Marchand passes out some Valentines for Bruins teammates

Marchand passes out some Valentines for Bruins teammates

Remember around Christmastime, Brad Marchand was making his naughty and nice list for his Bruins teammates?

Well, he's back for Valentine's Day with a couple of special messages for his fellow B's, particularly his linemate, Patrice Bergeron.

"He's the marshmallow and I'm the chocolate," Marchand says as he picks out a S'mores card for Bergy. Awww.

The Bruins agitator also has a Valentine for teammate Torey Krug, with a message that refers to "our on-going battle over who's taller."

Both are listed at 5-foot-9.

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Talking Points from the Bruins' 2-1 overtime win vs. the Avs

Talking Points from the Bruins' 2-1 overtime win vs. the Avs

GOLD STAR: Brad Marchand gets the ultimate prize with his overtime game-winner after Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and Torey Krug pulled off something akin to a three-man weave in the offensive zone during 3-on-3 overtime. Ultimately it was Marchand ripping the shot from the high point with Bergeron parking in front of the net at just the right time, and that gave the Bruins the full two points after a gritty effort. Marchand also picked up an assist on the second period goal for the Bruins as well, so he finished with a goal, two points, a plus-1 rating, six shot attempts, three hits and three takeaways in 18:52 of action-packed ice time. He wasn’t a dominant force, but he made the plays that ultimately decided the game in favor of Boston.

BLACK EYE: It was a pretty ho-hum night for old friend Carl Soderberg, who managed just a couple of shots on net in 19:56 of ice time manning the middle for the Avalanche. Soderberg didn’t factor in much of anything offensively for Colorado and was pretty much a bystander in all phases of the game aside from winning 6-of-10 face-offs for the Avalanche. It’s actually been a very good season for the Big Swede in Colorado after signing the big contract a few years ago, but Soderberg didn’t bring much to the table against his old Bruins team.

TURNING POINT: Overtime hasn’t always been a strong point for the Bruins this season, but they controlled play in the 4-on-4 session before pulling out the win. Things ended with Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand and Torey Krug dominating in the offensive zone against the tired Avalanche defenders, and making pass after pass after pass while cycling high in the zone before Marchand decided to attack the net with a shot. The Bruins outshot the Avalanche by a 4-2 margin in the overtime session and looked like the team putting in that little bit extra to take home the win.

HONORABLE MENTION: John Moore played one of his best games of the season for the Bruins while scoring the only B’s goal in regulation, and playing a solid brand of defense otherwise for the Black and Gold. Moore finished with the goal, a plus-1 rating in 18:24 of ice time, three shots on net, six shot attempts and a hit. He also almost had another goal later in the game when he dumped a puck into the offensive zone that took a bounce off the stanchion right past the benches, and then rocketed into the net past Semyon Varlamov. The goal was waved off because it was caused by the curved glass, but it kind of proved that bounces were going Moore’s way in this one.

BY THE NUMBERS: 12 – the home winless streak for the Bruins against the Avalanche that was snapped on Sunday afternoon, a string of futility that had lasted since Boston had a 4-1 win on March 30, 1998. Boy that is a long time.

QUOTE TO NOTE:  “Goalies are judged by their wins and losses, right? So, you don’t have one for a while or not enough of them...I would assume you get in your own head a little bit sometimes when you start questioning probably every goal that goes in. Tonight he was good value for us.” –Bruce Cassidy, on goalie Jaroslav Halak getting a win on Sunday after struggling as of late for the Bruins. 

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Cassidy helping to spark B's offense with changes up front

USA TODAY Sports Images

Cassidy helping to spark B's offense with changes up front

BOSTON – Don’t look now but the changes that Bruce Cassidy is making with his forwards are finally beginning to pay off.

After mostly leaving the Perfection Line productively intact in the first half of the season, the Bruins head coach has mixed things up and got another two points on Saturday with a 5-4 overtime matinee win at TD Garden. Danton Heinen has scored goals in each of the last two games after getting bumped up to the top line with Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand, and David Krejci powered home a goal from the B’s second line in the win as well.

The mixing and matching has clearly worked well this time around for the Bruins.

“I thought [Heinen] was real good. He complemented that line well,” said Bruce Cassidy. “He made some plays off the rush to get the puck to, early on, to Bergy [Patrice Bergeron] there off the rush and drive the net, kept some pucks alive, shot the puck when it was his opportunity to do that, finished a nice play by going to the net. Defensively, I didn’t see any issues either, so I thought that worked out real well for him and the group.”


It remains to be seen how long those changes are going to stay in place, but it has to give the B’s organization some confidence that they may yet have some of the best answers to their roster problems with in-house solutions. It’s also very clear it brought a whole world of confidence to Heinen, after the 23-year-old struggled through the first 50 plus games of the season while failing to match the pace of last season’s rookie totals of 16 goals and 47 points.

But those struggles seem to be fading from Heinen’s memory now that he’s been charged with top line duties -- and with that, a prime spot on the right wing with two of the NHL’s elite players.

“I think it’s always just be hard on pucks, win your battles, you know, other things will take of itself after that. So, no I mean, Bergy and Marchy [Brad Marchand] they win so many battles and so I try to put a little pressure on myself to help them out there and get them the puck,” said Heinen. “Confidence is a funny thing, but felt good tonight. I think you automatically get a little bit of confidence when you see them going in. So yeah, I’m going to try to build off of it, keep on working, and yeah build off it.”

It will be interesting to see just how much the move ends up sparking Heinen’s game, and how much an elevated performance could raise his stock around the league ahead of this month’s trade deadline. But the other big part of this equation is David Pastrnak joining David Krejci and Peter Cehlarik on Boston’s second line.

The second line kicked in a goal in the third period of the Saturday afternoon win when David Krejci fired home a shot into a largely vacant net for his 12thgoal of the season. It was a key goal during Boston’s third period offensive outburst and it also offset a few defensive mistakes that left each of the line’s members a minus-2 for the game. David Pastrnak actually one of his more ineffective games of the season with no shots on net to along with the minus plays, and all three only combined for three total shots on net.

So Boston’s playmaking Krejci was appropriately self-critical following a game that the B’s barely escaped with their two points intact.

“Sometimes bounces don’t go your way but I think we stuck with it, even when we got scored on, and we came hard again in the next shift and we had some good looks,” said David Krejci. “Obviously there is no perfect game and we know that we have to be better in certain areas but at the same time we got two points. Tomorrow is a new game so we need to get good sleep and get back at it tomorrow [in another matinee against the Avalanche].”

But the bottom line is that a number of forward line changes that Cassidy made earlier this week are pumping up the Bruins offense, and making the Black and Gold a more difficult team to defend at this point. The hope is that it will make them stay longer in the playoffs than the Bruins team that crumbled in the second round vs. Tampa. 

Heinen is playing his best hockey of the season on Boston’s top line and Pastrnak has sparked Krejci in many ways with the chemistry now beginning to flow between fellow Czech forwards in Pastrnak and Krejci.

Nobody can say what exactly the Bruins are going to look like once the NHL trade deadline has passed at the end of the month, but it will arrive just as Boston seems to finally be finding some answers up front among the forward group. 

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