So many bears scored at MSG last night, I thought Penn Station was having a Pride parade. But nope, it was just the Boston Bruins running train on poor Hank Lundqvist and his middling New York Rangers in a 6-1 blowout that places the Bruins just one point behind Tampa Bay for a share of the league lead. The Bruins still have a game in hand on the Lightning so they control their own fate.
After the soon-to-be-dealt Rick Nash beat Anton Khudobin to put the Rags up 1-0 five minutes into the first on a pretty sweet rush, the Bruins reeled off five goals in 22:06 to put the game away. The King was chased after the fourth goal; it was his third time getting the hook in his last five starts and about the half-dozenth on the season.
The Bs, per usual, got balanced scoring with tallies from Riley Nash (8), Zdeno Chara (5), Patrice Bergeron (23, 24), Tim Schaller (8), and Sean Kuraly (5). Without a doubt, Schaller had the best of the bunch.
Are you shittin’ me?!?
That’s not to say 63 and 37 didn’t try to upstage Schaller.
Bergeron continued his torrid pace with another pair of goals and his sublime two-way game. I’m not sure anybody is playing better 200′ hockey in the NHL than Patrice Bergeron right now.
Khudobin stopped 21 of 22 shots for his 11th win in what has been a stellar season thus far (2.28, .925). This was probably his best of the night.
The Bruins are playing like a hungry, well-oiled machine that knows they haven’t accomplished shit yet. Last night, they basically chewed up and spit out the Rangers. They thoroughly outplayed them with a 34-22 edge in shots. Cody McLeod and Adam McQuaid took each other on in a pair of spirited bouts.
The win was the fourth in a row for the Bs and their ninth in 10 games. They’ve lost just one game in regulation since November 25th. And they’re suddenly within breathing distance of the Presidents’ Trophy. So yeah, this tear they’re on is pretty goddamn impressive. Next up are the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday night at the Garden. While still near the bottom of the NHL standings, the Sabres have been playing much better hockey lately so the Bs shouldn’t expect a pushover.
A few more buds for your bowl…
*David Pastrnak assisted on Bergeron’s first goal for his 30th helper on the year and also extended his points streak to 10 games. The still-just-21 Pasta has 21-30–51 totals in 52 games, tied with Marchand for the team lead with the same exact points totals (though Marchy has done it in 13 fewer games).
*The resurgence of the Bruins 4th line this season has been a welcome story. This year’s iteration can not only wear down the opposition with grit and grinding, it can also pot a goal or three. With Noel Acciari sidelined, Austin Czarnik skated with Schaller and Kuraly on the unit last night and tallied a helper on Kuraly’s goal as the line went 2-1–3 in the game.
*Danton Heinen continues to impress with his smart, solid play. He may not be as flashy as some of his rookie peers or have the same name recognition but the kid simply gets the job done and may well end up a Calder finalist. His 26 assists are third among rookies and he’s also third with .79 points-per-game. His 12-26–38 has him trailing only Mathew Barzal (16-37–53) and Brock Boeser (25-21–46). Whether or not he ends up in the running, I’m really looking forward to watching him in a top-six role for the Bs over the next several years.
*Matt Grzelcyk had two assists last night (1-7–8) and continues to be a solid addition to the team’s back-end, playing intelligent hockey with little-to-no-mistakes most games. He entered the line-up just before Thanksgiving and has played in 33 straight games, including 17:05 of ice time last night.
*The Bruins got absolutely dummied at the dot, losing at a 63%-37% clip. But it meant nothing as the game was effectively over halfway through. The team also went 0-for-2 on the power play and killed off two penalties.
*Khudobin got his second helper of the year on Schaller’s nasty goal.