COLUMBUS -- GOLD STAR: Brad Marchand thoroughly dominated the final 40 minutes of the hockey game with his team down, and in need of some kind of spark. Marchand got to work with David Backes and David Pastrnak, and those three players accounted for all six of the goals in a badly needed win for the Black and Gold. With his buddy Patrice Bergeron out of the lineup, Marchand accounted for two goals, five points and a plus-5 rating while generating 11 shot attempts in his 17:12 of ice time. The biggest goal was very clearly the game-winner when he followed up David Pastrnak’s partial breakaway, and then fired into the vacated net for the game-winner. Even when he wasn’t actually scoring the goal, energy and effort level Marchand was putting into every shift helped elevate that line to some pretty otherworldly things in the final 40 minutes of that game.
BLACK EYE: Brandon Dubinsky lost the battle and the war for the Columbus Blue Jackets as his line failed in their attempts to clamp down the Bergeron-Backes-Pastrnak line, and he finished a minus-5 with just a couple of shots on net in a largely ineffective performance. He was decent in the face-off circle and was involved physically while making five hits, but clearly was making way too many mistakes with too many dangerous players on the ice. It looks like John Tortorella is going to have to go back to the drawing board with his personnel when it comes to stopping other team’s best players, and collapsing late in the game.
TURNING POINT: The Bruins could have been in a world of hurt after the opening 20 minutes when they fell behind by a 2-0 score, but that’s when Brad Marchand went to work with linemates David Backes and David Pastrnak. Pastrnak scored the first goal on a play engineered by Brad Marchand when he picked off a Zach Werenski pass from behind the Columbus net, and that gave the Bruins some life once they were on the board. Sure they backslid a little bit when Seth Jones scored again to give Columbus a two-goal cushion, but by that point the B’s top forward line was all systems go with No. 63 and Co. dominating every time they hopped over the boards.
HONORABLE MENTION: David Pastrnak was on the ice for every single one of Boston’s goals, finished with a career-high plus-6 rating and scored two goals to go along with four points and a team-high eight shots on net. He was a game-breaking force offensively along with Marchand and Backes, and defensively he was hustling to the back-check, winning battles in areas of the ice where he surrendered the puck last season and “playing the right way” in his own words. It’s going to be a big season for the 20-year-old Pastrnak, and it will also be a huge season for the B’s as a hockey club if he can continue to perform with the all-around excellence he showed on opening night against the Blue Jackets. This is a player that’s about to emerge on the NHL scene in a big way.
BY THE NUMBERS: 20:57 -- the big number of ice time for Colin Miller in his first game of the season as both he and John-Michael Liles played solid games, and Miller also got a couple of shifts with Zdeno Chara when Brandon Carlo was looking a little nervous early in the game.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "It was a good way to start the year. I think the big takeaway from tonight is the character we showed. It's fun when you come back." -- Brad Marchand, on the comeback win and the fashion in which the Bruins came back from a 2-0 deficit in Columbus.
GOLD STAR: Every once in a while Brad Marchand wills the Bruins to a win that they probably wouldn’t have otherwise had, and that happened again on Friday night with a three-point explosion for No. 63 in the final 20 minutes. Marchand finished with a goal and three points in 19:57 of ice time along with a plus-2 rating, and played a key role in the three-goal outburst that allowed the B’s to vanquish a 2-0 deficit. It was Marchand that opted not to shoot from the face-off dot with a look at the net in the closing seconds, and instead dropped it down low to David Pastrnak as he curled around the net and pushed a puck past Kari Lehtonen for the game-winner. Marchand finished with two shots on net, eight total shot attempts and a number of big plays in the third period redirecting pucks in close, kicking off shorthanded scoring plays and then setting up clutch game-winners in the final 15 seconds of the game. It’s the kind of night where Marchand played like an MVP even if he isn’t going to get much of a sniff at the Hart Trophy.
