Boston Bruins: Frank Vatrano Hat Trick Leads Team To Win


Boston Bruins: Frank Vatrano Hat Trick Leads Team To Win Over Pittsburgh Penguins

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The Boston Bruins completed the home-and-home sweep of the Pittsburgh Penguins on Friday night with a score of 6-2. Between the two games, the Bruins outscored Pittsburgh by a score of 9-2 which has been indicative of how the season has gone for both the Bruins and the Penguins recently. Boston’s offense has been consistently putting points on the board and Tuukka Rask has backstopped the team to an 8-0-2 record in his last 10 games. The Penguins have been struggling to find any offense, which is saying a lot for a team that boasts names such as Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Phil Kessel, Chris Kunitz, Patric Hornqvist, and Kris Letang

The Bruins have found success in every aspect of the game recently, with their power play leading the league by a large margin, their penalty kill operating at an absolutely incredible rate, all four lines are generating offense, and the defense is improving with every game. Tuukka Rask has been playing on a level all on his own, drastically improving on his abysmal start to the season. With the Bruins playing so well recently, they have jumped up to the eighth position in the NHL and they remain second in the Atlantic division. The most notable thing about the Atlantic division is the fact that the Bruins are three points behind the division-leading Montreal Canadiens, and the Bruins have two games-in-hand to work with.The Boston Bruins have been one of the best teams on the road as well this season, going 11-2-2 so far this year with no intention of slowing down.

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Keeping up this pace will be difficult for the Bruins, as it would be for any other team, but Claude Julien‘s system has clearly garnered results, and the owner of the Boston Bruins, Jeremy Jacobs, confirmed this prior to receiving the Lester Patrick award on Thursday. “I think that Claude has shown his colors, he has just been very strong. I think he has taken the team and changed them and he’s showing his mastery of the game,” Jacobs finished by saying “He’s steady and he’s stayed the course and I think he is doing a terrific job.”

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As mentioned, the Bruins have found scoring and offense from every line so far this season, and the biggest surprise of the year has been rookie and Massachusetts-native Frank Vatrano. After showing that he has no qualms about shooting the puck and scoring goals immediately upon being called up to the NHL, Frank Vatrano cemented himself as a mainstay in the Bruins lineup. On Friday night, Vatrano reached a milestone by scoring his first career hat trick. Ever since Frank Vatrano was moved to the Bruins third line alongside Jimmy Hayes and Ryan Spooner, the line has consistently generated offensive opportunities, and over the last five games Ryan Spooner has posted three goals and six assists, Jimmy Hayes has scored one goal and added two assists, and Frank Vatrano broke out of a pointless slump with his three goal showing.

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Frank Vatrano came into the lineup as a replacement for the injured David Pastrnak, but his time spent in the NHL has been so impressive that it seems unlikely that he will end up back in the AHL any time soon. During his time in the AHL to start the season, the rookie forward scored 10 goals and two assists for 12 points in 10 games, and he has remained a constant scoring threat at the NHL level as well. Vatrano is currently up to eight goals and one assist for nine points in his first 18 NHL games, and those numbers should only improve as he spends more time adjusting to the NHL. His defense hasn’t been tested much to date, as prior to playing on the third line, Vatrano played alongside Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand, as well as David Krejci and Loui Eriksson; four of the best two-way players on the team. While playing on the third line, Vatrano has done a good job at forechecking and gaining possession of the puck, and the fact that his defensive lapses, if any, have seemed unnoticeable at this point in the season is a good thing for the Bruins who need to continue playing responsible defensive hockey if they plan on extending their winning ways.

Follow Brandon Share-Cohen on Twitter @BShareCohen to discuss all things Bruins and sports