Talking points: Anders Bjork begins to emerge in Bruins' win over Canucks
Patrice Bergeron is a game-changer, a difference-maker and the Bruins best player, and showed exactly why in his return to the Bruins' lineup after a five-game absence due to a lower body injury. Bergeron finished with a goal, three assists, a plus-2, six shots on net and eight shot attempts in 20:58 of ice time, and allowed the Bruins to get a little closer to what they’re supposed to look like in just about every facet of the game. Combine that with the leadership shown off by the ice by No. 37, and it finally looked like a Bruins team with some aim and direction rather than the confused bunch skating around in the first five games of the season.
Erik Gudbranson really kicked over the hornet’s nest when he boarded Frank Vatrano against the end boards behind the Vancouver net in the first period. The play led to a fight between Gudbranson and Schaller, and then a five minute major and game misconduct for the towering Canucks defenseman. The Bruins proceeded to score three power play goals during the ensuing five minute power play and put the game out of reach for the Canucks. So it turned out to be a very costly 1:15 of total ice time for Gudbranson on Thursday night, and exactly the turning point the Bruins had been looking for to spur on a special teams-led victory.
The Bruins scored three power play goals within a span of 1:37 in the first period to push out to a 4-1 lead, and essentially eliminate any chance the Canucks had of completely coming back in the game. It was a coast-to-coast rush from David Pastrnak that opened up the scoring, and seemed to stun the Canucks as Boston followed with power play strikes from Anders Bjork and David Krejci as well before the outburst was done. It was a great job by Tim Schaller stepping up and fighting the mountain of a man after he boarded Vatrano, but an equally great job by the power play unit to strike for the three goals immediately afterward.
It was a bit of a slow start for Anders Bjork to his rookie season when he was all of a sudden placed on a different line after spending all of training camp with Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand. So it was like Bjork was finally set free when Bergeron returned on Thursday night, and Bjork finished with two goals, three points and a plus-2 rating in 12:29 of ice time with four shots on net and seven shot attempts. Bjork clearly has some very good chemistry with that duo after working with them for most of the last couple of months, and it showed in the victory. It would be a real benefit to see him really start to develop the confidence now that he’s in the spot he thought he’d be at the start of the season.
BY THE NUMBERS:
2 – the number of fights for the Bruins as Tim Schaller dropped the gloves with Erik Gudbranson to stick up for Frank Vatrano, and then Kevan Miller tangled with Derek Dorsett after he’d been messing with Brad Marchand in the first period as well. It’s good to see the Bruins protecting their teammates like that this early in the season.
QUOTE TO NOTE:
“Hopefully our guys are fine tomorrow, and we continue that way and continue [to play like Thursday night] because it makes a big difference. I told you, we’re not in the excuse-making business, but when you lose some of your top players, they’re hard to replace. That’s why they’re top-end players.” –Bruce Cassidy, hoping the Bruins can keep their healed up players in the lineup and keep rolling like they did against the Canucks.