Bruins

Talking Points: Marchand leads way on and off the ice

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Talking Points: Marchand leads way on and off the ice

GOLD STAR: You’ve got to give it to Brad Marchand. After being the only guy that showed any emotion or anger in throwing down with Lars Eller in the third period of Boston’s embarrassing blowout loss to the Washington Capitals, Marchand clearly helped spark the Bruins into a higher level of performance once night later against the Buffalo Sabres. More importantly, Marchand did it on the ice as well with four assists and a plus-3 rating while making key plays on all three of Boston’s goals scored with a Sabres goalie still between the pipes. It shows just how much leadership Marchand showed in taking a stand against the Capitals on Wednesday night, and then backing it up a day later with a much higher level of play on the ice.

BLACK EYE: The Buffalo Sabres are going to need better goaltending if they’re going to demonstrably improve this season, and they flat out didn’t get it against the Boston Bruins. Sure there were defensive breakdowns on the final two goals with Ryan Donato and David Pastrnak left way too wide open to shoot the puck in tight around the net. But the first goal was a tough one to give up as Zdeno Chara beat Hutton to the short side with an admittedly good shot that took tons of pressure off the Bruins, and gave them a whole lot of confidence moving forward. Hutton finished with three goals allowed on 25 shots, which isn’t terrible while not being nearly good enough to get the job done against the Black and Gold.

TURNING POINT: The game was pretty touch-and-go early in the proceedings without a score, and with the Bruins perhaps still smarting a little bit at the spanking they’d suffered one night prior in Washington DC. But the Bruins started making little plays that made all the difference in the world whether it was Jaroslav Halak with a couple of early stops at key moments, or it was David Pastrnak leaping to poke check a puck away on the backcheck as it looked like the Sabres were going to enter the zone with speed and possession. Those little first-period‘ detail plays’ led up to Zdeno Chara finally scoring the first goal of the game and sending the Bruins on their way in a game they desperately needed.

HONORABLE MENTION: It doesn’t get much more impressive than a shutout performance in his Bruins debut for Jaroslav Halak. Halak made a couple of key saves early when the game was very much in question and really went to work in the second period with 11 saves while protecting a two-goal lead against a Sabres team that showed some desperation. The interesting question now is how things are going to shake out moving forward with Halak and Tuukka Rask, and how their playing time will be meted out. Is there any chance whatsoever that the Bruins would change course and play Halak on Monday afternoon instead of Rask after the first two games? I don’t think it will happen this early, but it sure makes for some interesting conversation.

BY THE NUMBERS: +9 – the combined plus/minus for Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and David Pastrnak in Thursday night’s win over Buffalo after they combined for a minus-6 rating in the blowout loss in the season opener against Washington.

QUOTE TO NOTE: “We were just brutal everywhere. I don’t think we needed film to show us that. We knew we just had to compete harder, come back harder and win more puck battles. We did that and it worked out in our favor.” –Brad Marchand on the turnaround from last night in Washington a shutout win in Buffalo.   

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Talking Points: Krejci, DeBrusk answer the bell in Bruins' win over Panhters

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Talking Points: Krejci, DeBrusk answer the bell in Bruins' win over Panhters

Here are my talking points from tonight's 4-2 Bruins win in South Florida . . .

GOLD STAR: David Krejci didn’t have a single point during the five-game losing streak. But on Saturday night he stepped up and, lo and behold, the Bruins took home two points. It was Krejci helped kick-start the transition game for Jake DeBrusk’s goal in the first period, and then scored one of his own in the second on a strike from the top of the faceoff circle. Krejci finished with a goal and two points and a plus-2 rating in 16:20 of ice time. He also had five shot attempts and won 9-of-14 faceoffs in a game where the second line providence plenty of offense and pressure. Bruce Cassidy slipped Charlie Coyle up to second-line right wing with Krejci and DeBrusk at the outset of the game, and it seemed to work well for the Black and Gold.

See the highlights from Boston's 4-2 win>>>

BLACK EYE: Jonathan Huberdeau is having a very good season for the Panthers, but he wasn’t able to bring out his “A” game for Florida against the Bruins. Huberdeau didn’t get a single shot on net in the 21:25 of ice time that he played. He finished with three giveaways and a minus-1 against the Bruins. He was part of the line set to contain the Krejci line, but instead allowed them to march right up the ice on DeBrusk’s first period scoring play. Huberdeau was also on ice in the third, when Florida coach Joel Quenneville pulled the goalie with more than two minutes to go, only for David Pastrnak to quickly notch an empty-netter that sealed the game. Not a good night for a very good player.

TURNING POINT: The Bruins weathered the storm in the third when the Panthers came hard after them and carved out a couple of goals to cut the lead to 3-2. Considering that the Bruins blew a 4-0 third period lead against the Panthers at home just a month ago, there was certainly some nervous, anxious moments, with the Bruins looking like they’d blow a three-goal lead in the third period this time. But the B’s stiffened after Jaro Halak gave up a soft goal on a Keith Yandle point shot to make it a one-goal game. They didn’t allow Florida to take advantage of any other breakdowns. Instead the B’s hung in there, patiently waiting until the Florida net opened up the winning scoring chance for them.

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HONORABLE MENTION: Jake DeBrusk was at the heart of some of the criticism from Bruce Cassidy after the loss in Tampa when the second and third lines weren’t getting much of anything done. DeBrusk was also one of the players that responded in a big way this weekend by scoring the game’s first goal, a pretty nifty dangle through Florida defenders before beating Sergei Bobrovsky in tight close to the net. DeBrusk also fed David Krejci for his second period goal, finishing with five shot attempts and a couple blocked shots in 15:38 of ice time while posting a plus-2 rating. Perhaps just as important, DeBrusk was winning 50/50 battles for the puck and playing a competitive brand of hockey rather than doing fly-bys in a lot of areas while hunting the puck. If DeBrusk played with the same kind of speed, skill and tenacity on more nights, he’d be a difference-maker for the Bruins more often.

BY THE NUMBERS: 28 – The number of goals for David Pastrnak after collecting two scores against the Panthers, and putting himself in a position where he’s easily going to have 30 goals before the Christmas break.

QUOTE TO NOTE: “I thought we did a really good job. Every line played well. We moved some guys around, but right up and down the lineup all 12 forwards, 6 [defensemen] and Jaroslav Halak were all really good.” –Bruce Cassidy to NESN when asked his assessment of the win that snapped the longest B’s losing streak (five games) since he took over as head coach.  

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Highlights: B's snap losing skid vs. Panthers

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Highlights: B's snap losing skid vs. Panthers

FINAL SCORE: Bruins 4, Panthers 2

IN BRIEF: Oh not, not this again? After the Bruins’ epic third-period collapse in their last meeting with Florida, they nearly repeated themselves after going up 3-0 after two periods. Keith Yandle’s goal with 11 minutes left made it 3-2, Boston fought off the Panthers long enough for David Pastrnak to get an empty-netter that sealed it. And so, after coach Bruce Cassidy called out their attention to details earlier in the week, the Bruins snapped their losing skid with a solid all-around effort.

BOX SCORE

BRUINS RECORD: 21-7-6 (48 points, 1st in Atlantic Division)

HIGHLIGHTS

DEBRUSK’S 100TH CAREER POINT IS A BEAUTY

KREJCI MAKES IT 2-0

PERFECTION LINE MAKES IT LOOK EASY

UP NEXT:

vs. Los Angeles, Tuesday, 7 p.m., NESN

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