For the first time in more than a month the Boston Bruins have lost a game in regulation.
The Bruins went into the All-Star break as the hottest team in the NHL thanks to a 18-game point streak that had seen them go 14-0-4. That streak came to an end on Tuesday night thanks to a 3-1 loss to the Anaheim Ducks, handing the Bruins their first regulation loss since Dec. 14.
Before that loss the Bruins had won three games in a row.
It was the Bruins’ longest point streak since the 1968-69 season.
Things got off to a rough start for the Bruins when Anaheim opened the scoring early in the first period thanks to an own-goal by Zdeno Chara when he accidentally knocked the puck into his own net.
NHL teams with rich histories provide handy measuring sticks for great play: match these legends and you know you’re doing something impressive.
Sidney Crosby just topped Jaromir Jagr‘s Penguins-specific heroics. In the case of the Boston Bruins, matching some of Bobby Orr’s accomplishments – individual and team – is quite the badge of honor. (Actually, not just for the Bruins, but you catch the drift.)
For the first time since 1968-69, when Orr was really starting to come into his own with 64 points in 67 games (he generated a ludicrous 120 the next season), the Bruins have generated at least one standings point in a whopping 18 games. You might give them the tiebreaker since 14 of their 18 points came from wins:
As NBC Sports Boston’s Joe Haggerty notes, players getting a bump with Marchand out of the lineup ended up picking up some of the scoring burden.
First two goals for the Bruins tonight were scored by players directly filling in for Brad Marchand on the PP (Danton Heinen) and on the PK (Tim Schaller). That's called Marchand's teammates stepping up for him big time
With the Tampa Bay Lightning starting to pick up steam again, the Bruins will need to keep this outstanding hot streak going through Marchand’s suspension, at least if they want to push for the Atlantic Division crown.
Such a thought, not to mention how much of a shoulder shrug it is to beat a Senators team that bumped them from last year’s first round, really cements just how far this team has come lately.
It’s likely that they’ll finish second in the Atlantic, but either way, they should be taken seriously as a legitimate threat in the East. If they can keep it going with Marchand, the Bruins will be that much scarier.
As you can see in the video above, Keith Jones and Anson Carter discussed McAvoy’s absence, believing that the Bruins will be able to handle it reasonably well.
Tuesday represents the first test, as the B’s take on the New Jersey Devils in a game that’s currently in progress. It’s unclear how much it has to do with McAvoy not being in the lineup, but early on Boston is struggling on defense.
Now, Bruce Cassidy deserves credit for taking Claude Julien’s move to a more modern system in 2016-17 to a new level this season, and players like Krug and Carlo boast some promise.
That said, McAvoy’s beyond-his-age impact might be slipping under the radar. So far this season, only Chara (23:26 per game) is averaging more ice time than McAvoy (22:48), with Krug coming in at a distant third of 20:01. McAvoy’s possession stats have, honestly, been pretty brilliant.
In other words, McAvoy is off the charts for a 20-year-old by most measures, including a healthy 25 points in 45 games this season. If the Calder Trophy was friendlier to defensemen, he’d probably be getting more hype as one of the best rookies in the NHL.
You don’t have to use “for a rookie” or “for a 20-year-old” qualifiers with McAvoy, though. He’s an important piece by any measure.
Even if McAvoy’s numbers are quite inflated – again, plausible with Chara still being really good – the Bruins could feel the sting from a depth standpoint. Guys who maybe should be in street clothes instead get foisted into the lineup. Someone better suited for a mid-level role might be asked to do too much.
McAvoy is expected, at least initially, to only miss two weeks, which would mean missing somewhere between 5-7 games the way Boston’s schedule falls. Of course, this is a heart-related procedure we’re talking about, so the Bruins need to proceed with caution if the young skater experiences setbacks.
If it’s only two weeks, it probably wouldn’t be a big deal; it might just give the Bruins a chance to realize just how pivotal he’s been in their rise from a team fighting for its playoff life to something more.
Update: The Bruins extended their point streak to 17 games, winning 3-2. Tuukka Rask was forced to make 37 saves, though.
