GOLD STAR: Tuukka Rask was just a little bit better than Blues goaltender Jake Allen in a puck-stopping exhibition put on by the two goalies. Rask was at his best in the third period on a combination save kicking out a Joel Edmundson shot, and then somehow fully extending with a glove save on a Jaden Schwartz point blank rebound bid. That was the most show-stopping of his 32 saves behind a Bruins defense that did a good job of clearing pucks around him, but Rask was simply solid with positional saves and good technique. The win pushes him to a 19-game personal point streak with a 17-0-2 record, which is the fourth-longest streak in B’s history behind only Gerry Cheevers, Pete Peeters and Frank Brimsek.
BLACK EYE: Vladimir Tarasenko got a late assist on a Blues goal in the final two minutes of the game, but he was pretty terrible most of the night for St. Louis. Tarasenko finished with just a single shot on net and four giveaways in his 21:08 of ice time, and it was his hooking penalty on Torey Krug that set up the eventual power play game-winner for the Black and Gold. The Blues certainly got some good performances from players like Jaden Schwartz and Jake Allen in their Thursday night road meeting in Boston, but Tarasenko looked like he never really got in the flow after choosing to get in David Backes’ face pretty early in the game. Perhaps he had his head on a swivel the rest of the night after the confrontation with his former captain.
TURNING POINT: It was as simple as getting the jump on the Blues and scoring the game’s first goal for the first time in nine games. David Krejci scored a controversial goal in the first period that was upheld by a goalie interference challenge, and that gave the Bruins a chance to play front-runners for the first time in a while. The Bruins improved to 19-1-5 this season in games where they scored the game’s first goal and immediately were able to dictate terms for the rest of the game against an admittedly hard-nosed Blues bunch. Getting off to a strong start is something the Bruins were shooting to change in their makeup after slacking over the last 10 or so games, and it’s no coincidence they did exactly that in a winning effort on Thursday.
HONORABLE MENTION: David Backes was determined to do some damage against his old Blues team on Thursday after feeling like the emotion sucked away some of his energy in each of the two meetings last season. Backes did just that with a season-high eight shots on net and five registered hits while playing both the power game and the offensive game that he’s still clearly capable of kicking up when the mood inspires him. Backes was a beast in and around the front of the net, and finally got rewarded with the empty net goal with just 0.4 seconds on the clock in the third period. Backes did everything well in his 18:01 of ice time, and saved one of his best shifts for the end of the game when he rocked Brayden Schenn with a big hit and then scored the empty netter.
BY THE NUMBERS: 11 – the number of goals that Patrice Bergeron has in his last 13 games as he continues to swing a hot stick in all situations.
QUOTE TO NOTE: “The guys really battled. It was probably our most complete game where we had to battle and win pucks all over the ice.” –David Backes, on a solid 3-1 win over the Blues where the Bruins had to fight, grind and grit their way against a big, heavy Western Conference team.