, per CSN New England. “It took half the year, but…I think we all realized that we have to be a desperate team. We’re starting to come together and learn each other and finally get some chemistry on the lines. All of that comes into play and again, I think we’re just starting to connect.”
The statistics suggested the goals would come. The Bruins have the highest score-adjusted Corsi in the league, but through Christmas, for whatever reason, the pucks weren’t going in.
To illustrate, Patrice Bergeron had just four goals in his first 31 games, and it wasn’t for a lack of shots. He now has five in his last 12, bringing his season total to a modest nine, as the bounces are finally starting to go his way:
To be sure, the Bruins are still in a desperate fight for a playoff spot. They’re currently second in the Atlantic Division, but with five more games played than both third-place Toronto and fourth-place Ottawa, winnable games like this afternoon’s against the Islanders need to be won.
“When you score a couple goals, I guess your confidence goes up a little bit,” said goalie Tuukka Rask. “I think that’s what happened [with us]. So we’ve just got to make sure that we keep it going and don’t take a step back.”
At this point, coaches of the Boston Bruins and Nashville Predators might as well keep their speeches to “Stay safe.”
It’s been a pretty wild one so far, with Tuukka Rask possibly being injured by a Roman Josi shot and then Josi being shaken up by a huge, late hit.
Why not throw a pretty awe-inspiring fight into this motley mix, then?
Adam McQuaid took down Derek Grant in a truly brutal bout. Just, yikes:
(Full video of the fight to come.)
The Boston Bruins are holding their breath on Thursday night after Tuukka Rask took a Roman Josi slap shot up high.
CSNNE.com’s Joe Haggerty notes that the shot “shook him up immediately” and that he was being worked on in the Bruins dressing room.
Watch video of the moment in the clip above. Also, here’s that scare in GIF form SBNation:
PHT will keep an eye out for updates regarding Rask’s condition. As you can see in places like Hockey Reference, the gap between Rask and the rest of the Bruins’ goalie options has been … large.
Update – So far, not so good. The Bruins announced that Rask is being evaluated and is unlikely to return against the Predators.
Rask left the game under his own power and said he’d be OK, according to CSNNE.com’s Joe Haggerty.
David Backes will likely look back at Tuesday as a special night, as he was welcomed warmly back to St. Louis as a member of the Bruins. His new team might have more mixed feelings.
The bright side is obvious: Boston’s offense looked potent in a 5-3 win against the Blues. The Bruins managed to hold onto a win after a hot start that saw Jake Allen scuttled from the St. Louis net.
Backes made an impact of sorts, getting in a fight on the same night that he received that ovation and video tribute.
The real stars were the usual suspects for the Bruins. Brad Marchand scored two goals and nabbed an assist, David Pastrnak collected three helpers and Patrice Bergeron had two assists himself. It was a strong night for Frank Vatrano, too, with a goal and an assist.
Time will tell if the bumps and bruises the Bruins received will put a damper on this win, however. Adam McQuaid couldn’t return thanks to an upper-body injury, Colin Miller was shaken up bit did return during the third period of the game and David Krejci was a little dinged up in this one.
Losing McQuaid would sting; if two or even three of those players are hurt, that could be quite the blow to the Bruins.
Still, at the moment, Boston has to be pretty happy about this win. They’re currently 2-0-1 during a challenging four-game road trip that ends in Nashville on Thursday and have largely survived a road-heavy stretch that started late in December.
For the Blues, it was a disappointment, although at least they showed a little fight after a lousy start.
The St. Louis Blues claimed that it would be “business as usual” on Tuesday as they faced David Backes and the Boston Bruins. So far, they’re not up to their best practices.
(They nailed the tribute part, at least.)
St. Louis started the game about as flat as you could get. Boston charged out to a 3-0 lead through the first period, holding the Blues to a mere two shots on goal. Yikes.
Fair or not, that slow start prompted the Blues to replace Jake Allen. Here’s the last goal he allowed:
Torey Krug didn’t take long to score on Blues backup Carter Hutton in the second period, underscoring the notion that it’s not all Allen’s fault.
Perhaps this will serve as a wake-up call for the Blues, as they’ve been playing better so far in the middle frame, including getting a goal from Colton Parayko.