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Bruins Musings: Smile You Son Of A……

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BOSTON – The Boston Bruins completely dismantled the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday night at TD Garden, taking a 5-1 decision over the visitors. The Bruins held the Sharks to just 17 shots on the night, and frustrated the likes of Martin Jones and Evander Kane. David Krejci returned to the lineup after missing roughly two weeks and scored his first goal of the season.

Tuukka Rask made 16 saves in the victory, his easiest to this point in the season. Martin Jones surrendered five goals on 41 shots, but was the only reason the Bruins didn’t score ten on this night. Jones, even though he gave up five goals, was strong for the Sharks.

The Bruins got this game under control early, outshooting the Sharks 5-1 in the opening minutes and drawing the game’s first powerplay. David Pastrnak took a feed from Patrice Bergeron and cleanly beat Jones for his league-leading 12th goal of the season. The Sharks would challenge the goal for offside, but lost the challenge. They killed the ensuing penalty, but soon found themselves down a skater for the third time on the night.

The Bruins made them pay. Krejci loaded the gun from distance and beat Jones for his first of the season at 17:51 of the opening period. Brent Burns got the Sharks within one on a powerplay blast of his own 91 seconds into the second period, but that is as close as they got on this night.

Charlie Coyle deflected an amazing Krejci pass through traffic by Jones at 5:21 to make it 3-1, while Chris Wagner got his first of the season on a breakaway chance a little over three minutes later. Finally, Brandon Carlo would conclude the scoring with his second in three games. A high shot completely fooled Jones, who never saw it through the mass of bodies in front of the Sharks net.

Need For Speed

The Sharks looked like a team that has aged about five years over the summer. They were slow, struggled to transition the puck and looked lost, quite frankly. That was a stark contrast to a Bruins team that moved the puck with urgency and pace, and knew exactly how they wanted to attack.

The Sharks have a ton of talent on their roster, and they aren’t as bad as they appeared on this night. What this game did show, however, is how far ahead the Bruins are from the average teams in the NHL. They were quicker in every facet of the game, and completely controlled the pace of play. They were fast in the traditional sense, but also played a quick game in terms of moving puck. It’s fun to watch this team move the puck, especially when they are feeling good.

Bruce Cassidy admitted postgame that this might have been the most complete game his team has played this season. The eye test from inside TD Garden matches that verbal. “I thought [we] were really sharp,” Cassidy said. “I thought we did a real good job of getting pucks back and getting going the other way.”

Depth Rises Again

Coyle now has a goal in two straight games. He was arguably the best player on the ice for the Bruins tonight. Coyle has all the tool to be an impact player in the NHL, but he has the tendency to disappear at times. Right now? He’s on his game. Krejci picked up two points in his return to the lineup, while Wagner and David Backes (assist) each registered a point in the victory.

Krejci’s return to the lineup made a clear difference in this game. He’s the distributor on the second line and makes the players around him better. Danton Heinen, especially, looked more dangerous with him back on the ice. Cassidy admitted he wasn’t sure what to expect from Krejci on his first night back. After all, it can be tough getting back into the swing of things after two weeks.

“You don’t know what’s going to happen, there’s a little catch-up involved and I’m sure he’ll go through that. Good thing for him is he’ll get a few more days now to sort of get his legs back under him and the schedule’s a little bit favorable for a guy coming back that way. Good for him. Listen, we need him going,” Cassidy said postgame.

“It’s good to get off on the right foot tonight.”

Coyle, in turn, moved down to the third line. This gives him more favorable matchups, which he took advantage of on this night. It also allows him to continue building chemistry with an unlikely linemate. “I find that Coyle and Ritchie seem to have started to figure each other out a little bit,” Cassidy remarked.

Coyle and Ritchie formed an effective line with Anders Bjork. The trio played 7:19 at five-on-five together and finished the night with a Corsi For% of 87.50%. They finished with 83.33% of the shots, completely tilting the ice against the veteran Sharks.

Hockey Fights Cancer

Stick taps to the Bruins for a terrific tribute on Hockey Fights Cancer night at TD Garden. The loudest cheer of the night was for Quinn Waters, aka “The Mighty Quinn”. There wasn’t a person inside TD Garden who wasn’t on their feet cheering on the young boy who is in a fight for his life. It was a touching ceremony and so well done by the club.

Bruins staff also handed out “I Fight For” cards, while the team wore special uniforms during the pregame warmup. This was a classy night by the Bruins, and it should be shared with those who could not be in the building.

Alex is a 2016 graduate of Springfield College who is currently a writer with Boston Hockey Now and The Oilers Rig. Outside of writing, you can find Alex in rinks around New England as the Play-by-Play voice of the USPHL’s Boston Junior Bruins. In addition, he does broadcasting work for Northeastern University, Holy Cross And UMass-Lowell. Reach him on Twitter: @Alex_Thomas14

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