BOSTON – The Bruins power play has been on mothballs all season, and had a rock-bottom moment over the weekend when they allowed a pair of shorthanded goals in a loss to the Rangers.
But that all changed for the Boston special teams groups on Monday night as the B’s power play struck for three goals in a dominant 4-0 win for the Bruins over the Buffalo Sabres at TD Garden. The victory gave Boston their second home win of the season in five tries, and kicks off a stretch of five games in seven days where the Bruins are going to get severely tested by the schedule and some pretty good hockey teams.
BRUINS 4, SABRES 0:
The three power play goals also equaled Boston’s power play output in the first 11 games of the season, and finally started to again reveal the talent that made them so effective on the man advantage last year.
The Bruins finally broke through in the second period with a Brad Marchand power play strike aided by Matt Beleskey grinding in front of the Buffalo net, and then five minutes later David Krejci cashed in on his first goal of the 2016-17 season in his 12th game. The Krejci score was a PP point blast that eluded Robin Lehner, and gave the Bruins a very comfortable lead to work with against an undermanned Sabres unit.
Riley Nash added his first goal of the season again aided by the high energy efforts of Beleskey on the forecheck to make it a three-goal lead after two periods, and David Pastrnak scored his team-leading eighth of the season in the third period to finish off the scoring. Tuukka Rask made 32 stops for a solid shutout bid and improved his gaudy record to 7-1-0 on the season while making his best stops in the first couple of periods.
Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while the Bruins are going into troll mode.
*Here is the aforementioned “troll mode” for the Bruins now that they’ve clinched a playoff berth. They came out with a marketing campaign where they’re dragging FOH (Friend of Haggs) Mike Felger for his early season take that the Bruins season is over. He also ripped the young players at the beginning of the year as well, so they used the sound from “Felger and Mazz” with video clips of David Pastrnak and Charlie McAvoy dominating for the Black and Gold, and shots of the young players mean mugging at the camera. It definitely shows that the Bruins perhaps care a little too much about what the media thinks about them, but it’s also a fair bit of clap-back toward a take that was a little too harsh on the B’s early in the season.
*What a great piece on the Stoneman Douglas hockey team as they embark on a national hockey tournament after winning at the state level in the weeks after the Parkland shooting.
*Chicago Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman says the Hawks aren’t shaken even as they’ll be missing the playoffs for the first time in a long time. What a disappointing season.
*Despite a great season, Taylor Hall may end up missing the playoffs with the New Jersey Devils amidst his Hart Trophy-type season.
*Good news for the Toronto Maple Leafs as Auston Matthews is returning from injury ahead of the playoffs.
*For something completely different: This new, updated version of the Karate Kid web series looks awesome with Billy Zabka and Ralph Macchio.
Bruins star center Patrice Bergeron has been dealing with a fractured foot injury since late February. He sustained the injury while blocking a shot in the loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Coach Bruce Cassidy is predicting a return for Bergeron this weekend against the Minnesota Wild if he is medically cleared. He will be evaluated tomorrow.
Depending on the results from the evaluation, there might not even be a need to rush Bergeron back with the Bruins clinching a playoff berth in a 2-1 OT loss to the Blues yesterday evening.
MORE BRUINS: Bruins clinch playoff berth in 2-1 OT loss to Blues
The Bruins currently sit six points behind the Tampa Bay Lighting for first place in the Atlantic Division. Ten games currently remain on the B’s schedule with the Presidents' Trophy also hanging in the balance.
If the B’s decide to make a run for the Presidents' Trophy, Bergeron would definitely provide a boost in play in addition to leadership for the final stretch of the regular season.