BOSTON – The Bruins were hoping for a big boost from the return of Patrice Bergeron and David Backes to the lineup, and that’s exactly what they got in a solid 6-3 win over the Vancouver Canucks at TD Garden on Thursday night.
Bergeron finished with a goal and three assists and a plus-2 rating in the win, and it appeared his return to the Boston lineup was exactly what the doctor ordered for a hockey club in need of a little direction.
Vancouver actually scored the first goal of the game, but then the Bruins exploded for the next four goals in the first period including three power play goals courtesy of a five minute major boarding penalty on Erik Gudbranson. The mammoth Canucks D-man slammed Frank Vatrano from behind against the end boards, and David Pastrnak, Anders Bjork and David Krejci all tallied power play strikes within 1:37 of each other.
The Pastrnak score was the beauty of the bunch as he took the puck coast-to-coast through the teeth of the Vancouver penalty kill, and completely faked out Michael Del Zotto before snapping a forehand bid past Anders Nilsson.
Prior to the PP outburst, Derek Dorsett drew first blood for Vancouver on a wobbly bid from the slot and then Anders Bjork followed with his second NHL goal after tapping home the rebound of a Patrice Bergeron bid from the perimeter.
Brad Marchand teamed up with linemates Bergeron and Bjork for his fourth goal of the season to make it 5-1 in the second period, and then Vancouver managed to get a couple of goals from Thomas Vanek and Bo Horvat to make for an interesting final period.
Bergeron made certain that it was a happy ending for the Black and Gold by burying his first goal of the season and his fourth point of the night on a power play strike to ice the game. Anton Khudobin was strong stepping in for the injured Tuukka Rask and stopped 26-of-29 shots for his second victory of the season.
Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while wondering how much phantom soreness that Lebron James has today from that phantom leg injury of his last night.
*In the final year of his contract with the Washington Capitals and without an extension before the season began, coach Barry Trotz is going to be able to maximize his next deal after betting on himself this season with the Caps.
*A complete ranking of all the players in the Stanley Cup Final from best to worst. Poor Brooks Orpik can’t have fared too well on this list.
*Speaking of the Washington Capitals, owner Ted Leonsis was tossing out Caps gear to fans at the Capitals practice rink ahead of the Stanley Cup Final. People are developing Caps fever in the nation’s capital.
*Steve Yzerman’s summer plan is to make the Tampa Bay Lightning an even better team, which seems like it might be difficult given some of their salary cap and contract situations. I guess we’ll see, but nobody should ever doubt Stevie Y.
*Interesting piece on the dynamic between Kevin Shattenkirk and David Quinn, and how their working relationship could define plenty with the New York Rangers this season.
*For something completely different: The Ringer crew asks, is “The Social Network” the best movie of this decade? Maybe for some people it is. You could make an argument for Captain America: Winter Soldier if we include superhero movies which they clearly did not, but I’d mention one movie they didn’t even get around to, “The Martian.” It’s a great movie and a great cast. Well-written. Extremely re-watchable. I definitely think it’s a better movie than the Social Network in a lot of respects even if the Facebook movie probably has a little more social relevance.
Here are all the links from around the hockey world and what I’m reading while wishing happy trails to Hanley Ramirez.
*It sounds like the New York Islanders are strongly in the game for retaining John Tavares after bringing Lou Lamoriello into the hockey operations fold. They will be joining a number of other teams including the Maple Leafs, Buffalo Sabres and others. Do I expect the Bruins to be in the running for Tavares? Not unless they could find a taker for David Krejci. I don’t see that as a very likely scenario this offseason, just as I didn’t see it as a very likely scenario the past couple of years as well. Krejci’s got a big cap hit, he’s well past 30 when teams tend to steer clear of expensive players and he’s logged some heavy miles in his time with the Bruins. Those are the not the kind of players that teams are looking for even with his excellent playoff credentials and a distinct lack of frontline centers around the league.
*The Golden Knights vs. the Washington Capitals in the Stanley Cup Final is a win-win for hockey fans looking for a good series, says the Hockey News.
*This may be the first and last time that FOH (Friend of Haggs) Greg Wyshynski gets a return tweet from Satan, Miroslav Satan that is.
*Things continue to speed up in Pittsburgh as trade rumors are swirling with Phil Kessel in what looks like it’s going to be a turbulent end to his run with the Penguins. Correct me if I’m wrong, but it seems like Mr. Kessel has worn out his welcome at just about every stop along the way in his NHL tour over the last 10 plus years.
*Interesting profile on NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, who continues to tailor his entire life around running the National Hockey League and guiding it to its highest popularity and business levels in league history.
*For something completely different: It’s a little surprising here as the Red Sox and Hanley Ramirez are parting ways with the DH getting designated for assignment by the Sox.