BLACK EYE: Jamie Benn scored a shorthanded goal for the Dallas Stars, but he also jumped up in the air and clobbered Brad Marchand from behind with a completely unnecessary hit in the third period that went without a penalty being called. Instead it seemed to incense Marchand, who never gave up in the final sequence and ultimately fed a pass to David Pastrnak down low for the game-winner with just 11.1 seconds remaining in the game. Benn finished a minus-2 for Dallas while being on the ice for a pair of goals against, had a brutal 1-for-7 performance in the face-off dot and really acted like a punk on the play with Marchand in the third period. Benn is a better player than that and shouldn’t be resorting that level on a fellow star player like Marchand.
TURNING POINT: Once again the Bruins really turned things around in the third period while outscoring the Stars by a 3-0 margin, and really flooding the Dallas net with 10 of their 36 shots on net for the night. It all started with a relentless shift from Boston’s top line where Riley Nash made a pass from his knees before taking a big hit, and then Brad Marchand redirected a David Pastrnak shot from the slot off his leg and into the net for Boston’s first goal. That first score finally allowed the Bruins to begin building some momentum, score each of the next two goals as the game slipped away from Dallas and once again proved themselves as a hockey club that one doesn’t ever doubt in the third period.
HONORABLE MENTION: Tuukka Rask had a career-high 40 saves and turned away some really good looks from the Dallas offense while showing exactly what the Bruins can be capable of when their goaltending is on point. The only goals that beat Rask were a first period score with droves of traffic in front of the net, and a second period shorthanded score for Jamie Benn where he pulled one of those unconventional finishing moves on Rask at the very end. Rask made 11 saves on the Dallas power play alone during a trio of PP chances, and made a crucial leg pad save on Antoine Roussel in the third period that helped open things up for the goal-scoring outburst late in the game. Hopefully the strong, resounding performance from Rask answers some of the questions about some of his recent so-so performances between the pipes.
BY THE NUMBERS: 29 – the number of goals this season for David Pastrnak as he readies to become only the ninth Bruins player to hit the 30-goal plateau in back-to-back seasons over the last 35 years of franchise history.
QUOTE TO NOTE: “Resiliency. We didn’t want to go quietly for sure. We can live with the end result as long as we play the right way. The end result went our way again in the end, and I think that’s a credit to the guys.” –Bruce Cassidy to NESN about another comeback win for the Black and Gold.
DALLAS - David Pastrnak broke a tie with 12 seconds left and the Boston Bruins scored three straight goals in the third period to rally past the fading Dallas Stars 3-2 on Friday night.
A scramble followed a faceoff in the Dallas end, and Brad Marchand passed to Pastrnak in front. While falling down, he put the puck past Stars goalie Kari Lehtonen.
TALKING POINTS: B's resiliency on full display vs Stars
Tuukka Rask made a season-high 40 saves for the Bruins. Marchand scored Boston's first goal and also assisted on a short-handed goal by Tim Schaller that tied it midway through the third period.
The second-place Bruins won for the first time in three games (1-0-2) to move within four points of Atlantic Division leader Tampa Bay. Boston has already clinched a playoff berth.
The Stars are winless in their last seven games (0-5-2). They remained four points behind Colorado for the second Western Conference wild card.
Dallas led 2-0 on a first-period goal by Esa Lindell and Jamie Benn's short-handed score late in the second.
In the third, Marchand tipped in a shot by Pastrnak before Schaller scored on a 2-on-1 with Marchand.
Lehtonen finished with 33 saves.
Lindell scored 2:26 into the game. Jason Dickinson tried to deflect a shot from the right point into the net but the puck went wide right. Curtis McKenzie picked it up behind the goal line and passed to Lindell high in the left faceoff circle. His wrist shot went in off Rask's right arm.
Benn missed two good scoring opportunities early in the second period, but connected at 19:22. He took a pass from Tyler Seguin at the Dallas blue line and had a breakaway when Matt Grzelcyk fell down. Benn slid a backhand under Rask.