What do the 2017-18 Boston Bruins get when they find out they will be without their leading scorer, left wing Brad Marchand for five games? Well of course (sarcasm. …kind of), they get goals from the three left wingers that slot behind Marchand on the forward depth chart. Jake DeBrusk scored the game-winner 8:41 into the third period to break a 2-2 tie, while Danton Heinen and Tim Schaller had a goal a piece in a 3-2 Bruins win. Boston has now won five straight games and gained at least a point in 18 straight, tying the 1968-69 Bruins team for the longest point streak in team history.
Here’s some Extra Beats as the beat goes on for the B’s heading into the All Star Break. …
1.) Depth And Speed Helping Bruins Overcome Injuries
With his top left winger and leading scorer in Marchand out for five games due to a suspension issued on Wednesday for elbowing Devils forward Marcus Johansson in Tuesday’s 3-2 win over New Jersey and Noel Acciari out with an injury, Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy slotted in Anders Bjork on the top line with Patrice Bergeron and David Pastrnak and put Frank Vatrano in on the fourh line with Tim Schaller and Sean Kuraly.
Vatrano – a healthy scratch for 19 straight games – was playing in his first game since December 21 and Bjork was in his first since December 28 and being demoted to Providence December 29. Both had decent games, though Vatrano looked a bit too eager taking two penalties, but it didn’t matter because Cassidy has so many options. On Thursday he flip-flopped Heinen (off the third line) and Bjork and used Heinen in Marchand’s spot on the power play, where ended up tying the game at one 11:35 into the second period.
As pointed out above, him, Debrusk and Schaller – all left wings behind Marchand usually – lit the lamp. Debrusk had an exceptional game and was really using his north-south game to get in and create havoc for the Sens’ defense and goalie Mike Condon.
— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) January 26, 2018
2.) Spotting 1-0 Leads No Big Deal For B’s
For the seventh straight game, the Bruins allowed the first goal and for the seventh straight game they gained a point and for the fifth straight, they won. While this is obviously not the game plan Cassidy draws up and not a habit the Bruins are priding themselves on, they can pride themselves on their resilience. Their adapting in game, in period and in shift is also working and that’s a great sign as the season will become even more of a grind after the All Star break.
This will continue to be an Extra Beat after every game as long as Bergeron continues the MVP caliber season he’s on. Bergeron had two helpers Thursday night and now has 26 assists to go with 20 goals for 46 points. His consistency and hard work is a main reason that top line can survive without Marchand. How he wasn’t added to the Atlantic Division roster instead of Brayden Point is difficult to comprehend even with Point being part of the host team, Tampa Bay. In the long run ti will likely be better for Bergeron and the Bruins as he can rest.
4.) Special Teams Has Been Special
Special teams continues to be a strength for the Bruins. On Thursday, the power play went 1-for-1 and the penalty kill killed off three out of four Ottawa powerplays and also scored a shorthanded goal with Tim Schaller’s tally at 1:58 of the second period.
Boston currently has the seventh best power play in the NHL scoring at a 21.8 percent clip and has the 4th best penalty kill, killing off 83.7 percent of opponents’ powerplays.
5.) Carlo Shaking Off Sophomore Jinx?
The sophomore jinx definitely hit defenseman Brandon Carlo for most of the first half of this season, but he has been stepping up in the absence of Charlie McAvoy which is crucial for the Boston blue line while the rookie sensation is out for two weeks following successful surgery for an abnormal heartbeat. Carlo, who has been reunited with his partner from last season, captain Zdeno Chara, was a plus 1 and logged 21:34 ice time Thursday after being on the ice for 22:13 Tuesday against New Jersey. If he can continue to find his game again, that will be huge not only during McAvoy’s absence but also down the stretch as injuries tend to mount.
Speaking of McAvoy, check out what his former coach at Boston University David Quinn had to say about him in the latest Bruins Beat Podcast…..
6.) Enjoy The Ride!
With the Patriots steaming towards another Super Bowl for the last month plus, it’s not surprising that this amazing streak the Bruins are on has gone fairly unnoticed. Once the local football season ends though and even with a contending Celtics team sharing TD Garden with the Bruins, it’s going to be hard to not get drawn into this glorious ride the local hockey squad is on. If you like to be entertained by a hard-working, skilled and fast team, you may even want to check the Black and Gold out in their first three games back after the All Star break and before the Super Bowl. If you’re in the Boston area, you’re in luck because the Bruins are home for all three (vs the Ducks Tuesday; the Blues Thursday and the Maple Leafs February 3. Go join the Fantastic Voyage this team is on!