GOLD STAR: Ryan Spooner had to move to the wing to make room for David Krejci in the lineup, but made a huge statement tonight that he wants to keep playing. His strong play fends off teammates like Anders Bjork and Frank Vatrano chomping at the bit to get back in. Spooner scored a pair of goals to earn his third career two-goal game against his hometown Senators. He played with a fantastic combination of speed and skill both during 5-on-5 play and on the power play. Spooner scored two goals, earned a plus-1 rating, and netted six shots on net in 17:07 of ice time. He now has two goals and seven points in his last seven games since coming back from injury. Perhaps the most promising signs Spooner has shown is his competitiveness, aggressive speed and assertiveness on the ice. This will keep him in the lineup for as long as that remains the case. It’s a win-win situation for the Bruins if it continues as they can utilize him as a veteran top-6 winger, and they could also decide to potentially deal him from a position of strength if he’s playing full-tilt hockey like he is right now.
BLACK EYE: Erik Karlsson has enjoyed some very good games against the Bruins as of late, but Saturday night was not one of them for the two-time Norris Trophy-winning defenseman. Instead it looked like there was a whole lot of resignation in the games of both Karlsson and the rest of the Senators players once things started rolling away from them in the second period. Karlsson finished a team-worst minus-2 with just two shots in net in 26 plus minutes of ice time, and had five of his seven shot attempts blocked by a Bruins team that was going all out for the win. Karlsson has elevated his game for the Senators as of late, but that wasn’t really the case in Saturday’s shutout loss.
TURNING POINT: The Bruins had a 1-0 lead after the opening 20 minutes, but they really pulled away in the second period against an Ottawa team that appeared to pack it in. The Bruins scored three unanswered goals in the second period, finally started getting their power play unit in sync and then totally buried the Senators underneath continuous waves of quality shifts from all four lines. The Bruins outshot the Senators by a 23-15 margin over the final 40 minutes of the game, and Ottawa could manage only four shots on net in the third period. Ottawa was left waving the white flag in a sad final 20 minutes for them. This was a tale of two hockey teams going in very different directions this season, and the Bruins clearly asserted their authority over the Sens.
HONORABLE MENTION: David Krejci returned after missing the last six games with an upper body injury and made an immediate impact with a goal, two points, and solid powerplay effort on Saturday night. Krejci looked no worse for the wear health-wise and had very little rust in his game as he totaled a goal, two points, a plus-1 rating, five shots on net and a 10-for-18 performance in the face-off circle. It was very clear that Krejci’s presence really elevated the man advantage and gave the Bruins exactly the kind of high wattage special teams play they’re going to need to keep carrying things offensively as they move forward.
BY THE NUMBERS: 10-2-2 – The Bruins record during an excellent month of December where they climbed up the standings and ended on a high note with the blowout win over the Senators.
QUOTE TO NOTE: “Everyone showed up, we played well and we didn’t give them much. Offensively I thought things were clicking, and the power play was amazing from the [David] Krejci unit. It really got us going.” –Patrice Bergeron to NESN on the blowout win over the Senators that ended a 3-of-4 point performance on the two-game road trip.