Haggerty: OT win over Wings is nice, but Bruins need much more

Haggerty: OT win over Wings is nice, but Bruins need much more

BOSTON – Let’s start with the obvious point here.

The Bruins needed a win and they got a win to snap a four game losing streak and push them at least temporarily back into a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Brad Marchand scored a pair of goals and David Pastrnak ended a 17-game goal-scoring drought in a 4-3 overtime win over the Detroit Red Wings where the Bruins certainly looked like a team putting out maximum effort for the result.

So, the reeling Bruins should be credited for scoring four goals, for getting off the mat when it looked like Detroit had them on the ropes in the second period and for beating a team they needed to be beat if they want playoff hockey this season.

“I think you need a game to build from and hopefully this is it. We were all aware that we were on a four-game losing streak and the bounces weren’t happening and we were almost finding ways to lose. Now, it’s about realizing that we stuck with it even though we were down by a goal,” said Patrice Bergeron. “Maybe the last few games we would have…the results would have been different. So it was definitely a good character win and a huge extra point that we need.

“When you’re down by a goal and you lost the last four games, you’ve got to step up. It’s about everyone finding the extra gear and in the third I thought we did that.”

So here it is: Kudos again to the Bruins for actually winning a hockey game and doing it in front of the fans on home ice.

But the true, honest take on the Bruins is that nothing has really been fixed by a single win. That goes doubly so for Tuesday night’s overtime win against a non-playoff team in Detroit playing their backup goalie while missing their two biggest offensive impact players (Thomas Vanek and Dylan Larkin) due to injury. The overtime victory was a feel-good moment, but it was also absolutely necessary if the Bruins want to be anything more than Eastern Conference road kill down the stretch with teams like Ottawa and Toronto passing them in the standings with a handful of games in hand.

After the game, Claude Julien gave an honest assessment of a win that ultimately gave the satisfying two points while also being an exercise in frustration where the Bruins blew an early lead and continued to rack up a lot of mistakes. Brandon Carlo had a couple of those mistakes that ended up in the back of the Bruins net. He clearly has to work through the rookie wall that the 20-year-old has run into midway through the season.

The Bruins just don’t have any choice but to work through it with the bright, young Carlo, and he’s shown enough potential that he will get on the other side of it given his attitude, work ethic and talent level. There was also a soft goal allowed by Tuukka Rask at a bad time in the second period when Tomas Tatar found a spot under Rask’s left arm.

The goal could have been a back-breaker for a fragile team like the Bruins, and probably would have been against a better team than Detroit that could execute the death blow to the Black and Gold.

The Bruins again had a zillion offensive chances while only finishing off four of them, including three of the four goals from the leading goal-scorers on a team that needs some other players to produce. It was encouraging to see Marchand buzzing all around the net for a couple of hard-working goals and to see Pastrnak snap the overtime one-timer with the kind of confidence his skills should always engender.

“It’s not just [Brad] Marchand. I think there was a lot of that tonight but Marchand is known to finish those around the net. That’s what we need and that’s part of the discussion we had. If we’re going to score goals, we can’t just have two or three guys that are willing to go there,” said Julien. “So we had more of that tonight.

“You look at that power play goal – Spoons [Ryan Spooner] is right in front of the net. On the power play, when’s the last time we saw Spoons in front of the net? So that’s a guy wanting to do something to help the team. I look at those things and I hope they’re not just a one-time thing, and that the guys can build on that.”

That’s absolutely the whole thing for the Black and Gold right now.

The overtime win over the Red Wings was a good step forward for a Bruins team that needs all the encouragement they can get right now, but there have been many of these good steps in the past for this group. Julien should still be under major scrutiny coaching a team that should be working this desperately all the time. The Bruins entire roster should be feeling like a shake-up, cage-rattling trade could come down at any time.

They need to keep doing the same good things, cut out the mistakes that nearly cost them against a lesser team and start getting the same results every single night. Marchand put it in no uncertain terms after scoring two goals and leading the Bruins to the victory.

“We’ve got to win games, we have to expect to come to work every night, and lay it all on the line, and be exhausted by the end of it, and get back to work the next day,” said Marchand. “You know with that and with the group we have in here, I think we are all willing to do that and hopefully continue to play good hockey.”

