Boston Bruins win last night was a statement to NHL

EDMONTON, AB - FEBRUARY 20: Brad Marchand
EDMONTON, AB - FEBRUARY 20: Brad Marchand /

The Boston Bruins sent a message last night to the entire NHL with their win in Edmonton.  “Watch out NHL, the Bear is hungry.”

After 40 minutes of hockey in last night’s game in Edmonton, it seemed like the Boston Bruins were on their way to their 14th regulation loss of the season.  This, despite outplaying and outshooting the Oilers for much of the first two frames.  The powerplay looked a bit disjointed, and a few defensive lapses led to both Oiler goals.  The Bruins even clanged a few posts along the way for good measure.

But all of a sudden, it seemed like there was a seismic shift in the game.  Goaltender Anton Khudobin made a ridiculous sprawling pad save on the NHL’s best young player, Connor McDavid at the end of the second period.  It was one of those saves where Jack Edwards will tell you to mark it down, and that you say to yourself as a fan, “if the Bruins come back and win, it’s because of that save.”

Well, wouldn’t you know it.  During the final 20 minutes of the game, the Bruins were all over the Oilers.  They relentlessly pursued the puck, won the tough battles, and even got a little puck luck thrown in there.  Noel Acciari scored a gritty goal off Ryan Strome’s skate.  Seven minutes later, rookie defenseman Matt Grzelcyk fired the puck into a yawning cage after a slick Riley Nash backhand pass.

Somehow, someway, the game was now tied at 2, and the Bruins were being rewarded for outplaying their opponents.  Lady Momentum was now wearing a Spoked-B and doing 3 Rene Rancourt fist pumps on the Bruins bench.  And then, the dagger.

A mix-and-match line of Danton Heinen, David Krejci, and David Backes found themselves in the offensive zone with about a minute left in the game.  Backes did what Backes does and out-muscled Drake Caggiula along the boards, finding Heinen behind the net.  Heinen then found an open Krejci on the doorstep, and the rest was history.  The Bruins completed the comeback, and escaped Edmonton with a 3-2 victory, their 37th win of the season.

Boston bruins
EDMONTON, AB – FEBRUARY 20: David Krejci /

This win is a perfect example of why this has been a charmed year for the Bruins.  The team has this “never say die” attitude, where no matter what, they never seem out of a game.  The team is 14-12-3 when their opponent scores first, showing they can win games even when they go down early.  Head Coach Bruce Cassidy’s motto for the team is “No Passengers,” meaning if you’re on the ice, you’re to be playing with intensity the whole time and not relying on your teammates efforts.  And it shows with the product on the ice.

The sign of a good team is the ability to rebound from tough games.  Combine this win with Monday’s win in Calgary after being run out of the rink by Vancouver over the weekend, the compete level and perseverance of this team is unrivaled in the NHL.  Take heed Bruins fans, this could be a special year in Boston.

Something’s “Bruin” in Boston

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It hasn’t been all sunshine and rainbows.  It took this Bruins team awhile to get started this season.  There’s no denying that they stumbled out of the gate, as they were a team struggling to find their identity.  But to be honest, when the locker room has a revolving door due to injuries, rumblings of a goalie controversy (which has since been put to bed in tremendous fashion), and multiple rookies on the roster, it was to be expected for this team to struggle.

It seems like so long ago that the Bruins were one of the most inconsistent team in the NHL.  They would go out one night and beat the defending Western Conference champion Nashville Predators, and then turn around and lose two games to the Colorado Avalanche.

Boston Bruins
DENVER, CO – OCTOBER 11: Alexander Kerfoot /

But since mid-November, the Bruins have been the hottest team in hockey, and they don’t look to be slowing down any time soon.  Since November 16th, they are 30-6-4, and they are putting the full-court press on the Tampa Bay Lightning for the #1 seed in the Eastern Conference.  They only sit a point back of Tampa Bay, with two games in hand.  And, let’s not forget, the two teams still have 3 games against each other before season’s end, games which could determine who takes the top seed in the Conference.

Even when the Bruins went on an insane 18 game point streak from December 16th through January 25th (14-0-4), most of the talk in the NHL universe still seemed to revolve around the Steven Stamkos, Nikita Kucherov, and the Lightning and the absolutely unreal season being had by the Vegas Golden Knights.  But the NHL community has finally taken notice of the special season going on in Boston.

The NHL takes notice

On February 8th, Senior Writer Dan Rosen and the other staff writers finally wised-up, and anointed the Bruins to the top spot of the NHL’s Super 16 teams.  It only took 52 games and a 33-11-8 record, but the Bruins toppled the Lightning, who had held the top spot for 16 weeks.  The Bruins have held on to that spot since, going 4-2-0 in their last 6 games.

Patrice Bergeron is having an MVP-caliber season, on pace for career highs in goals and points.  Not to mention a crazy good plus/minus rating, and basically being a shoo-in for the Selke Trophy.  Had Brad Marchand not missed 13 games due to injury and suspension, he might be in the conversation for the Hart Trophy as well.

Boston Bruins
BOSTON, MA – FEBRUARY 13: Patrice Bergeron /

If it weren’t for the expansion Vegas Golden Knights having an unprecedented season, Bruce Cassidy would certainly be the winner of the Jack Adams Trophy.  But alas, Gerard Gaillant is going to be a runaway winner by taking an expansion team, and most likely being the #1 seed in the Western Conference.

One of the biggest keys for the Bruins incredible turnaround has been the Vezina Trophy level play of Tuukka Rask.  As mentioned earlier, there were calls this season for Anton Khudobin to take over as the #1 netminder based upon his steady play and Rask’s subpar start.  After going 21-2-2 in his last 25 starts, Rask has reminded Bruins Nation that he is an elite netminder, and should be respected as such.

Next: Bruins acquire Nick Holden

All in all, Bruins fans, enjoy what’s going on right now.  Our team is playing absolutely incredible hockey, and stands a decent chance at going into the playoffs as the #1 seed in the Eastern Conference.  But once April rolls around and the playoffs start, an incredible regular season means nothing if you’re not hoisting the Stanley Cup in June.  Here’s hoping that this Bruins team can keep the magic going, and bring on the Duck Boats.