Bruins Musings: ‘Perfection Line’; Rask; Special Teams; Hockey Unity
The Boston Bruins won their fifth straight game and registered a point for a ninth straight game with a 5-2 win over the Ottawa Senators. The Bruins are now 7-0-2 during that stretch and woke up Sunday morning with sole possession of first place in the Atlantic Division. With 22 points (10-1-2), the Bruins trail only the Washington Capitals (10-2-3, 23 points) for the second-best record in the Eastern Conference and the entire NHL and they have two games in hand on the Caps.
Your faithful puck scribe here has been dealing with health issues and as a result, was fast asleep and dreaming of pond hockey and Irish coffees by the second period Saturday night. So after taking advantage of that extra hour of sleep (thank you daylight savings) and watching the Bruins remain undefeated at home (6-0-1) on DVR early Sunday morning, here are some Musings from another reminder that this Bruins team is on a mission for redemption.
‘Perfection Line’ Making History Every Night
They’re being mentioned in the same breath as not only their superstar peers but legendary tandems and trios of the past. The Bruins’ top line of Brad Marchand-Patrice Bergeron-David Pastrnak seems to be rewriting the history books every game now and Saturday was no different as they combined for three goals and four assists.
With a goal and two assists, Pastrnak extended point streak to eleven games. He has 13 goals and 14 assists during this current streak that is one game shy of his career-best of 12 games when he had five goals and nine assists in a 12-game streak from November 22-December 18 of 2017. Pastrnak leads the league in goals and points. His 25 points are the third-most by a Bruins player through the team’s first 13 games in a season behind only Phil Esposito in 1973-74 (31) and Bobby Orr in 1974-75 (28). The 23-year-old winger also now holds the NHL record for opening scoring in a game, as he’s scored the first goal seven times this season.
What a feed from Pastrnak to set up Marchand's power-play goal.
Another three-point game for No. 88. pic.twitter.com/MN5bokto0f
— Conor Ryan (@ConorRyan_93) November 3, 2019
Marchand had a goal and an assist to extend his career-high point streak to 12 games. He has eight goals and 15 assists during that span and has at least one assist in each of his last 11 games. Marchand became the first Bruins player to record an assist streak of 11 or more games since Marc Savard from November 10 – December 6, 2007 who had 17 helpers during his streak.
Pastrnak and Marchand became just the second set of teammates on any club in the last dozen years with a simultaneous point streak of at least 11 games. The others since 2007-08 are Florida’s Mike Hoffman (10 goals, 10 assists in 17 games) and Evgenii Dadonov (seven goals, seven assists in 12 games), in streaks that overlapped from October 16 – November 13, 2018.
With an assist Saturday, Bergeron became the sixth player in team history to rack up 500 assists.
Rask In The Zone
Tuukka Rask remained in a zone arguably better than the one he was in when he carried his team to within one game of the Stanley Cup last spring. Rask is yet to lose in regulation and is now 7-0-1. He became the fourth different Bruins goaltender to record a season-opening point streak of eight or more games and first in 41 years. Rask leads the NHL in goals-against average (1.49) and save percentage (.949).
Rask was a key factor in the Bruins killing off six consecutive power play minutes for the Senators midway through the second period and seemingly stealing the momentum that helped lead to the Bruins busting open a 2-2 deadlock with three unanswered goals in the third period.
“We had several opportunities to score. And tip your hat to Tuukka (Rask) — he played a great game,” Rask’s counterpart Craig Anderson (27 saves) said after the game. “He made some big saves on that penalty kill, and that’s the biggest difference-maker there is; he was able to shut the door on us.”.
Special Teams Simply Special
The Bruins killed all five Senators’ powerplays Saturday, with the aforementioned six-minute man advantage being the biggest and game-changing kills. The Boston penalty kill is now eighth-best in the NHL, killing 85.7 percent of the powerplays they’ve faced.
“I think it is a big, big part of why we won the game tonight,” head coach Bruce Cassidy said of the penalty kill after the win Saturday. “To be able to keep it out of our net — I mean, it wasn’t pretty but some guys got taxed and that affects you later too, right? Like ‘Bergy’ [Patrice Bergeron] ends up playing a lot of minutes and ‘Marchy’ [Brad Marchand] is one of our principal killers, he’s in the box where we’re without a couple guys who typically kill. Now it’s a five-on-three so you want to make sure you’ve got guys who have done that before. Even [Peter] Cehlarik, comes out of the box serving a penalty, he doesn’t kill a lot so he gets kind of caught there. We did a hell of a job to keep it out of our net. We’ve got to get a little better with our clears to save ourselves a little bit of aggravation, I guess, on the coaches’ end. For them it’s wear-and-tear, for the players, so that’s my one area where I’d be nit-picky about the PK. But they kept us in the game with that. Big kill. Special teams were the difference tonight.”
Meanwhile, the Bruins’ power play did what the Senators’ couldn’t, score goals. Two of them to be exact as the powerplay went 2-for-4 and is now league-best scoring at a 32.6 percent clip.
Hockey Is Brotherhood
When Senators forward Scott Sabourin was knocked unconscious and slammed his face on the ice after a violent collision with Bruins forward David Backes, both teams took to the ice and surrounded the injured Sabourin and cheered him as he gave a thumbs up leaving the ice on a stretcher. Thankfully Sabourin is going to be OK and was responsive and moving all extremities at Mass General Hospital where he spent the night under observation.
What was also great to see was the unity on display between both teams and how once again it was proven that the hockey world is a brotherhood as Sens forward Mark Borowiecki pointed out following the game.
“This is a sport with a lot of competition, and at times animosity and hatred and all that, but at the end of the day, we are all brothers in this game,” Borowiecki said when asked about the moment. “That could have just as easily been one of us, and you just can’t help but think about Sabby and his parents and his loved ones and his fiancée watching that, and it’s a bit of a gutshot, for sure. I think it shows the respect we all have for each other. Yeah, we go out there and play hard and it gets chippy and there’s fights and altercations, but at the end of the day, we all respect each other and what we’re doing, and it is a job and you never want to see that happen.”
Scott Sabourin gives a thumbs up as he stretchered off the ice in Boston pic.twitter.com/iIqbsR65qw
— Brady Trettenero (@BradyTrett) November 2, 2019