Balanced scoring leads the way for Bruins vs. Blue Jackets

Balanced scoring leads the way for Bruins vs. Blue Jackets

BOSTON – The Bruins offense has been far too one-dimensional for most of this season, and far too reliant on David Pastrnak and Brad Marchand to carry them to victory.

So it was nothing short of a Black and Gold revelation on Thursday night when five different Bruins players scored goals in a 5-2 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets at TD Garden, and none of Boston’s top line forwards factored into the Boston scoring. 


Instead it was a David Backes goal for the Krejci line, a pair of goals for a third line that’s struggled to produce for the balance of the season, a score for Torey Krug and a fourth line goal from Tim Schaller that gave the Bruins exactly the kind of balanced scoring they’ve been unsuccessfully seeking out until this point. It wasn’t enough to simply chase Sergei Bobrovsky from the game after a video review awarded Schaller’s goal in the first period, and made it four B’s goals scored in the span of roughly four minutes of ice time. 

That was tremendously good for the Bruins, and one would guess pretty disconcerting for Columbus. 

“I think we had [balanced scoring] the other night in Montreal, as well. I think it’s coming around,” said Claude Julien. “You’ve got some of those lines – David Krejci with David Backes back and David [Krejci] is finding his stride as well. They have been a better line obviously. Ryan [Spooner] was good tonight, Nasher [Riley Nash] with [Austin] Czarnik and Matty Beleskey, Matty is playing better than he did at the beginning, so that has helped that line. 

“[Czarnik] with his speed and skill, and it’s just been a good blend there. And our fourth line continues to just do their job. It’s nice to have that balance, no doubt, so that you’re not just relying on one or two lines to score some goals for you.” 

The offensive surge represents a couple of things for the Bruins: One is certainly the chemistry developing between Krejci and Backes, and the way that’s allowed Ryan Spooner to build his confidence while chasing the puck around. The other is a third line that looks like it’s been let out of offensive jail since Jimmy Hayes was swapped out for the younger, faster and smaller Czarnik, and Beleskey and Nash have developed their own chemistry together to give Julien options as he’s rolling out forward lines. 

“We need [secondary scoring] and we’re going to need it down the stretch to win games,” said Torey Krug. “You can’t rely on the same few players every night to produce because eventually -- I know they don’t want it to, but eventually it is going to slow down a bit. It’s important for any good team to have secondary scoring so it was nice to see that.”

A couple of weeks ago a game with a zero stat line for Marchand-Bergeron-Pastrnak would have meant a surefire loss for the Bruins, and a real exercise in frustration for many of the players yet to catch fire offensively. Now those supporting players like Krug and Beleskey are finding the range offensively, and giving the Bruins a fighting chance even on the rare off night when Boston’s big guns aren’t lighting the red lamp. 

Donato misses Bruins practice for Harvard class commitment

Donato misses Bruins practice for Harvard class commitment

It might have caused a ripple when Ryan Donato wasn’t on the ice on Tuesday afternoon in St. Louis for Bruins practice on the day after his brilliant, three-point NHL debut for the Black and Gold. But the 21-year-old Donato was still back in the Boston area fulfilling some class requirements at Harvard University to help him close out the current semester properly, and not lose the credits that will keep him in line with fulfilling his junior year at Harvard University.

Believe it or not, the schoolwork is important to the newest member of the Boston Bruins and he intends to study and hit the books on his road trips, and also intends to take classes in the summertime to still graduate on time next season.

“I’m planning on finishing the semester academically. I want to finish the semester academically,” said Donato, after Monday’s morning skate at Warrior Ice Arena prior to last night’s debut vs. Columbus. “Obviously it’s going to be something that’s difficult, but for me it was a dream to graduate from Harvard. I’m putting that off a little bit, but I need to be able to finish this semester in order to have that opportunity, and not put it off for another couple of years. I want to finish out the semester.”

Donato is also still living in the Harvard dorms while “moonlighting” as an NHL hockey player for the rest of the season, but that isn’t all so uncommon among some of the college players that leave school early. Charlie McAvoy was similarly living in the Boston University dorms last spring through Boston’s playoff run, and didn’t clear out of his college living situation until after the Black and Gold had been eliminated by the Ottawa Senators last April.

Missing practices on an NHL schedule is certainly a new one with, Donato, however, and takes the student-athlete concept to a whole new level for somebody that's already turned pro. One has to expect this was one of the things being discussed in full when the Donato family, Ryan's agent and the Bruins discussed his contract terms over the weekend before coming to an agreement.

Along with Donato, who is scheduled to fly into St. Louis and play against the Blues on Wednesday night, Patrice Bergeron, Zdeno Chara, Charlie McAvoy, David Backes, Jake DeBrusk, Rick Nash and Torey Krug were all missing from the ice at Tuesday’s team practice ahead of a four game road trip against Western Conference opponents.


Morning Skate: Claude's Habs 'not a very good team'

File photo

Morning Skate: Claude's Habs 'not a very good team'

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while not really digging these forecasts of more snow.

*You know, if he weren’t making millions and millions of dollars I might actually feel bad for ol' Claude Julien up in Montreal busting out the “We’re not a very good team” soliloquy with the Habs. That team flat out stinks this season and these past few weeks it can’t be fun at all being the head coach of that dumpster fire.

*Darren Dreger says there is no rush for the Toronto Maple Leafs to bring back Auston Matthews before he’s ready to go, and that’s absolutely the case so close to the playoffs.

*Here are five Hart Trophy-caliber players that won’t get a sniff of the voting, but deserve some attention nonetheless. There are no Bruins players on the list if you’re wondering, but some pretty good ones in Johnny Gaudreau and Aleksander Barkov.

*The NHL general managers are weighing potential changes to the goalie-interference interpretation ahead of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

*While it still looks a Swedish defenseman is going to be the No. 1 overall pick this June, there are some other players rocketing up the list.

*For something completely different: The definitive ranking of Girl Scout cookies from best-to-worst that we’ve all been waiting for.

*Song of the Week: Haven’t done one of these in a long, long time, but I like this Calvin Harris/Katy Perry/Pharrell Williams tune that I hadn’t heard until the past couple of days.