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Five Takeaways: NHL’s Inconsistency On Head Shots Sully Bruins 6th Straight Win

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The Boston Bruins just keep finding ways to win. On Saturday, they did so by going 2-for-2 on the powerplay, allowing just one goal on a five-minute kill and getting scoring throughout their top 6 in a 4-2 win over the Arizona Coyotes to extend their win streak to six games.

Charlie Coyle scored two goals, Patrice Bergeron had a goal and two assists, David Pastrnak had two assists and Jake DeBrusk lit the lamp for the Bruins.

Tuukka Rask also made 29 saves to lead his team to a point for a franchise-record 18th straight game from the start of the season. Rask is 12-0-6 in the friendly confines of TD Garden. More on that and four other takes from another W for the hottest and best team in the NHL right now in your BHN Five Takeaways:

NHL Continues Head Shot Confusion

Bruins defenseman Jeremy Lauzon has a hearing Sunday for an illegal check to the head of Coyotes forward Derek Stepan 19:39 into the game Saturday but why not Coyotes forward Lawson Crouse too?

Lauzon received a match-penalty for this hit to Stepan 19:39 into the first period and rightfully so. 

After the Bruins allowed a goal to former Bruin Phil Kessel on that Coyotes powerplay at 3:26 of the second period and then killed the remaining 1:34 left, Coyotes forward Lawson Crouse was called for roughing after what was arguably a worse hit to the head of Bruins defenseman Charlie McAvoy.

The NHL has settled some of the lawsuits deriving from their lack of truly addressing headshots and the effects of CTE. If things continue as is though, they will be entangled in these lawsuits until either Trump hits that button or the ever-changing climate does us all in! The contradictory penalties on headshots in this game were a symbol of the inconsistency that plagues the league when it comes to hits to the head and another example of how not much is really being done to curb the league’s biggest disease. 

Following the game, Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy didn’t hold back when discussing not only the game-by-game inconsistency with headshots but the shift-by-shift. 

“Well, there is in this,” Cassidy replied when asked if there is inconsistency overall when it comes to headshots in the NHL? “ Clearly they’re both very similar hits and you’d like to see more consistency, but again, I don’t want to get onto that soapbox today. They’re going to look at Lauzy’s hit. Listen, I don’t even know if it’s an automatic suspension, I assume it’s a review. I don’t believe last year when he was up he had any issues with the league. I guess we’ll see down the road. That would be my only concern if there’s a suspension. Obviously he’s played well for us. That would be unfortunate.”

Cassidy’s right. It’s unfortunate that the NHL just can’t seem to get on the same page of what is always an ugly chapter to their story. 

It’s All About The Seats. …And New Contract For Rask?

On a night when he surpassed Gilles Gilbert for the longest points streak since the start of a season, Rask had an interesting and comical answer to yours truly when I asked him what he loves most about playing at TD Garden.

“The seats! Don’t change them!” Rask joked two days after TD Garden and Delaware North issued a statement acknowledging changes were needed to the new, black seats that were put into the Garden this past offseason after they were lambasted by local media and fans. 

Rask went on to credit his teammates for the home dominance but remember, Rask, 32, is heading into the final season of an eight-year contract that carries a $7 million cap hit. Was he sending a message through his trademark humor with the media though?

Chara Humbled By Pre-Game Honors

The Bruins honored captain Zdeno Chara prior to the game for playing in his 1,500th game on November 5 against the Canadiens in Montreal and then playing in his 1,000th game as Bruins captain on January 13 against the Flyers in Philadelphia. ‘Big Zee’ received some glamorous and as he pointed out, well thought out ones, including a free trip to anywhere in the world on his teammates. The always humble Chara was even more so following the game.

“I am just a small piece of the puzzle and I am always trying to do my share of work and kind of leave a footprint in this organization,” said Chara who has worn the C above the Spoked B since the 2006-07 season. “I am just a regular guy, honestly, I am just trying to do my job, do it well, the best I can — I love the game.”

Coyle Driving the Line

With his two goals Saturday, Coyle now has three goals and one assist in his last three games. Last season’s prize before the trade deadline has proved to be versatile, relentless and completely embraced the Bruins culture, obviously psyched to be back home playing for the team he cheered for growing in Weymouth, MA. What’s been really noticable is the way Coyle is using his 6-foot-3, 220-pound frame to break through the zone and in front of the net as well as use his strong reach to control the puck. Cassidy praised him for that after the win Saturday.

“I have to tell you, he’s really driving that line. Tonight, I thought he was exceptional with the puck.”

Back To Back To Back To Back To Back To ?

The NHLPA may have done a good job of having the league institute bye-weeks into the schedule in the 2012 lockout, but the league hasn’t been shy slamming teams with as many games as possible coming out of their bye week. The Bruins schedule since returning January 31 against the Jets in Winnipeg is a perfect example as they will conclude three consecutive back-to-back sets since then in Detroit Sunday afternoon. Thus far though, the Bruins haven’t been affected as they’re 5-0-0 and on the verge of sweeping their third back-to-back in nine days.

With 20 years of experience (SiriusXM NHL Network Radio, ESPNBoston, NESN, NHL.com, etc.) covering the Bruins, the NHL, NCAA and junior hockey and more, Jimmy Murphy’s hockey black book is full of Hall of Famers, current players, coaches, management, scouts and a wide array of hockey media personalities that have lived in and around this great game. For 17 of his 20 years as a hockey and sports reporter, Murph covered the Bruins on essentially a daily basis covering their victorious 2011 Stanley Cup run and their 2013 run to the Final as well. Murphy has hosted national and local radio shows and podcasts and also has experience in TV as well.

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