With 6:40 left in their penultimate game before Christmas break (take note, NBA), the Bruins were witnesses to history when 44-year-old Jaromir Jagr passed Mark Messier for #2 on the all-time points list because a puck hit his prodigious ass before Aleksander Barkov rifled it past a sprawled Tuukka Rask to cut a two-goal Bruins’ lead in half.
Because of the significance of the event, the game was stopped to confirm the puck did indeed touch Jagr before a not-exactly-brief celebration (not a complaint just an observation). But that was probably more than OK with the Bs as it gave them a lengthy de facto time-out just as the Panthers seized the momentum and looked to be taking control of the game.
So rather than another late blown lead and a three-point game, the Bruins were able to buckle down and make sure they left Sunrise with the only two points issued on the night. Rask made key saves down the stretch and an ENG from David Backes with 1:23 left put a bow on the 3-1 victory (and also rewarded puck line bettors with a nice +265 hit).
It was a huge two points vs. a divisional opponent after some scuffling in the last couple weeks. Once again, the road was just was the Bruins needed. But Tampa Bay also won as did Ottawa so they merely kept pace in a conference that’s tighter than a Barbie doll’s ass. The Bs are right back at it tonight in North Carolina to take on the pesky Hurricanes before getting a few days off to relax.
A few more buds for your Yuletide bowl…
*Unsurprisingly, Rask came back with a great effort last night after his forgettable effort Tuesday vs. the Isles, stopping 29 of 30 shots. The one goal he did give up was a fortuitous bounce to a skilled player. Rask currently sports a killer 1.87 GAA (2nd in NHL) to go along with his .930 SP (6th).
*Shootin’ Frank Vatrano returned to the line-up after injury and scored on his second shot of the season to give the Bs a 1-0 cushion early in the second off a sweet Torey Krug feed. He saw 13:22 of ice time including 2:38 on the power play.
*Speaking of the power play, it went 1-for-3 (Patrice Bergeron’s 5th) but more importantly, both units looked cohesive and got ample opportunities. If the Bs can remedy this fixable situation, it could be the difference between playing and golfing in April. That’s how close the East is.
*Ryan Spooner had another impressive game where he was jumping all night and earned a helper on Bergeron’s PPG.
*David Pastrnak got a little too fancy-pants with a two-goal lead and it came back to bite him in the ass. As dynamic as he is, he’s still a kid and still learning when to take a chance and when not to. Last night was when not to.
*Merry Christmas to everybody, enjoy your holiday.