By Brian Mills ’18
With five hockey games in five different cities within eight days, the NHL’s schedule was not in the Boston Bruins’ favor.
The Bs began their stretch of games with a two game home-stand. The first was against the New York Rangers, the highest goal scoring team in the league. The blue team was able to score five goals in their last four games consecutively coming into that night, and they stuck to that trend. They were able to take down the Bruins with a score of 5 – 2. Luckily, the Bruins were able to bounce back in their second game, blanking the Buffalo Sabres with a score of 4 – 0. This was Tuukka Rask’s second shutout of the year, continuing his bounce back season.
With no rest in between, the Bruins had a game against divisional rival Montreal Canadiens in Bell Centre. Despite the fact that all odds were against them, being as it was their second game in two nights and the undefeated at home Habs got to rest the night before, the Boston team put up a great fight. The game appeared to be going to overtime being tied 2-2 with just over a minute left in regulation, when the Canadiens were able to sneak a goal past backup Zane McIntyre to seal the game 3 – 2.
Their next game would be back at TD Garden with only a day of rest in between. The Columbus Blue Jackets were in town. This team had just recently demolished the Habs 10 – 0 a few games earlier, and they were on a winning streak. The game started off poorly for the B’s, falling behind 1 – 0 within the first two minutes of the game. However, the Bruins came roaring back with 4 consecutive goals in a span of four minutes. Torey Krug and Matt Beleskey were able to get on the score sheet for the first time this season, meanwhile Tim Schaller and Austin Czarnik were able to notch their seconds of the year. To Boston fans’ delight, this game ended with a dominant home victory.
After gathering the two points against the Jackets, the Bruins rushed over to Phoenix to take on the Coyotes. While it was ultimately a low scoring game, the Bruins controlled the pace of the game for the first two periods, giving them a 2 – 0 lead. In the third period, the Coyotes were able to get on the board with a power play goal, but they were not able to complete any sort of comeback. Once again, the B’s were able to escape with two more points.
With no time to rest yet again, the Bruins quickly traveled to Colorado to play the Avalanche the next day. This was their fifth game in the eight-day span, so no one would blame them if they were unable to perform well. However, the Bruins were able to come out with a 2 – 0 victory outshooting the Avalanche by a 2:1 ratio.
With a lot of hockey left to be played, the Bruins sit pretty in a playoff spot. While this has ultimately been a team effort, two players definitely deserve to be pointed out. Rask earned first star of the week with an average of 0.75 goals against in his last four outings, which were all victories. That has earned the goalie a 10 – 1 record this season. Meanwhile, David Pastrnak has been the Bruins’ most dangerous weapon. He currently has 10 goals, tied second most overall in the league (tied with Sidney Crosby).
With Rask performing this well and scoring coming from all sorts of places, hope is returning to Bruins fans. The last two years have been disappointments, with Bruins missing the playoffs by slim margins. However, this year seems to be different.
In the words of Bruins commentator Jack Edwards, “This Boston team is starting to be pretty fun to watch!”