Talking Points: Bruins bounce back
Tim Schaller was a hard-working cog on a versatile, deep team that really took the Minnesota Wild by storm on Monday night, and he finished with the first multi-point game of his NHL career. Schaller created the B’s third goal when he powered down the left wing, dangled through Nino Niederreiter and then fired a shot on net before both Danton Heinen and finally Sean Kuraly converged on the rebounds. All of the hard work rewarded Schaller with the empty net goal in the final minute for his third goal of the season and continued a really strong start to the year for the hard-charging energy forward. Schaller finished with a team-high five shots on net, the two points, a plus-2 and a couple of hits in 13:42 of ice time. It was clear that Schaller had his good skating legs all night, and he used them to good advantage.
It was definitely a tough night for Devan Dubnyk as he watched a deflection off Ryan Suter beat him early in the game, and then allowed a knuckling wrist shot from Frank Vatrano beat him from way downtown in the offensive zone. The third and fourth goals allowed were a little more understandable, but it was pretty clear that Dubnyk didn’t have his “A” game. In all Dubnyk allowed four goals on 24 shots in the first two periods before getting pulled by Wild coach Bruce Boudreau, and really didn’t look like the same stud No. 1 goalie that he’s been the last couple of years in Minnesota. Everybody has their off nights, of course, but Dubnyk has been pretty average with a 2.81 goals against average and a .913 save percentage entering tonight’s action.
The Bruins gave up the first goal of the game, and that could have been a feel-bad moment given that they were down Brad Marchand amid so many other injuries early in the season. Instead, the Bruins jumped right off the mat and scored four unanswered goals in the first and second period while also outshooting the Wild by a 15-4 margin. Bruce Cassidy called that second period vs. Minnesota “the best period of the season," and that allowed them to coast a little bit in the third en route to the victory. The Bruins have been good and bad in spurts thus far this season, and the middle 30 minutes of this was very, very good for the Black and Gold.
Zdeno Chara was extremely solid for the Bruins clocking in for 25:48 of ice time, and finishing with a couple of assists and a plus-3 rating while also playing more than half the third period while protecting the lead. The Bruins captain didn’t have a shot on net, didn’t register a hit or block a shot, but simply played efficient shutdown defenseman work while also moving the puck quickly up the ice. It was his aggressive pass up the wing that caught Frank Vatrano in stride, and freed him to score Boston’s second goal that got them off and running with the lead. It wasn’t an iconic or trademark performance for Big Zee, but it was extremely solid all-around and exactly what the Bruins needed for the two points.
BY THE NUMBERS
2 – the first two assists of Jordan Szwarz’s NHL career arrived as a member of the Bruins after helping out on the goals for Jake DeBrusk and Frank Vatrano. Szwarz previously had four goals during his prior NHL stints, but it took until Monday night to get his first couple of helpers in The Show.
QUOTE TO NOTE
“You’re starting to see that personality of our hockey club that we are not going to be an easy out. We are going to keep ourselves in games, and work hard to get back in games. Some nights it’s going to work out, and some nights it’s not.” – Bruce Cassidy, after watching the Bruins overcome an early first-period deficit after battling back from being down in the previous games vs. Washington and Columbus as well.