Bruins

David Pastrnak's hat trick leads Boston Bruins to 8-2 rout of Detroit Red Wings

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David Pastrnak's hat trick leads Boston Bruins to 8-2 rout of Detroit Red Wings

BOSTON -- The talking points from the Bruins' 8-2 win over the Red Wings on Saturday afternoon at TD Garden:

GOLD STAR: David Pastrnak ended with a hat trick and once again sparked the Bruins offense with a highlight-reel move in the first period. Pastrnak took the puck down low, carried it all the way up the ice through a Detroit defense that totally backed off him, and then fired a laser beam to the far top corner of the net for an electrifying goal. It didn’t end there, obviously, as Pastrnak scored two more goals and finished with three goals and a plus-3 in 13:34 of ice time. The second goal was just as pretty as Patrice Bergeron threw Pastrnak a no-look, cross-ice pass and the 22-year-old right winger didn’t miss a beat in rifling a one-timer to the top corner of the net. In all Pastrnak has seven goals and nine points in five games to start the season, and has essentially done all of that damage in the last four games following the opening night debacle against Washington.

BLACK EYE: Boy, was it a tough night for young Detroit defenseman Joe Hicketts. Not only did he get dismissively slapped away like a little child by Zdeno Chara during a first-period scuffle between the Bruins and Red Wings players, but he also finished with a game-worst minus-3 on the evening. Hicketts actually had 23:59 of ice time for the Red Wings in an impressive workhorse amount, and threw five hits while trying to play a physical style. But Hicketts clearly isn’t ready to shut down players the caliber of Boston’s lineup at this early point in his career, and he should think two, three or even four times before tangling with Chara anytime soon. Like a lot of his young Detroit teammates, Hicketts is probably going to take his lumps this season.

TURNING POINT: While many, this humble hockey writer included, would point to the Pastrnak first-period thing of beauty as the event that energized the Bruins, the players ibeg to differ. They instead pointed to Noel Acciari getting into it with Dylan Larkin a little bit earlier in the period after the two had collided violently in the neutral zone. Larkin came back and gave Acciari a couple of shoves to the head area, and Acciari finally responded by dropping the gloves ready to handle it the honorable way. At that point Larkin backed down and gave the Bruins a power play when he was slapped with a double-minor for roughing at the end of the incident. The Bruins players said that exchange woke them up from a bit of a sleepy first period, and got them going for the rest of the game.  

HONORABLE MENTION: Finishing up behind Pastrnak was Jake DeBrusk with two goals of his own on the night. It was the first two goals of the season for the second-year winger and finally might allow him to relax a little bit after pressing following a scoreless first four games of the season. The first goal was a great play with David Krejci intercepting a puck in the neutral zone and then feeding DeBrusk behind the Red Wings defense for a breakaway chance. DeBrusk went for a five hole bid that pin-balled around Jonathan Bernier’s pads before trickling over the goal line, and extending Boston’s lead in the second period. DeBrusk scored later in a redirected shot while attacking the net as well, and finished with two goals and seven shot attempts with a plus-2 rating in 13:50 of ice time. Even better it looks like DeBrusk might be adjusting to playing on the right wing, which could open up some possibilities for either Danton Heinen or Ryan Donato on the left side with them.  

BY THE NUMBERS: 22-6 – the amount that the Bruins have outscored the Sabres, Senators, Oilers and Red Wings over the last four games after losing the humiliating 7-0 loss to the Washington Capitals on opening night.

QUOTE TO NOTE: “I don’t really think about it. I just go out there and play hockey, and enjoy every moment on the ice. Trying to get better every practice and every game, and just, you know, having fun. I love the game and I’m not focusing on if I’m going to score a goal or three.” – David Pastrnak, on whether he’s trying to bulk up his goal-scoring totals this season with seven goals in five games to start the year. 

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Sweeney: Bruins 'going to need to be at our best' to defeat Columbus

Sweeney: Bruins 'going to need to be at our best' to defeat Columbus

BRIGHTON, Mass. – The Bruins will undoubtedly be wary of the wild card Columbus Blue Jackets when their playoff series gets underway on Thursday night at TD Garden.

