Already down Patrice Bergeron and Charlie McAvoy, the Bruins may have lost Brad Marchand too.
After sweeping their most recent homestand, news broke right before Sunday’s game, that Brad Marchand would be a late scratch with an upper-body injury. Already missing two of their best players, losing Marchand for any amount of time would be a huge blow. If Marchand has to miss a couple of games, the ‘first line’ would probably be Riley Nash centering David Pastrnak and either Brian Gionta/Danton Heinen, which would not be good heading into the playoffs, obviously. Along with Marchand’s knock, we should also keep an eye on Tuukka Rask. He missed a few games earlier this month with what Cassidy described as a minor injury, and he hasn’t looked 100% for a little while now. The Bruins are pretty much locked into at worst third in the Atlantic Division and with key guys starting to miss time with injuries, getting them healthy should be the number one priority for the coaching staff.
Game 1: Detroit Red Wings
In the midst of a 6 game homestand, the Bruins hosted the Red Wings in the fourth game of their homestand. After only 60 seconds, the Bruins were up 2-0. A Torey Krug slapshot beat Wings’ goalie Jared Coreau after 37 seconds and right after Jake DeBrusk stole the puck at the offensive blue line and tried to slip the puck over to David Krejci, but the puck deflected off of a Detroit defender and past Coreau to give the Bruins an extremely quick 2-0 lead. The Wings would get one back rather quickly as on the powerplay, the Bruins couldn’t clear the zone and Frans Nielsen roofed one to cut Boston’s lead in half. Before we even reached halfway through the period, the Wings would tie it. The Bruins collapsed on one side of the defensive zone and the puck was knocked loose to the other side of the zone over to Andreas Athanasiou, who laid it off to Mike Green whose shot beat Anton Khudobin to tie the game at 2. Before the period ended, the Bruins scored once again. On the powerplay, Torey Krug darted towards the net and Marchand’s pass found Krug and his shot squeaked by the Wings goalie and the Bruins would now lead the Wings 3-2 after one period.
In the second period, the scoring continued. Again, on the powerplay, Torey Krug’s pass found Brad Marchand and his shot beat Coreau, who was chased after allowing his fourth goal of the night. The Wings would get one back right after their own powerplay expired. A Mike Green shot deflected off of two Bruins defenders and Anthony Mantha would score to make it a one-goal game once again. Brad Marchand scored his second goal of the period right after the Wings goal. A bouncing puck in front of Jimmy Howard eventually found its way over to Brad Marchand and after his first shot went wide, he collected his own rebound and beat Howard on the backhand. A few minutes after it was Anthony Mantha scoring his second goal of the period. Zdeno Chara couldn’t cleanly handle the puck and Mantha slid the puck past Khudobin to cut the Bruins lead back down to 1 goal after 2 periods.
In the final 20 minutes, the Red Wings scored the only goal of the period. Right after Detroit’s powerplay expired, they kept the pressure on and Martin Frk’s shot deflected off of David Krejci and tied the game at 5. Both teams would get at least one point and we would head to overtime. Brad Marchand scored his second straight OT winner in back to back games and completed the hat trick, the Bruins win 6-5 in OT for their fourth straight win.
Game 2: Philadelphia Flyers
An early Philly powerplay resulted in an early Philly lead. Jakub Voracek scored after a slick Nolan Patrick between the legs pass and the Flyers had a 1-0 lead. The Bruins equalized later in the period, as Riley Nash was stapled to the front of the net and converted after some great zone time by the Bruins. The highlight play was a great keep in by Matt Grzelcyk that kept the pressure on and lead to the Bruins tying goal. As the clock ticked down under a minute, Tommy Wingels forced a turnover in the defensive zone and the puck went to Zdeno Chara whose pass sprung Brian Gionta on a breakaway who scored his first as a Bruin to give the Bruins a 2-1 lead after 20 minutes.
In the middle frame, the only goal scored belonged to the visitors. On a Boston powerplay, the Flyers broke up the ice on a two on one rush, a Jori Lehtera shot would somehow squeak through the returning Tuukka Rask’s five-hole and tie the game at two. Jumping all the way to the third period now, it seemed like we were destined for another overtime game. But, Brad Marchand had other ideas. With under 30 seconds remaining in regulation, the puck fell behind the Flyers goalie and while the puck was sitting in the crease, Marchand batted it home, giving the Bruins a 3-2 win, their fifth win in a row.
Game 3: Chicago Blackhawks
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On the final game of the six game homestand, the Bruins hosted the struggling Blackhawks. The goal scoring was started by the home team. While shorthanded, Sean Kuraly stole the puck and was in on a breakaway, while his attempt was stopped, Noel Acciari picked up the rebound giving the Bruins a 1-0 lead. Later in the period, the Bruins were on the powerplay and David Krejci was left uncovered in front of the net and doubled the Bruins lead. The Blackhawks tied the game before the period ended, as Jonathan Toews tipped home an Erik Gustafsson shot to cut the lead in half. Then 29 seconds later, Gustafsson scored himself and we were tied at two after one period.
In the middle frame, the Hawks scored again on a bad turnover by the Bruins which lead to a quick counter-attack by the Hawks and John Hayden beat Rask for a 3-2 Hawks lead. The Bruins tied it on the powerplay, with David Krejci scoring his second goal of the game, both on the man advantage. Before the period ended, the Hawks took the lead as Matthew Highmore scored his first career NHL goal.
Down a goal entering the third period, the Bruins offense exploded in the final stanza. Boston would score not once, not twice, not thrice, but four times in the period to lock down the victory. David Pastrnak scored first to tie the game 4-4 before the Bruins got two powerplay goals. After a Patrick Kane double-minor high sticking penalty first, it was Brian Gionta, followed by Rick Nash to give the Bruins a 6-4 lead. Sean Kuraly then scored on the empty net to cap off the Bruins undefeated homestand with a 7-4 win.
Game 4: Chicago Blackhawks
In the final game of the week, the Bruins traveled to Chicago to wrap up the back to back home and home series with the Blackhawks. The Bruins fell behind as Artem Anisimov deflected a Jonathan Toews shot past Khudobin to give the Hawks a 1-0 lead on the powerplay. The next goal wouldn’t come until the third period. Zdeno Chara’s wrist shot tied the game at one and it looked like another comeback may be in the cards. It was not to be as Chara took a double-minor high sticking penalty and Patrick Kane ripped one past Khudobin to give the Hawks a 2-1 lead late in the game. Brent Seabrook scored after the powerplay expired to end the game and the Bruins lose 3-1.
The Road Ahead:
- Tuesday at Carolina
- Thursday at Florida
- Saturday at Tampa Bay
The Bruins are on the road for all three games this week, against two teams desperately chasing a playoff spot and possibly the best team in the NHL, all in a weeks span. All of these games are going to be tough without Bergeron, McAvoy and potentially Marchand as well so I expect them to struggle. If Marchand is out, the Bruins will struggle to add points, only defeating the Hurricanes, before falling to both Florida teams, going 1-2-0 during the week.