The hard work isn’t too much to ask for any team full of professional players, but the results, good or bad, are what remains to be seen after the Bruins finally showed some signs of life against Detroit. 

Talking points: Ryan Donato's goal helps Bruins clinch playoff berth

USA TODAY Sports Photos

Talking points: Ryan Donato's goal helps Bruins clinch playoff berth

GOLD STAR: Jaden Schwartz stepped up and won the game for the Blues with a couple of really good plays in the third period and overtime. He took advantage of a line change and a lax Bruins defense to snap a shot past Anton Khudobin from the face-off circle in the third period that tied up the game, and then went on a one-man rush in overtime before blasting a puck past Khudobin for the game-winner on a beautiful individual play. Schwartz finished with the two goals that represented all of the St. Louis offense, four shots on net, a hit and a takeaway in 20:02 of ice time while logging a plus-2 rating as well. The Blues clearly needed somebody to step up to the plate with Vladimir Tarasenko and the Schwartz was with St. Louis on Wednesday night.

BLACK EYE: The Bruins were quite literally black and blue after a physical, punishing game with the St. Louis Blues. A number of players took heavy hits against a St. Louis team that felt free to throw hits and take runs with Zdeno Chara and David Backes out of Boston’s lineup among other players, and that culminated with Brayden Schenn drilling David Krejci in the second period. It was a hit that earned Schenn a two minute penalty for charging midway through the period, but shouldn’t result in anything more for the Blues forward. The hit wasn’t late, his skates were on the ice when he made contact, and Krejci was crouched down when Schenn made impact on a heavy check with his elbows tucked in, so it looked like a relatively clean hit that isn’t going to be on the radar of the NHL’s Player Safety Department. That physicality for the Blues really seemed to slow down the Bruins a little bit as things went on over the 60 plus minutes of the overtime game.


TURNING POINT: The Bruins actually only got outshot by a 15-13 margin in the second period, third period and overtime, but it was clear that they slowed down in terms of attacking and creating chances as things moved on in the game. By the latter half of the game the Bruins were simply trying to hang on to their one-goal lead, and then after that simply trying to hang in there for the point earned by getting to overtime. They managed to do it, but it was a different wave of momentum in the game once the Blues tied things up in the third period on Schwartz’s first goal. After that the Bruins were scrambling and hanging on, and did just enough to hang in there for a single overtime point for the second game in a row.

HONORABLE MENTION: Ryan Donato made it two goals in two games when he stepped into a loose puck created by an Alex Pietrangelo turnover that bounced off referee Brad Watson after he attempted to throw a puck up the middle of the ice. Donato pounced on the fortuitous bounce and rocked a puck on edge past Jake Allen for the game’s first goal and another affirmation that the 21-year-old can both shoot and score. Donato was pretty quiet after that goal, of course, with a couple of shots on net, but it seemed like a big, heavy hit on him by Dmitri Jaskin in the second period kind of quieted the youngster down a little bit. Still, you’ve got to love the production from a player just getting his feet wet at the NHL level.

BY THE NUMBERS: 100 – The number of points for the Bruins after falling in overtime by a 2-1 score to the Blues, and in getting to the century mark the B’s clinched a playoff spot for the second season in a row.

QUOTE TO NOTE: “It’s step one. Going into the season we wanted to make the playoffs and be a Stanley Cup contender. Right now we got in and we’re going to be a contender, right? Now it’s about being in the best position possible going forward.” –Bruce Cassidy, to reporters in St. Louis about clinching the playoff spot on Wednesday night.


Bruins celebrate playoff berth with hilarious video about fans

File photo

Bruins celebrate playoff berth with hilarious video about fans

With a playoff berth in-hand, the Boston Bruins celebrated on Instagram with a playful video about their fans.

The short video put their fans into categories: the hugger, the faithful, the screamer, the loose cannon, the comfortable commentator and the emotional trainwreck.

No matter how the devotees enjoy Bruins games, they can all unit over their hockey team. Here's the vide for your enjoyment.

It's playoff time. Diehards unite. #InOurBlood

A post shared by Boston Bruins (@nhlbruins) on