BOSTON — Here are the Talking Points from the Boston Bruins 5-1 win over the Montreal Canadiens at TD Garden on Wednesday night.
GOLD STAR: Brad Marchand is nothing short of amazing. He scored two goals in a 15-second span in the first period, finished off his fifth career hat trick in the second period and now has a ridiculous eight goals in his last four games. Marchand is now just one game short of tying Phil Esposito’s record of four consecutive multi-goal games set in the 1973-74 NHL season. Perhaps most interesting of all was the pink straw hat that Marchand picked up postgame that he’ll sign and put with the rest of the Boston Bruins hat trick collection for the season. The reason for picking it? “The hat speaks for itself…it’s got sexy written all over it.”
Interesting hat choice for Brad Marchand after scoring the three goals pic.twitter.com/Svu3R2Qlpg
— Joe Haggerty (@HackswithHaggs) January 13, 2022
Marchand continues to build a very strong Hart Trophy resume as the unquestioned best player on the Boston Bruins these days and he’s got all the stats and credentials to back it up. And he’s been tearing it up since his nose was all busted up with a vicious high stick on Monday night.
BLACK EYE: Plenty of bad Montreal Canadiens performances to choose from and it easily could have gone to Chris Wideman head-butting Erik Haula during the scrum. That’s just a punk move. But let’s instead reserve this for Mike Hoffman, who has completely fall off the face of the Earth with four goals and a minus-13 in 20 games for the Canadiens. Hoffman finished Wednesday night’s game with a minus-1 rating, zero shots on net and a complete non-factor performance in a season where he’s been dragged down with the rest of a terrible Habs group. Remember when there was plenty of hue and cry about the Bruins going after Hoffman as a hired gun on the wing? Well, it sure seems like the B’s made the right call taking a pass on him.
TURNING POINT: For the Boston Bruins, it was one energetic shift in the first period when Anton Blidh started banging bodies and throwing Habs players around. He knocked Jeff Petry’s helmet off after smoking him behind the Montreal net and then caused a turnover after another big hit against the side boards. The turnover gave Blidh the puck in the offensive zone and forced Petry to take a penalty by playing the puck without a helmet. The ensuing power play didn’t turn into a goal for the Boston Bruins, but it did seize the momentum and allow the Bruins to take over the second half of the first period with three straight goals. It was a big night for Boston’s fourth line and the bruising first period shift from Anton Blidh certainly was a harbinger of things to come.
HONORABLE MENTION: Give it up for Curtis Lazar, who was weaking havoc at the front of the net pretty much all night. Lazar finished with two goals and four points, including a great screen on an Urho Vaakanainen goal that actually eventually got credited to Lazar. And it was Lazar battling in front of the Montreal net as a Jake DeBrusk shot bounced off his skate blade and into the net that made it an insurmountable three-goal lead for the Bruins at the end of the first period. Lazar finished with two goals, three points, a plus-3 rating and five shot attempts and three hits in 13:10 of gritty ice time for the Black and Gold.
BY THE NUMBERS: 33 – the number of career shorthanded goals for Brad Marchand that’s pushed him in a tie with Canadiens great Guy Carbonneau for 14th all-time on the NHL’s all-time list.
QUOTE TO NOTE: “It’s a tough part of the ice to get to, but you just can’t be denied.” –Curtis Lazar, battling to get to the front of the net as he did while finishing with two goals and three points while screening for Urho Vaakanainen, and scoring a goal when a puck bounced off his skate blade as he was battling in the crease.