Boston Bruins play 200 foot hockey in divisional win

BOSTON, MA - DECEMBER 27: Brandon Carlo
BOSTON, MA - DECEMBER 27: Brandon Carlo /

The NHL’s holiday break and four days of no hockey for the Boston Bruins appeared to have no ill affects on the team.

After tonight’s win, the Boston Bruins win streak now sits at five, and the team is 14-3-1 in their last 18 games.  The Bruins, without a doubt, are the hottest team in all of the NHL.

The best thing about tonight’s win against the Atlantic Division rival Ottawa Senators was that the game was never really close.  Even when it was tied 0-0 or when the lead was only a goal or two, the Bruins were playing better hockey and owned the ice.

When the puck was down in Boston’s zone, either it was a save and hold for a draw by Tuukka Rask, or one shot and a clear.  The Bruins defense kept everything to the outside, and made sure to keep the chances to one-and-done.

1st period

The game seemed to start slowly, with each team feeling out the other.  This was the first match-up between the teams since the Senators eliminated the Bruins in the first round of the playoffs last season.

Boston Bruins
BOSTON, MA – APRIL 23: Zdeno Chara /

Shortly thereafter, the Bruins figured out the Senators and their 1-3-1 defensive scheme that normally frustrates team that have a hard time getting the puck out of their own zone.  At 5:22 of the first frame, Kevan Miller uncorked a shot from the point that made it passed Ottawa goalie Craig Anderson.  The Bruins scored first, something that has been a consistent theme during their hot streak.

About three minutes later, Ryan Spooner skated down the right wing with the puck into the offensive zone.  As he got to the goal line, he threw an absolute dart of a pass to the back post to a cutting Danton Heinen.  All Heinen had to do was keep his stick on the ice for the tap in goal.

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Scary moment in the period for the Bruins though.  Noel Acciari took a high, blindsided hit from Fredrik Claesson while receiving a pass in the neutral zone.  Acciari was bloodied and remained down briefly, while Tim Schaller stepped up and chucked fists with the perpetrator of the hit.  Claesson was given a major for the hit, a major for the fight, and a game misconduct.  But after 20 minutes, Rask had stopped all six shots he faced, and just like that, the Bruins were up 2-0.

2nd period

It didn’t long for the Bruins to extend the lead.  Riley Nash did his best Patrice Bergeron impression.  After blocking the puck off superstar defenseman Erik Karlsson’s stick, Nash skated in on a partial break with Karlsson on his heels.  Nash fired a wicked snap shot over Anderson’s shoulder to give the Bruins a 3-0 advantage.

With the Bruins now having the worst lead in all of hockey, it was all a matter of whether or not the team would keep their foot on the gas or not.  Unfortunately, the team got a little lackadaisical in the defensive zone.  Highly touted prospect Thomas Chabot (from the 2015 draft taken after Jakub Zboril, Jake DeBrusk, and Zack Senyshyn) fired a wrist shot passed Rask to cut the lead to 3-1.

Ottawa controlled the puck for a good chunk of the middle of the 2nd period.  It seemed as though the Chabot goal had invigorated the Sens a bit.  Riley Nash decided that he would put a stop to that.  After a great individual effort on the forecheck by Anders Bjork, Nash received the puck with speed in the offensive zone.  A sweet backhand-forehand-backhand move allowed him to slide the puck beyond Anderson’s leg pad.  And with that, the lead was back to three.

3rd period

The 3rd period was basically an exercise in futility for both teams.  Both teams had their minor chances, but both teams were fairly solid defensively and both goalies held strong.  The puck spent considerable time in the Bruins end to start the period.  Then in the Senators end nearing the end of the period.

With 1:20 left to go in the game, Matt Grzelcyk threw the puck intentionally wide to the left of Anderson.  New dad David Backes was there undisturbed, and was able to put the puck in the back of the net for the Bruins 5th goal of the game.  No more goals were scored after Backes’ goal, and the Bruins sealed a 5-1 victory.

Next: Bruins Week 12: Charlie McAvoy = Awesome


  • What if I told you the Bruins would score 5 goals, none by Marchand-Bergeron-Pastrnak?  But that’s what happened.  The Bruins goal scorers were Kevan Miller, Danton Heinen, Riley Nash (2), and David Backes.  If you want to be a competitive team in this league and make a playoff run, secondary scoring is essential.  That’s what the Bruins got tonight.  Nash was clearly the player of the game, with two goals and an assist on the Miller goal.
  • Tuukka Rask made 25 saves to collect another win.  He has now given up 2 or less goals in 9 of his last 10 appearances.  The team played solidly in front of him, and he did the rest when needed.
  • The Bruins play against the Washington Capitals in DC tomorrow night, before heading to Ottawa to face the Senators in their own barn on Saturday.  Here’s hoping this decisive victory gets in the Sens collective minds.