Boston Bruins gets two points for Christmas from Red Wings

BOSTON, MA - DECEMBER 23: Patrice Bergeron
BOSTON, MA - DECEMBER 23: Patrice Bergeron /

The Boston Bruins headed into today’s game playing their best hockey of the season.  After a win, the team could go into the Christmas break in an unlikely position.

The Boston Bruins didn’t play their best hockey of the season today.  Even with that, the team did what needed to be done on the ice, and took two points from the low-hanging fruit, Detroit Red Wings.  It was a full team effort, with each player contributing in some way or another if and when lapses occurred.

If you asked anyone in October if the Bruins could potentially be in 2nd place at the Christmas break, I think the universal answer would be no.  But, with today’s win, the Bruins now have 43 points, and are tied with Toronto for the time being.  If Toronto loses tonight against the New York Rangers, the Bruins will be in 2nd place in the Atlantic, with 3 games in hand.

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1st period

The Bruins came out firing in the matinee.  The team that was all about inconsistent play early in the season finally realizes that taking advantage of weaker opponents from the outset is how you win games in this league.

The home team was given an early Christmas gift in the form of a two-man advantage mid-way through the period.  Veteran forward David Booth committed a slash on Kevan Miller, and then while a man down, Detroit forgot they were only supposed to have four men on the ice.  That led to a too many men penalty.

While on the 5-on-3, the Bruins set up the perfect compressed box-and-one, with every player on their strong side for a one-timer.  A beautiful tic-tac-toe play from David Pastrnak to David Backes to Brad Marchand led to the first goal on the game.

The best part?  The Bruins still had about a minute and a half on the power play…or so we thought.  While on the man advantage, the Bruins turned the puck over in the neutral zone.  Frans Nielson skated down the right wing after going mysteriously unchallenged by Torey Krug.  The puck squeezed through Tuukka Rask as he attempted to go down into the butterfly.  And just like that, it was a tied game.

2nd period

The second period was one of the worst 20 minute segments the Bruins have played in the last month and a half.  The team looked lazy with their play, and continually turned the puck over to the opportunistic Red Wings team.

The Red Wings outshot the Bruins 13-9 in the period, but Rask was on his game, and kept every shot out of the net.  Not only did he shut down every chance, he also kept rebounds in control.  There was one puck that squirted past Rask, but captain Zdeno Chara was there to pull the puck off the goal line.  The second period ended just like the first, tied 1-1.

3rd period

The way the third period started, there was no doubt that whichever team scored the next goal would win the game.  Jimmy Howard and Rask were both solid between the pipes.  Luckily for the Bruins, Patrice Bergeron decided it was time to take over.

At 6:11 of the 3rd period, the Marchand-Bergeron-Pastrnak line showed their usual brilliance.  Pastrnak carried the puck through the neutral zone, dished it to Marchand who took it into the middle of the zone while he was being harassed by the Detroit defenders.  Marchand then slid the puck to an open Bergeron, whose one-timer found the back of the net.

Bergeron then iced the game with an empty net goal after he and Marchand combined to get the puck out of the defensive zone.  And with that, the Bruins fans could shout 2 U’s, 2 K’s, 2 points as they rode off into the Christmas break.

Next: Jake DeBrusk rebounds after benching

The takeaways

  • In their last 17 games, the Bruins are 13-3-1.  That is just incredible for a team that couldn’t win back-to-back games until November.
  • Tuukka Rask is now 8-1-1 in his last 10 starts.  The 2014 Vezina trophy winner is making a declaration to his doubters that he is back.
  • Only 4 Bruins recorded points today:  Brad Marchand (1-2–3); Patrice Bergeron (2-0–2); David Backes (0-2–2); and David Pastrnak (0-2–2).
  • The Bruins had a four game week this week and went 4-0-0.  The Bruins end 2017 with three games next week, starting Wednesday at home against the Ottawa Senators,