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.