Talking points: Marchand shines, B's feel McAvoy's absence

Talking points: Marchand shines, B's feel McAvoy's absence

GOLD STAR: On a night when the Bruins needed their best players to step up and make plays if they were going to beat the Red Wings, Brad Marchand did exactly that for the Black and Gold. Marchand kicked off an epic night with a hat trick, five points and a plus-2 rating in 19:38 of ice time while also putting up with some definite targeting at the hands of the Red Wings players coming at him. Marchand also set a Bruins franchise record with his 11th overtime game-winner, which passed Dit Clapper and Glen Murray for the top spot on the all-time list. What was perhaps most impressive was Marchand providing the final three goals for the Bruins in the game, and essentially refusing to let Boston lose in a game where they played far from their best brand of hockey. 

BLACK EYE: It was a very “meh” night from Zdeno Chara where the Bruins captain was on the ice for four of the five goals against, finished a minus-2 in 25: 26 of ice time, and made some poor decisions in puck management, zone coverage and execution in clearing pucks. It seemed like one of those nights where the heavy schedule might be getting to the 40-year-old captain a little bit, and Chara somehow didn’t have even a single hit or a blocked shot  while logging the most ice time of anybody in the game. Clearly the Bruins were just good enough to survive and the hope has to be that the Chara/Brandon Carlo pairing gets a little better as things move along, but it wasn’t a very good showing for them just hours after it was learned that Charlie McAvoy would be out for the next four weeks. 

TURNING POINT: The Bruins are only 8-8 in overtime this season, but they’re beginning to develop a confidence and swagger when the extra session hits. It’s probably because they have an absolute OT weapon in Marchand, and he was once again in full effect crashing the Detroit net and cleaning up a Torey Krug chance for his 28th goal of the season and 66th point of the season. All the Bruins needed was 34 seconds once the overtime session started, and they were ready to dispatch a Detroit Red Wings team that really isn’t very good this season. Once it reached overtime and the Red Wings had put up a reasonable fight, it was all over for them and it was winning time for the Black and Gold. 

HONORABLE MENTION: Torey Krug had an opportunity to really step up and fill in the offensive defenseman void with Charlie McAvoy out, and he did just that on Tuesday night against the Red Wings. Krug finished with two goals, four points and a plus-2 rating in 20:18 of ice time, and he was part of the early offensive boost from the Black and Gold that got things up and running for them. Krug had seven shot attempts and a couple of blocked shots as well in his night’s work, and looked pretty good in a pairing with Nick Holden that’s been put together with McAvoy missing. It certainly looked like that might be a better fit for No. 47 than the work he’d done with Carlo for most of this season. 

BY THE NUMBERS: 3 – the number of assists for Nick Holden in his three games as a member of the Bruins as he’s managed to notch a helper in each of the three games that he’s played thus far.  

QUOTE TO NOTE: “We know there are 82 of these [games], and it’s hard to stay in the moment for 82, and focused and not want to have a little offensive surge and trade chances. But we’re trying to play to our identity, as well. So we talked about it; hopefully it doesn’t go in one ear and out the other and we take it to heart, and build on it for our next game.” –Bruce Cassidy, knowing that the Bruins have some defensive things to work on after allowing five goals.

NHL still debating possible discipline on Schenn-Krejci collision

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NHL still debating possible discipline on Schenn-Krejci collision

The NHL Department of Player Safety is still debating if supplemental discipline is needed for the Blues'  Brayden Schenn for the violent hit he delivered to the Bruins' David Krejci in the B's 2-1 overtime loss in St. Louis on Wednesday night. 

In the second period, Schenn clobbered David Krejci in the corner with a punishing hit to the head as the B’s playmaking center was facing him immediately after releasing the puck. Schenn was whistled for a two-minute minor for charging at the time of the collision, but luckily Krejci was able to remain in the game and played 15:54 of ice time in the loss.

Upon further review, it was very clearly a big, heavy hit delivered to Krejci’s head, but there were plenty of mitigating factors. Krejci had his head down until the last second while looking down at the puck on his stick and was hunched over as Schenn moved in to deliver a check on a player eligible to be hit. Schenn’s skates left the ice to finish the hit after impact, which made the collision look even worse to the casual observer, but that isn’t considered launching into a hit by the NHL’s standards.

Adding to the equation is that Schenn has been suspended twice by the NHL before, three games in 2016 for a charging hit on TJ Oshie and one game back in 2013.

Clearly, it’s a difficult call for the league as they try to deter hits to the head and reduce the number of concussions. Still, this would appear to be another situation where, as the league says, a player “assumed a posture that made head contact on an otherwise full body check unavoidable." It’s absolutely similar to the Patrick Hornqvist/Charlie McAvoy hit from a few weeks ago that never ended up with any supplemental discipline for the Penguins hard-hitter despite plenty of hue and cry from the Bruins fans.

So what does everybody else think about this hit, and whether or not Schenn should be facing discipline from the NHL as a result of it?


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

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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.