GOLD STAR: Zdeno Chara didn’t factor into the scoring for the Bruins, but the 6-foot-9, 40-year-old captain was massive against the Oilers in his role as a shutdown performer. Chara was locked up with Connor McDavid throughout the 60 minutes of regulation play, and it was that constant attention being paid by Big Zee that helped keep the Edmonton wunderkind under wraps with just a couple of shots on net. Above and beyond the simple, vital defensive shutdown work for the Bruins that goes without saying, Chara set the tone physically as well with team-highs in registered hits (five) and blocked shots (five) in his 22:39 of ice time. He finished a plus-1, wasn’t scored on and instead continued to draw energy and enthusiasm doing his defensive work even though it was the second end of a back-to-back fairly late in the season.
BLACK EYE: Leon Draisaitl had to know that he was in for a battle against the Bruins based on their center strength down the middle, and he clearly came up on the short end of the stick along with his Oilers. Draisaitl finished with no shots on net, a couple of giveaways and not much else going on aside from going 12-for-26 in a face-off performance that wasn’t very good either. Draisaitl is counted on to be a big time player for the Oilers and team with Connor McDavid as a 1-2 punch carrying them on offense when things aren’t going well. That didn’t happen with Edmonton’s German import and the rest of an Oilers group. Once again, they fell short after building up and holding a two-goal lead for most of the game. Things would have been much better for the Oil if Draisaitl could have finished off an offensive play or two on an evening where it was all hands on deck against the Bruins.
TURNING POINT: It was all about Noel Acciari finally breaking through in the third period with his high effort goal, and that stirred everything else into gear as everybody suddenly started believing in the comeback. That turned into three unanswered goals in the third period that led the Bruins to the two points. Acciari motored down the wing, fired a shot at the net and gathered his own rebound behind the net before wrapping it inside the post on the opposite side for his first score in a while since battling injuries over the last few weeks. That bit of fourth line opportunistic offense really started things percolating with the Bruins offense, and led to a couple more goals from a Boston bunch that refused to lose once again.
HONORABLE MENTION: Give it up for David Krejci stepping up in the final minutes and scoring the game-winning goal as he stepped up to finish off a great play that started with both Danton Heinen and David Backes. Krejci finished with a goal in 17:23 of ice time, three shots on net, a registered hit and 8-of-13 face-off wins in a solid night, but he really seemed to flourish when Bruce Cassidy switched him out with Riley Nash for a bit of a third period spark. That’s when Backes and Heinen responded to playing with No. 46, and ultimately teamed up for the game-winner after Nash had set up the game-tying goal with his new linemates in Jake DeBrusk and Ryan Spooner. Take a bow for those line changes in the third period down by a couple of goals, Bruce Cassidy!
BY THE NUMBERS: 142 – the fewest goals allowed in the NHL this season is something proudly carried around this season, and it’s really not even close with Nashville as the next team with 154 goals allowed this season.
QUOTE TO NOTE: “We’ll have to see how quickly he really adapts to our system, and then go from there.” –Bruce Cassidy to reporters in Edmonton, when asking how long it will be for newly traded D-man Nick Holden to get in the lineup for the Bruins.
There's no question Boston Bruins star Brad Marchand is one of the best wingers in the NHL, and consistency has become a huge reason for that.
Marchand scored a goal in Saturday night's 4-2 road win against the Los Angeles Kings, giving him a team-leading 70 points (also leads the team with 47 assists) through 58 games. It's his third straight season with 70-plus points, moving him higher on an impressive list of scoring wingers in Bruins history.
Hitting the 70-point mark in three consecutive seasons is pretty good, and Marchand is the first Bruin to accomplish that feat since Marc Savard from 2006-07 through 2008-09.
Marchand has scored at better than a point-per-game level in each of the last two seasons, and he's projected to do it again in 2018-19. His current pace would put him at just under 98 points by the end of the regular season. Marchand also is well on his way to finishing as the B's top scorer for the third consecutive campaign.
The Bruins are on a 10-game point streak (including five wins in a row) entering Monday night's game against the San Jose Sharks. Marchand has tallied 17 points (four goals, 13 assists) during the team's point streak, serving as the catalyst for the Boston's offense without leading goal scorer David Pastrnak, who will miss several weeks with a thumb injury.
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Here are my talking points from another Bruins win in Southern California on Saturday night . . .
GOLD STAR: Jake DeBrusk has now scored goals in three games in a row, and kicked things off with the Bruins in the first period. Peter Cehlarik flipped a cross-ice pass to DeBrusk cutting toward the net and he was the beneficiary of a puck bounce off a skate that got it to him in shooting position, and DeBrusk didn’t make a mistake in that golden scoring area. DeBrusk finished with a goal and two points, a plus-2 rating in 14:53 of ice time and plenty of jump to his game now that he’s busted out of a slump that saw him go without a goal for a month. DeBrusk’s goal was also his 17th score of the season, which is a career-high for the young winger as he continues to build on last season’s rookie campaign with another scoring season.
🏒 BRUINS 4, KINGS 2
BLACK EYE: Anze Kopitar really looked like he got it handed to him on Saturday night going up against Patrice Bergeron. Kopitar finished with an assist that he deserves full credit for, but he also finished with a minus-2 in 22 minutes of ice time. The Kings center was also 7-for-19 in the face-off circle as he got dominated by No. 37 and other players when it came to battling for puck possession, and also couldn’t really do anything to shut down the B’s either once they pulled away at the end of the third period against Los Angeles. It is amazing how almost every single time Bergeron puts together his “A” game when it’s another rival Selke candidate on the ice that he’s up against as it was with the former winner in Kopitar.
TURNING POINT: Give credit to Tuukka Rask for playing a solid game for the Bruins against Los Angeles, and the B’s netminder gets credit for holding down the lead when he executed a crazy double-stack pad save against Alex Iafallo in the second period. Rask stopped 10-of-11 shots in that second period while only allowing a power play goal, and watched as the Bruins pushed up for a lead with Brad Marchand scoring right off a face-off win in the offensive zone. But it will be the battling, spread out save against Iafallo that others will remember as Rask’s biggest contribution amidst a hot streak of puck-stopping for the No. 1 goalie.
HONORABLE MENTION: Charlie McAvoy scored the game-winning goal in the final two minutes of the third period, and had another strong, strong game against the Los Angeles Kings after an off night in Anaheim on Friday night. McAvoy finished off the give-and-go play with Jake DeBrusk for the game-winner, had a plus-2 rating in 19:16 of ice time, six shot attempts and three hits in a solid blend of the physical game and the skill game. It’s still up to McAvoy to make certain these games become the norm for him in his second NHL season, but the Bruins D-man is back to doing some very good things for Boston in his second season. He’s been playing the best hockey of his season in the last few weeks, and that was the continuation on Friday.
BY THE NUMBERS: 6 – the number of blocked shots for Kevan Miller in a gritty win as he played in front of the LA Kings team that he grew up watching as a California kid.
QUOTE TO NOTE: “Even though it’s not our best we get through it, and that’s got to give you a lift.” –Bruce Cassidy on NESN about the Bruins taking home a 4-2 win over the Kings despite blowing the lead in the third period.
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