The Blue Jackets gave the Bruins all they could handle during the season and dropped seven goals on them during an embarrassing mid-March loss in Columbus before dropping the final two meetings of the regular season between the two teams. Now they are vastly improved due to confidence, greater focus and finished chemistry between some of the new parts brought in at the trade deadline, and the Blue Jackets are getting the proper respect from the Bruins headed in.

During the regular season the Blue Jackets were just outside the top-10 in both offense and defense, but they improved markedly once Matt Duchene (three goals, seven points in four games) arrived, as evidenced by his scoring binge in the first round against the Lightning.

The Columbus power play was dreadful during the regular season, so it will be interesting to see if their hot PP stays hot in the second round. But their PK was the second-best in the NHL during the regular season, and it will be a prime-time matchup butting heads against a Boston PP that was red-hot (7-for-17) against the Leafs in the first round.

Bruins general manager Don Sweeney was paying his respect to Columbus ahead of the series while addressing the media on Wednesday, and it sure sounds like Boston won’t underestimate the eighth-seeded Blue Jackets this round.

“They’re tough. They’re well-rested. They won by our count 7-of-8 and 11-of-12 down the stretch and four in a row against arguably a favorite [in Tampa Bay] going into the Stanley Cup playoffs. They made a lot of changes and have come together,” Sweeney said, addressing the media on Wednesday in between playoff game days. “They present a lot of challenges and we’re going to have to be at our best to beat them. It’s two teams that certainly have good goaltending, good depth and balance in their scoring. After a four-game series I think they’re first in PP and fifth in penalty kill, and we’re second and seventh. Special teams were a factor in the last series. It’s definitely a tough opponent and we’re going to need to be at our best.

“They’re a talented group. They’ll score off the rush. They’ll fore-check in an aggressive manner. They were in the top-10 anyway, but their blocked shots have dramatically increased. So they’re invested and they present challenges. They have good goaltending and they have three defensemen that generally play in the 26-28 minute range [of ice time]. So they’re on the ice an awful lot of the game. They have a power play that was running hot during the [Tampa] series and was pretty good during the year as well.

"They present challenges. They’re a good team and they deserve to be here.”

Certainly Duchene and Artemi Panarin will get plenty of attention up front, but this is also a big, physical group that doesn’t mind matching brawn with skill, and could pose problems on multiple fronts. Sergei Bobrovsky is every bit as good as Tuukka Rask, if not better between the pipes. And the Blue Jackets' defense features young stud D-men in Zach Werenski and Seth Jones who will play close to half of each and every one of the playoff games.

That’s a much different wrinkle than the self-destructing Maple Leafs, who eventually reverted to form in Game 7 after playing some good defense through most of the first-round series. That won’t be the case for the B’s against the Blue Jackets, and instead they’ll have to earn just as fervently as they did in the seven-game series vs. Toronto in the first round.

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2019 Stanley Cup odds: Bruins, Sharks co-favorites in updated betting lines

2019 Stanley Cup odds: Bruins, Sharks co-favorites in updated betting lines

The Boston Bruins are the best team, at least in terms of regular-season record, still alive in the 2019 Stanley Cup playoffs. But is that good enough for them to be the favorite to win the Stanley Cup?

Well, FanDuel Sportsbook has pegged the Bruins and San Jose Sharks as co-favorites to win the Stanley Cup at +460, as of Wednesday afternoon.

Both of these teams won Game 7s of their respective first-round series Tuesday night. The Bruins defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs 5-1 at TD Garden, while the Sharks eliminated the Vegas Golden Knights in a thrilling 5-4 overtime victory. Boston will play the Columbus Blue Jackets in the second round. San Jose will play the Colorado Avalanche in Round 2.

The Bruins last won the Stanley Cup in 2011 and went to the Cup Final again in 2013. The Sharks' only Stanley Cup Final appearance came in 2016, when they lost to Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins in six games.

Here are FanDuel's updated Stanley Cup futures odds: 

Bruins, Sharks: +460
Blue Jackets, Islanders: +600
Capitals, Blues: +700
Avalanche, Stars: +800
Hurricanes: +1700

The first round will conclude Wednesday night when the defending champion Washington Capitals host the Carolina Hurricanes in Game 7.

Click here for an early look at Bruins vs. Blue Jackets>>>

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