Comeback Special: Bruins Report Card Vs Wild
For 58 minutes, it was ugly at TD Garden on Saturday night. Then David Krejci scored twice within a minute and the Boston Bruins forced overtime after all hope had looked lost. Torey Krug parted the Red Sea in overtime and beat Alex Stalock to give the Bruins a victory no one saw coming ten minutes earlier.
Here is tonight’s report card from the Bruins thrilling 5-4 overtime victory over the Wild. All stats are via Natural Stat Trick.
Brad Marchand – Patrice Bergeron – David Pastrnak: B-
Give points to Brad Marchand, who scored with just 3.9 seconds remaining in the second period to give the Bruins some life. Marchand didn’t quit on the play or the period and as a result drew the Bruins within one. It didn’t look like it was going to matter until late, but that goal kept the Bruins within striking distance until Krejci took over.
Marchand ended up with three points on the night (1-2-3), while Bergeron collected four assists in the victory. Pastrnak was quiet and appeared to be the least effective player on the line. He didn’t get any points but was +1 and did finish with four shots on goal.
The trio ended the night 50% in Corsi For and were even in shots, firing seven on Alex Stalock and allowing seven on Tuukka Rask. It was an average night possession wise, but this line did good work offensively overall and gets a passing grade.
Danton Heinen – Charlie Coyle – Anders Bjork: B
Bruce Cassidy played this trio the most of any at five-on-five on Saturday night. They earned that ice time, and delivered with some solid play. They finished with a 63.64% Corsi For. The shots were an even seven aside when this line was on the ice, but the puck was going in the right direction when they were out there. Coyle nearly won this game in the final minutes with two glorious looks. He was all over the puck in the third period.
Although this trio was quiet on the scoresheet, they did a lot of good things and had the puck moving in the right direction. That counts for something.
Jake DeBrusk – David Krejci – Brett Ritchie: A
There is no debate, this was the Bruins best line on Saturday night. Krejci scored two goals, including the tying goal on the powerplay, while DeBrusk picked up a tally in the second period. Ritchie got an assist and was good on puck retrieval and battles, getting the puck to the duo of DeBrusk and Krejci.
Possession wise they dominated. In 7:45 of five-on-five, this trio went 11-1 (!) in Corsi, finishing with a CF% of 91.67%. Forget elite, that is almost unheard of in the NHL. They outshot the Wild 9-1 when on the ice and completely dominated the play when together. The Wild had no answer for this group.
Krejci’s two goals were the cherry on top of a perfect night for this line.
Joakim Nordstrom – Sean Kuraly – Chris Wager: C-
It was a below average night for the fourth line, who played just 3:46 together at even strength. They finished with a CF% of 50% and split the shots 2-2 when on the ice. Kuraly was beaten on a goal against, while Wagner played less than ten minutes and really didn’t do anything to impact the game.
At five-on-five, this trio didn’t get anything done. They were all involved on the penalty kill, however, and that helps their grade. Nordstrom played 4:01 on the penalty kill, while Kuraly (3:01) and Wagner (3:45) both saw significant minutes in the game state. The penalty kill ended up having a very good night when it was all said and done.
Charlie McAvoy: B+
McAvoy was very good on this night, but just couldn’t get the offense going. He had a few great looks, including a 3-on-0 rush, but couldn’t cash. Eventually he’ll start to sink those looks, but until then there has to be some concern about his ceiling as an offensive defenseman. He finished with a CF% of 69.70%. He was dominant tonight. The Wild struggled to get much going when McAvoy was out there.
Zdeno Chara: B
Chara played 13:24 at five-on-five in this game, the fourth most among Bruins defensemen. His 54.55% CF% was strong, but overall Chara wasn’t very noticeable on this night. For a defensemen, that’s a good thing. He did collect a primary assist and played 3:12 on the penalty kill. Chara was a rock on penalty kill, which doesn’t come as a surprise. Slow and steady for Chara on this night.
Torey Krug: A
Two assists and the goal that sent everyone home happy. For Torey Krug, it was a terrific return to the lineup after missing a handful of games with an injury. Krug had one tough moment, taking a penalty in the first period that led to Jason Zucker’s goal. Other than that? He transitioned the puck well and had an impact on the offense. That’s his calling card, and tonight Krug was terrific in that area. The Bruins missed him, and Krug proved why tonight.
Brandon Carlo: C
It wasn’t a great night for Carlo. He played 6:34 on the penalty kill, surrendering just six shots on the night. That was where he made his money in this affair. He was the most used defenseman in this area and was a valuable piece for Bruce Cassidy. Where Carlo loses points is at five-on-five. He had the worst Corsi For of any defenseman for the Bruins, 47.37%. He doesn’t provide much offense, so when the possession numbers are down it usually means Carlo struggled.
He did at five-on-five in this game, but played well on the penalty kill.
Steven Kampfer: B
Kampfer was good at five-on-five (68% Corsi For) and played 91 seconds on the penalty kill. He didn’t play a ton, just 16:16, but was good when he was on the ice. That’s all you can ask for from a depth defensemen. Kampfer did his job, and did it well.
Matt Grzelcyk: C+
Grzelcyk was beaten cleanly on Eric Staal’s goal, completely losing his man out front. It was a tough moment in an otherwise decent game for Grzelcyk. He finished with a Corsi For of 68.97%. The Bruins outshot the Wild 9-6 while he was on the ice, and Grzelcyk had some nice moments in transition.
Tuukka Rask: B-
It’s tough to grade Rask because he had no idea he was starting until right before the game. Jaroslav Halak fell ill and forced Rask into duty. He finished with a poor save percentage of .889%, but overall he played well. It was a tough spot, but Rask settled in and made some key saves in the stretch drive. It’s also hard to fault him for any of the Wild goals. In a tough spot, Rask did enough to win and that counts for something.
Halak was scheduled to start, as Cassidy confirmed that to the media earlier in the day. Rask got the start after Halak became sick during the course of the day. No word on what exactly was ailing the veteran goaltender. The Bruins are off until Tuesday, so Halak has plenty of time to get healthy.
There was a lot of complaining about the Bruins getting the short end of the stick tonight from the officials. Were they perfect? Far from it, but it is tough to fault them for some of the calls that were made. The Bruins were very undisciplined tonight and earned almost all of their trips to the penalty box.
Torey Krug told NESN after the game that he slowed down and waited for Zach Parise to make his move right before he went in and scored the OT winner. Krug, who had missed five games with an upper-body injury, didn’t look like he missed a beat at all. A reason why he was ready to jump right back in? He didn’t waste his time up in the pressbox. This “student of the game” spent it all learning. Jimmy Murphy touched on that earlier Saturday.