Everything you need to know from the Bruins' 1-0 win over the New Jersey Devils in quickie form, with BSJ insight and analysis…
Rask's run continues: Saturday’s 1-0 win over the Devils, which extend Boston’s point streak to 16 games, may not boast an extensive highlight reel, but Boston did enough to snag a pair of points against a cellar-dwelling opponent in New Jersey. The box score and possession stats (49-38 edge in attempts for Boston in 5v5 play) don't exactly tell the whole story, however, as a lack of quality looks in front of New Jersey netminder MacKenzie Blackwood (three high-danger scoring chances generated for Boston) kept things rather dull for most of the night. Meanwhile, a decimated Devils roster still managed to create 10 high-danger chances in front of Rask during that same stretch.
A 20-save shutout may not steal most headlines, but Rask once again excelled with Boston holding onto its slim, one-goal lead for 57:23 of game action. With the win, Rask improves to 14-0-3 since Dec. 29 with a .933 save percentage — and is now just the second goalie in NHL history to post multiple point streaks of 17 decisions, as he reeled off a 19-0-2 run last season.
Clamping down: New Jersey does rank 20th in the NHL in goals per game, but Saturday’s shutout was still another step in the right direction for a B’s D corps that has excelled as of late when it comes to suppressing shots and making things difficult for the opposition.
So far on this homestand, Boston has only relinquished two goals over three games — while opponents have only landed an average of 20.3 shots on goal during that stretch. Pretty impressive, considering two of those clubs rank first and third in the league in goals per game in Tampa Bay and San Jose, respectively.
Shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that Boston’s D corps has turned a corner as of late with youngsters like Charlie McAvoy and Brandon Carlo playing the best hockey right now.
Brad Marchand: What a coincidence, eh? Who better for Marchand to face in his 666th career game than the Devils — and he made things a living hell for New Jersey for most of his shifts. With his power-play tally in the opening stanza, Marchand now has 11 goals and 29 total points in his last 20 games played. Not too shabby.
Tuukka Rask: The workload might have been light on Saturday, but Rask still made the stops when needed — highlighted by a fantastic save on a mini-breakaway by Jesper Bratt midway through the third period. Make that three shutouts in Rask’s last 15 outings, and a points streak that stretches all the way back to Dec. 29.
Patrice Bergeron: Bergeron should get a stick tap anyway for his slick feed on Marchand’s power-play tally, but the primary helper also helped the veteran pivot further etch his name into the B’s record books. That assist gave Bergeron his 793rd career point with Boston — tying him with Wayne Cashman for sixth place on the Bruins’ all-time scoring list. Next up for No. 37? Bobby Orr at 888 career points.
Peter Cehlarik: While Charlie Coyle's line as a whole fared pretty well on Saturday, Cehlarik found himself benched for the entire third period — with the 23-year-old winger clearly finding himself in Bruce Cassidy’s doghouse in the middle stanza. The gifted winger was whistled for a tripping penalty in the period and also had a defensive lapse that led to a brief 2-on-1 for New Jersey, with Cassidy noting that the bigger issue for Cehlarik was his overall play with the puck, rather than the penalty. It will be interesting to see if Cehlarik will get another spin with that line going forward, because they did string together quite a few good shifts early in the game.
Joakim Nordstrom: With Sean Kuraly in the concussion protocol, Boston opted to slot down Nordstrom onto the fourth line with Noel Acciari and Chris Wagner in an effort to keep that bottom-six crew humming. The results were largely mixed, as Boston was on the wrong side of attempts, 10-6, and scoring chances, 3-1, during 11:22 of 5v5 play when that line was called upon.
PLAY OF THE GAME
Great heads-up play by both Bergeron and Jake DeBrusk leading up to Marchand’s tally on the man advantage. Not much that Blackwood could do on that sequence, especially with that slick feed from Bergeron across the slot.
— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) March 3, 2019
The Bruins will continue their extended homestand on Tuesday when they welcome in the Carolina Hurricanes for a matchup. Puck drop is set for 7 p.m. One of the top surprises in the NHL this season, the Hurricanes have surged back into the playoff picture after winning eight of their last 10 games — and currently sit in third place in the Metropolitan Division. For the second time this season, the Hurricanes will don Whalers throwback jerseys for their matchup against Boston on Tuesday.