And A Rookie Shall Lead Them

The Bruins hosted the Islanders again tonight hoping to complete the 2 game sweep at the TD Garden. With rookie sensation Jeremy Swayman in net, the B’s rolled out the same lineup for the 2nd night in a row. They didn’t get the complete game that they put forth last night, but they did enough to get the W (and the 2 points) and in the end, that’s all that really matters.

The Islanders came with the effort right off the opening face and were hoping to set the tempo from jump. Dal Colle walked in alone about 4 minutes into the game looking to go high blocker, but Swayman was on his angles and patiently outwaited the bid as he did all night. New York made some adjustments since the previous night and they were dialed in defensively. The Islanders brought pressure throughout the neutral zone and were stepping up on the forwards to limit the B’s breakouts. It looked as if we were heading into the locker rooms at zeroes, but Pastrnak got the Bruins on the board with 3 seconds left on the clock. Pasta came with pressure on the forecheck and spun the puck behind the net to Reilly who had slid down the wall. He touched the puck back to Bergeron who (of course) was covering for him at the point. Bergy then laid it back to Reilly in the left wing corner and he dished to Pasta who bunted it over Sorokin’s glove and under the bar. 1-0 good guys and you know there’s no worse of a feeling than giving up a goal in the closing minute of a period. 

In the opening minute of the 2nd, Hall got one off a pretty give and go with Krecji to put the Bruins up by 2 (for those who care, that’s 2 goals in less than a minute if you don’t count intermission). Kampfer with the 1 man breakout from behind his own net found Hall in stride at the red line where he carried into the NY zone. Hall found Krecji high on the right wing and then went straight to the net. Krecji then found him on the net drive and Hall redirected the puck 5-hole for his 2nd goal as a Bruin. Amazing what a change of scenery can do for a guy. It took Hall 3 games to score what took him 37 games to do in Buffalo. It’s not on you Sabres’, it must be on him. That was also Kampfer’s first apple of the season. After Hall’s goal, you could see the Bruins ramp up their play as they dictated much of the play for the remainder of the period.

Originally tweeted by Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) on April 17, 2021.

In the 3rd period the game opened up as the teams traded chances and ramped up the physicality. Lazar got his first as a Bruin with an empty netter to ice the game late after a tremendous shift by the 4th line in the closing minutes. Wagner, Kuraly and Lazar were beasts on the wall all night and generated numerous chances in the offensive zone. At this point you could make the argument that the 4th line is really the 3rd line if you compare TOI and who plays in the important minutes. A low key play that shows (in my humble opinion) that Hall has bought in to the Bruins system. Late in the game, Hall went down at his own blue line to block a shot with about 4 minutes left. Like I said previously, just do what Bergy does and you’ll be fine. 

Some sloppy play and fumblefuckery with the puck almost let the Islanders back into the game, but Swayman was nails. He faced down 5 odd man rushes and handled all with ease. It didn’t seem as if he was out of position at any point in the night and this kid looks as calm and relaxed as any goalie I’ve seen. Every time they show him talking after a whistle he’s all smiles, you gotta love it. What I don’t love to see is DeBrusk still getting a regular shift. He’s an absolute liability at both ends of the ice. He was the only forward without a SOG for the game. Quick study in contrast for you: DeBrusk coughs up the puck on the PP and gives a half-ass effort to get back to defend the 2 on 1. For all the speed he’s got, he must be saving it for something else, cause he glided the last 15 feet of the backcheck. Compare that with McAvoy’s turnover when he busted ass the entire way back and did just enough to keep the NY player from getting off a shot. One’s the future and one’s hopefully heading to Seattle. During the NESN broadcast homeboy Jack commented that DeBrusk had plenty to say about Hall’s celly after his 1st goal last night. If that’s the kind of shit DeBrusk is concerned with, how about you put him up in the press box so he can really dissect the important things? I mean seriously Jake, good luck with The Kraken. 

Up next is a road trip for 3 games in Buffalo. With 6 points available to them, could the Bruins catch the Pens or even the Islanders?

Plus/Minus

Plus:

  • PK was perfect tonight. Aggressive when they needed to be and kept most shots to the perimeter. Kuraly was excellent on the PK too with some serious heads up play.
  • The PP didn’t cash in, but I like that they have another set up besides Pasta at the LW dot. They rolled out Hall down low with Pastrnak and Reilly up top. This allowed them to overload the right side of the ice and look for quick plays to the slot and bumper. Now they have different sets on the PP and that will make it harder to defend.
  • Swayman with his first NHL shutout. Kid’s ready for prime time. I see the Bruins bringing back Rask and splitting starts between them (with the majority to Rask), and grooming Swayman to be THE GUY in 2022-23.

Minus:

  • Kuraly takes dumb penalties at bad times. Puck over the ice and boarding (at least the boarding he got whistled for) have to be 2 of the easiest penalties to avoid. Especially since he’s so valuable on the PK and for defensive zone face-offs.
  • Against the better teams, the Bruins need to play smart for the entire 60
  • Swayman kept them in this game. The Bruins were too sloppy in their own end too many times.

Game Notes:

  • Marchand is in some pretty good company. When he scored to get over 20g last night, that was his 8th season in a row with 20+ goals. Phil Esposito also did it for 8 consecutive seasons, whereas Rick Middleton did if for 9 seasons in a row and The Chief, Johnny Bucyk did it for an amazing 10 seasons in a row. Pretty good company to be in.

Author: Brownie

Hockey fan/player from the greater Boston area.

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