The Bruins have currently played four games without top leaders Zdeno Chara and Patrice Bergeron and so far they obtained at least a point in each of those games. Boston has trailed just for 7 minutes and 31 seconds so far in these games. A perseverance, never give up mentality and secondary scoring helped the Bruins a lot.
When head coach Bruce Cassidy inserted Connor Clifton and Jakub Zboril into the lineup last Friday in Dallas against the Stars, it was a forced move. Young D-men from Providence in AHL were just making their NHL debuts. Their families were probably very excited, Bruins fans maybe not so much.
Tough stretch no problem so far for Boston
But there was nothing to worry about, no blowout loss came in that mentioned game in Dallas, the Bruins nearly shut out the Stars, in fact they did it, but only in regulation period. Stars, Coyotes neither Red Wings are the best teams in the league, but it is not easy to play tough roadies in those buildings, taking in note that Detroit were 9-1-1 going to a head-to-head matchup with the Bs.
Facing the Pittsburgh Penguins Friday night was not easy either. I was so much surprised when I saw the betting odds and the Pens supposed to be favourites! It surprised me a bit that the Bruins are regarded as underdogs, okay I know it’s the Pens but… They have lost eight out of their last ten games and the Bruins are playing at home, where they are 8-0-1 in last nine home meetings vs. Pittsburgh.
At the end of the day, the Bruins prevailed in overtime. Well, with 1-4 record in OTs against a team like Penguins, who have some valuable weapons like Crosby, Malkin, Kessel and so on, that turned out to be a surprise Boston won it with… Joakim Nordstrom netting his first career OT goal!
Keys for Bruins keeping up pace with the giants in the Atlantic division
Secondary scoring has helped the Bruins quite a lot. Chris Wagner scored a goal in Detroit, which was only his second goal of the campaign. Nordstrom´s OT winner was his third of the year and Jake DeBrusk scored his ninth, but young forward was held for just three points throughout first 14 games of the season.
Besides scoring from unlikely sources, goaltending has been there once again. Jaroslav Halak continues his shiny play, Slovak netminder stopped 36 of 37 shots on goal. In his last five starts, in four wins he faced 149 shots on goal and stopped 145 of those and gave up four goals in the process. Then in the only loss of this stretch he allowed six goals on 26 shots on goals. Exception confirmed the rule here for Halak.
Penguins Friday night seemed to be okay with playing up to the Bruins notes. Boston is trying to establish a bit of new style, they know it is not possible to play back-and-forth games, they have to keep a very slow pace temp game. Penguins, just like Red Wings and even the Stars last week, agreed on this style. Pittsburgh was convinced an overtime win is coming up, but hey, Torey Krug already scored one OT game-winner at TD Garden against the Pens. This time he set up Nordstrom for a tap-in.
Penguins, Red Wings or Stars settled down on Bruins terms, but how it will look like, when the Bs are going to play in Montreal and Toronto in very heated battles? That´s up to be resolved and answered next. Huge games coming up for the Bruins upcoming days, but so far in a very tough run with injuries, tactically they have mastered.