After getting news the Bruins would be without star rookie defenseman Charlie McAvoy for at least four weeks with an MCL sprain, Boston came out and scored six goals for a 6-5 victory over the Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday night at the TD Garden.
The team played without Patrice Bergeron, McAvoy and Tuukka Rask and took a much-needed two points to extend their lead to five points over the third-place Toronto Maple Leafs.
Here are my six takeaways from the game:
- This team wouldn’t be where they are without Brad Marchand
Marchand had a natural hat trick on Tuesday with his third goal being the overtime game-winner. He is clearly a difference-maker on the ice and always comes up big – especially when the team needs him to. His overtime goal marked his 11 of his career, which is the most in the Bruins history.
- The Bruins will have to play their best hockey without Charlie McAvoy and Patrice Bergeron
With only about a month left in the regular season, Boston will have to play their best hockey down the stretch. It will be a huge test without Bergeron and McAvoy and that showed on Tuesday. After jumping out to a 2-0 lead less than a minute into the game, Detroit never gave up and forced the game into overtime. Seeing an 11-goal game is great, but the B’s can’t be giving up five goals a night – especially to a mediocre team.
- Anton Khudobin has stepped up
With Rask out due to what’s being called a “minor injury”, Khudobin has stepped in and stepped up and has played well these last few games. He gave up some bad goals on Tuesday, but also made some big, clutch saves. Rask had not been playing well throughout the last five games and Khudobin has stepped up while the starting goalie has been out. In a game where defense was almost non-existent for both teams, he was able to make some Tim Thomas-like saves and help lead the team to a victory with 30 saves.
- Torey Krug has been a spark plug
Krug got the scoring started early in Tuesday’s game and added another goal on the night. He has played very well recently – whether it’s not being paired with Brandon Carlo as much or stepping up when the team needs 100 percent from everyone, Krug has been a force on the ice and he showed that on Tuesday with two goals and two assists.
- The Bruins are 4-0-0 since returning to the Garden
After a long road trip, Boston returned home and have beaten the Hurricanes, Penguins, Canadiens and Red Wings. They put up eight goals against the Pens and swept the season series from the Habs. This team is clicking and playing good hockey despite not giving their best performance on Tuesday. Bruce Cassidy knows what works and it shows with each passing game. With key players out and only a few weeks left in the regular season, the chemistry of this team is only getting stronger.
- The Rick Nash trade is proving to be a win
For anyone still complaining Boston shipped Ryan Spooner out of town, are you not enjoying the play Rick Nash has brought? He plays his best hockey every night and seems as if he has helped David Krejci become a better player. He probably had his worst game as a Bruin on Tuesday since being acquired before the trade deadline, but his presence on the ice can’t be denied. He came close to having an assist on Tuesday when he set up Nick Holden but Jimmy Howard was able to get his glove on it.
Nash can’t go unnoticed and has helped the Bruins both offensively and defensively – including making a save against the Hurricanes last week. Especially with Bergeron and McAvoy out, Nash will need to continue to prove the Bruins won that trade.