Here’s What We Learned in the Bruins 5-1 win over the New Jersey Devils on Thursday night at the Prudential Center.
1) The Bruins have their chemistry back on the Perfection Line. Certainly, the two goals for Patrice Bergeron and the three-assist night for Brad Marchand would be proof positive of that, but it was the second-period goal where each of the three forwards touched the puck that really showed them back at full force. Patrice Bergeron won the offensive zone face-off and pushed the puck down low to Brad Marchand, who found David Pastrnak cutting right to the net for the tap-in goal that gave the B’s a 2-0 lead. New Jersey would cut into that lead before the period was over, but three goals in the final period — including an empty-netter for Bergeron — capped off a great night for Boston’s high-powered top line. It also included Pastrnak’s first goal since returning from his thumb injury. In all. the line totaled three goals and eight points to go along with eight shots on net.
2) David Backes had himself a great night and really seems to have settled into a secondary contributing role with the playoffs around the corner. He was really good throughout the game with a team-high five shots on net and nine shot attempts overall, and was consistently putting pressure around the front of the New Jersey net. He was then rewarded for his efforts with an empty net goal in the third period and might even have an outside chance at 10 goals for the season if he goes on a hot streak at the end. As it is, Backes is at least showing that he’s going to be a factor at some points during the playoffs even if it’s not every night and that is exactly what the Black and Gold are looking for.
3) Three wins in a row and the Bruins have allowed just two goals in those three games while playing shutdown hockey against Columbus, the Islanders and New Jersey. Certainly, that’s not that much of a big deal against an Isles team that’s been dreadful offensively this season, but they still held them to just 13 shots on net for the game. That’s pretty darn impressive, and they allowed just 22 shots on net and no more than a couple of scoring chances to the Devils on Thursday night. Once again, it was an airtight defensive effort with no Torey Krug and no Matt Grzelcyk in the lineup, and Connor Clifton once again played strong all-around hockey with a plus-3 in 18:50 of ice time to go along with three shot attempts and four registered hits for his efforts.
--Patrice Bergeron finished with a pair of goals, three points and a plus-4 and made a great play winning an offensive zone face-off that set up the game-winning goal in the second period.
--Three assists for Brad Marchand in the game, which puts him up to 90 points for the season and could make him the first 100-point player for the Bruins in a long time if he finishes with a flurry.
--David Pastrnak scored his first goal since coming back from his thumb injury, had five shot attempts and once again looks like he’s ready to return to form.
--Stefan Noesen had no shots on net and a minus-4 for the game. I’m not even mad. I’m just impressed by how bad he was.
--It looked like Sean Kuraly suffered an injury in the third period when he blocked a shot with his hand that immediately went the other way for a Danton Heinen breakaway goal. It would be a big blow to the B’s if Kuraly is gone for any period of time.
--Damon Severson was a minus-3 with four giveaways in 23:29 of ice time for the Devils, and was a mistake waiting to happen against a Bruins team that he’s had pretty tough luck against in the past.
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