Everything you need to know from the Bruins’ 3-1 win over the Penguins in quickie form, with BSJ insight and analysis:
With a potential loss to Pittsburgh on Tuesday night (coupled with a Rangers victory) putting Boston just two points ahead of the Blueshirts for the fourth and final playoff spot in the East Division, the Bruins were going to need to rely on their big guns to bail them out against a surging Penguins club.
And while the Bruins still have some areas of their roster that need to be assessed ahead of the postseason, you're still going to rack up a ton of points in the standings when your top-six units put on a clinic like it did on Tuesday night. Simply put, both the Bergeron and Krejci lines imposed their will against the Pens at PPG Paints Arena — with David Krejci, Brad Marchand and Taylor Hall lighting the lamp in what was a 3-1 victory for Boston.
Pittsburgh didn't have an answer whenever Bruce Cassidy deployed his top-six unit on Tuesday, with Boston holding a commanding lead in ...
Shot attempts: 35-9
Shots on goal: 20-5
Scoring chances: 18-4
High-danger scoring chances: 7-1
... during the 24:55 of 5v5 ice time that both the Bergeron and Krejci lines logged.
While Boston's top forwards did their jobs and landed punch after punch down the other end of the ice, Tuukka Rask and the B's defense stood tall against a Penguins team that entered the game with a 20-3-2 record in their own barn — with Rask turning aside 25 of the 26 shots that came his way, and the Pens limited to just three high-danger scoring chances during 5v5 play.
While the Rangers ultimately ended up beating the Sabres on Tuesday, Boston's win does give it some breathing room still in the standings — with the B's up four points over the Blueshirts with two games in hand. The Bruins — who are also just one point behind the Islanders for third place in the East — have a chance to pile on some points in the next week, with their next four games against the Sabres and Devils. Meanwhile, the Rangers will play the Islanders twice before taking on the Capitals in a two-game set.
Still perhaps a bit of a precarious spot for Boston to be in with just a few weeks left in the season, but the B's still remain in the driver's seat when it comes to punching a ticket to the playoffs.
David Krejci: The renaissance continues for Krejci ever since his line received a much-needed shot in the arm following the trade deadline. Krejci sure didn't need any wingers when he opened the scoring for Boston in the second period, beating Tristan Jarry with a couple of slick moves before finding twine with a backhand shot. Add in his helper on Hall's goal in the third, and Krejci is now up to nine points (five goals, four assists) in his last nine games.
Brad Marchand and Boston's top line: Marchand put an emphatic stamp on a dominant showing from the B's first line in this one, with his third-period strike standing as his 13th goal so far in April — standing as the fifth different Bruins player in the last 45 years to score as many in a single calendar month. But beyond Marchand's tally, Boston's big guns absolutely decimated the Penguins in this one — with Boston holding a 9-2 edge in shots on goal and 5-0 advantage in high-danger scoring chances during the 6:37 of 5v5 ice time in which Patrice Bergeron was matched up against Sidney Crosby.
Tuukka Rask: After getting pulled in his last outing against the Sabres, Rask rebounded with a strong showing against the Pens, stopping 25 shots — including eight that came on the Pens' three power plays.
Taylor Hall: I don't know about you — but Hall looks pretty confident now in a black-and-gold sweater. With his highlight-reel snipe in the third period, Hall is now up to four goals and seven points in nine games with Boston. That deal continues to look better and better for the B's.