Extra Beats: Bruins Rout Rangers; Pull Within One Point Of East Leading Lightning

CLNS' Bruins Insider, Jimmy Murphy mixes in the B's with the BEATS....

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The Boston Bruins are within one point of the Tampa Bay Lightning for first place in the Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference. Let that sink in for a second. Ok, one more time? Sure, no problem!

After beating the Red Wings Tuesday and absolutely dominating the New York Rangers 6-1 at Madison Square Garden Wednesday – on the year anniversary of head coach Bruce Cassidy replacing longtime Bruins coach Claude Julien – Butch, his veteran core and his Sundance Kids are indeed one point shy of the division and conference lead with a game in hand on Tampa Bay. With 74 points (33-11-8), they’re also tied for second overall in points with the Western Conference leading Vegas Golden Knights.

Despite the fact that the Patriots are mired in a soap opera and refuse to let their fans move on from their heart-breaking Super Bowl loss Sunday, the Bruins have done everything they can to help alleviate the collective pain of Boston sports fans this week. The B’s swept their the two-game roadie in Detroit and New York, and are letting all those who are looking for an escape jump on board by what promises to be at least another two plus months of what already is an exciting ride of hockey in Beantown.

Here’s your Extra Beats after the Bruins flexed their muscles (on the scoreboard and on the ice) once again:

1.) Reunited And It Feels So Good

It was all Peaches and Herb at MSG Wednesday night as Brad Marchand returned from is five-game suspension and it didn’t take long for the Bruins’ leading scorer to regain his chemistry with his linemates Patrice Bergeron and David Pastrnak. Arguably the best line in the hockey didn’t miss a beat and at the end of the night, Marchand and Pastrnak each had an assist and Bergeron had his 23rd and 24th lamplighters of the season.

Bergeron’s first goal (from Pastrnak and Torey Krug made it 3-1 Boston 3:47 into the second period and then ten minutes into the middle frame, Bergeron took an amazing feed from Marchand (above) for his second shorthanded goal of the season. As we’ve pointed out before here, it’s high time Bergeron get serious Hart consideration as NHL MVP.

#BergeronSelkeHart

2.) Chara Sings Redemption Song To Get Gamewinner

A day after the birthday of the late Bob Marley, Zdeno Chara sang his own Redemption Song with his resilience on the ice and got almost instant redemption. After a rare gaffe when he coughed up the puck to Rangers forward Rick Nash at the Rangers blue line, and then watched Nash break in and beat Bruins goalie Anton Khudobin for a 1-0 lead, Bruins defenseman Chara wasn’t about to hang is head and get distracted.

“I just knew I couldn’t hang my head and had to move on,” Chara told NESN and (last night NBC Between The Glass man) analyst Andy Brickley after the game. “I always try to just put those things behind me and stay positive.”

That’s exactly the B’s captain did as he scored what proved to be the eventual game-winning goal 16:09 into the first period. That was Chara’s fifth goal of the season and he continues to look ageless like Tom Brady and be a force on the blue line.

 

3.) Dooby Dooby Do Does It Again

Much like Chara did after the Nash goal and has all season, Khudobin redeemed himself and was not only stellar the rest of the game, but sensational the rest of the first period.

His play as his teammates settled in after and specifically a flurry of Tim Thomas like saves (above) later in the opening frame, allowed the Bruins to steal the momentum from the Rangers and cruise in the second and third periods.

4.) The Rangers Got Deep-Sixed By Bruins Depth

Yes, the big guns like Bergeron, Marchand and Pastrnak as well as Chara on defense, stepped up for Boston, but the Rangers – like so many teams this season – were done in by the Bruins’ depth. 14 different Bruins got Points Wednesday and none was prettier than Tim Schaller’s highlight reel beauty 7:25 into the second period to give the B’s a 4-1 lead.

5.) McQuaid Adapts But Still Himself

There was plenty of talk over the last few years that stay at home and rugged defenseman like Adam McQuaid would be phased out of the game. Over the last two seasons there have also been plenty in the Boston media and fanbase clamoring for Bruins GM Don Sweeney to correct what they felt was a mistake when he signed the tough but oft-injured rearguard to a four-year contract with a $2.7 million cap hit back in June, 2015.

Well, since returning to the lineup January 17 from his most recent injury – a broken leg suffered back in October – McQuaid has provided a steady presence on the blue line, being his usual rugged self while also keeping up with the Bruins’ up tempo pace. On Wednesday in New York he even mixed in some old time hockey dropping the gloves with Rangers tough guy Cody McLeod twice.

6.) With Marchand Back, Forward Lines Almost Back To Normal

Noel Acciari remained out of the lineup so that meant rookie Austin Czarnik was between Schaller and Sean Kuraly on the energy line but other than that, the Bruins forward lines looked like they have for most of their winning days as Danton Heinen dropped back down to play with David Backes and Riley Nash.

Marchand-Bergeron-Pastrnak

Jake DeBrusk-David Krejci-Ryan Spooner

Heinen-Nash-Backes

Schaller-Kuraly-Czarnik