Scary news for Boston Bruins star rookie Charlie McAvoy: he’s expected to miss about two weeks after undergoing a procedure to “treat an abnormal heart rhythm.” According to the statement from team Dr. David Finn, his issues were originally discovered on Nov. 26.
Charlie McAvoy underwent a successful procedure today at the Massachusetts General Hospital to treat an abnormal heart rhythm.
Following the Bruins game on November 26, 2017, Charlie told team physicians that he experienced heart palpitations during the game. Subsequently he underwent an evaluation, which diagnosed him with a supraventricular tachycardia (SVT). The type of SVT Charlie has is not considered to be dangerous to his health but can recur at any time and causes significant symptoms.
After consultation with team physicians, as well as experts in this type of heart condition, Charlie decided to have the condition treated with a procedure called an ablation. The decision to have the procedure done at this time is due to a high probability of recurrence. During the period from the initial occurrence through Saturday’s game, Charlie was cleared to play by the medical team and was monitored closely.
He will be monitored overnight at Mass General and the expected recovery period is two weeks.
Finally, the New Jersey Devils will lose Taylor Hall for what sounds like a couple games. It doesn’t sound like a long-term problem, but it’s reasonable to at least wonder if his presence at the All-Star Game might be threatened.
Taylor Hall out tonight and tomorrow with a hand issue. Not a long term concern per John Hynes.
For a while there, the Boston Bruins’ excitement was at least a bit muted by lowered expectations. Yes, it would be great to get a round of home-ice advantage, but that’s not as sexy as going for a division title or more.
Now, it’s important to point out that the Bruins have some work to do, but if you look at the standings after their 4-1 win against the Canadiens and the Lightning’s 5-2 loss to the Wild, it’s not outrageous. The Bruins trail the Lightning by three standings points, and they hold a game in hand on Tampa Bay.
Lightning: 33-12-3, 65 points in 46 games
Bruins: 27-10-8, 62 points in 45 games
The Bruins can also close the gap in more direct ways by getting the best of the Lightning in head-to-head games. The two teams meet three more times this season, with two of those contests coming in Tampa Bay.
At a quick glance, the Bruins are certainly the hotter team, as they’re among the hottest teams in the NHL. Their point streak now extends back to an OT loss to the Rangers on Dec. 16 (12-0-4), including a three-game winning streak. The Lightning have been stumbling by their standards, with three straight losses and two wins in their last seven games.
Mon, Jan 22 @ Chicago
Tue, Jan 23 @ Nashville
Thu, Jan 25 @ Philadelphia
Tue, Jan 30 @ Winnipeg
Thu, Feb 1 @ Calgary
Sat, Feb 3 @ Vancouver
Mon, Feb 5 @ Edmonton
Thu, Feb 8 vs Vancouver
Sat, Feb 10 vs Los Angeles
Mon, Feb 12 @ Toronto
Tue, Feb 13 @ Buffalo
Thu, Feb 15 vs Detroit
Sat, Feb 17 vs New Jersey
Tue, Feb 20 @ Washington
Thu, Feb 22 @ Ottawa
Sat, Feb 24 @ Montreal
Tonight’s loss to the Wild began what could be a harrowing eight-game road trip for the Lightning. Overall, they play 12 of their next 16 games on the road. The Bruins face their own challenges as the season goes along, but for the near future, it’s a pretty moderate run. It’s also true that the Lightning will enjoy a stretch of home games too, with March holding the ripest opportunities.
Still, some damage might be done by then considering that tough month and Hedman’s at-least-partial absence, possibly enough for the Bruins to draw even (or close to even). It could be a tough haul even if Hedman can get back soon, honestly.
The smart money would still be on the Lightning winning the Atlantic, not to mention possibly getting the East’s top seed and maybe the Presidents’ Trophy as well. Either way, this is another reminder of how remarkable this surge has been for a Bruins team that was once 6-7-4 this season.
The B’s are justified in setting their sights higher than merely securing a playoff spot. For all we know, this could end up being one of the most captivating races down the stretch.