Your Boston Bruins finished up their Canadian road trip tonight at the Saddledome in beautiful Calgary, Alberta. If you stayed up for it, it was an enjoyable outcome as the B’s beat the Flames 4-2 in front of quite a few Boston fans. Straight from our own TMS Flames writer Jenkins, who was boots on the ground at the game tonight: “This place is fucking LITTERED with Bruins fans, I’m weirded out.” Despite offending Jenks’ sensibilities, it was good to see the B’s secure 5 out of a possible 6 points on this road swing, the only blemish being a shootout loss to the Canucks. Honestly, what did you think the chances were that the B’s would beat both the Oilers and the Flames this trip? Yeah, I’m not going to admit anything either.
The lineup was the same as the previous game vs. EDM except Curtis Lazar checked back in with Karson Kuhlman getting the night off on the 4th line. Linus Ullmark was in net vs. Jacob Markstrom between the pipes for the Flames. The opening period was fairly choppy with neither team looking fluid and both squads having trouble with transition plays through the neutral zone. Calgary had the edge in zonetime but for the most part was kept to the perimeter. Ullmark looked sharp from the opening face (good thing as he made some big saves early), as he has looked more comfortable with every outing. At this point, a blogger with less character than myself would take a victory lap with a pocketful of “I told you so’s”. I mean you could argue that Ullmark stole points in both games he played this trip. You could argue that he’s finally in a rhythm now that the Bruins are playing a more normal schedule of games. You could argue that he’s finally adjusted to a teamwide defensive system as opposed to whatever he previously played behind for the Sabres. Lucky for you Dear Reader, I’m not that kind of guy (nor blogger). I mean he’s only 4-1-0 in his last 5 starts with a .941% save percentage. Is that good?
Connor Clifton got the Bruins on the board late in the first when he beat Markstrom short side off the rush. Anton Blidh worked the puck up the left wing wall in the neutral zone and found Trent Frederic skating across the Flames logo (not going to lie, Calgary is my 2nd team and their logo is sick). Freddie brought the puck into the CGY zone and found Cliffy streaking down the right wing. Clifton got to the top of the circle and let one fly that beat Markstrom over the shoulder and the Bruins took the 1-0 lead into the room.
With just over 5 minutes played in the 2nd period, Brad Marchand got his team leading 11th tuck of the year when he got a blade on a David Pastrnak shot. Patrice Bergeron broke up the play in the B’s defensive zone and then found Marchand in the neutral. Marchand handed the puck to Pastrnak who was coming up the right wing wall, and as Pasta drove the CGY zone, Marchand drifted down the slot towards the CGY net. Pastrnak got down to the RW circle and then curled back up the right wing wall towards the blue line where he threw the puck on net. Marchand was in the high slot at this point and he got his stick on the puck and deflected it by Markstrom on the glove side. Good things happen when you go to the net is the lesson here kids.
Less than a minute later Charlie McAvoy scored what would prove to be the game winner when he finished off a Bergeron feed in the slot. After a lengthy possession in the CGY zone, Marchand put a puck on net that was tipped high off the glass, Bergeron gathered the puck behind the CGY net and fed Marchand out front. Bergy must have had a little too much on the pass as it broke through Marchy’s stick but found Chuckie Bright Lights walking down the slot where his snap drag beat Markstrom blocker side for his 4th goal of the year.
Matthew Tkachuk got the Flames on the board when he redirected a Rasmus Andersson point shot on the power play. This was a tough one as the Bruins had numerous chances to clear the puck on the PK but failed to do so. It’s not a recipe for success when you spend a solid minute in your own end on the penalty kill. Defensive zone breakdowns plagued the Bruins throughout the 2nd period and if it wasn’t for Ullmark’s efforts they wouldn’t have been going into intermission up by a pair. Maybe the Bruins knew it was Tkachuck’s birthday?
In the final period the 4th line showed that hard work gets rewarded. Were you watching Jake? I mean you skated around all night with one handed swipes on the puck, you should be rested and watching the other guys play. Sorry, I digress. Frederic carried through the neutral zone and worked down the right wing where he threw a backhand on net. Markstrom made the initial save but bobbled the rebound and Freddie didn’t give up on the play. While Blidh crashed the goalmouth (and might have gotten away with a goalie interference), Freddie circled the net and got another swipe at the puck, this rebound bounced right to good guy Curtis Lazar out front and he made no mistake tucking it in on the backhand. Just an absolute effort shift from all three guys on this line, good to see them get rewarded.
Sean Monahan got a skate blade redirect on a shot from old friend Milan Lucic to put Calgary back within 2, but it was too little too late. The Bruins head home in a playoff spot as Detroit has dropped their last 3 (sorry Mazz). Up next for the B’s are the Golden Knights at TD Garden on Tuesday. Play the music.
- Trent Frederic has been improving by the game now that he’s playing his natural position (center). I know all the sports radio callers and Facebook posters (probably the same people from their mom’s basement) want him to fight and bang bodies, and while I’m not opposed to that play… if he can chip in with some solid play at the pivot, I’ll take that. Let him fight if he needs to, and stick up for his teammates of course. But if he can chip in with around 30 points while playing a solid center? That’s more valuable to the team.
- Taylor Hall had his skating legs going tonight. Still has no touch around the net as of late, but the effort was there tonight. Maybe he was fighting this flu that was going through the team?
- Connor Clifton got his 1st of the year and Curtis Lazar scored his 2nd: there’s some secondary scoring. Also, all of the Bruins goals tonight came during 5 on 5 play.
- The Bruins were giving too much space to the Flames out there, especially by giving up the blue line. Maybe the last game vs. CGY at TD Garden was still in their heads, but their gaps defensively were waaaaaaaay too big.
- Johnny Gaudreau worked Charlie McAvoy a few different times tonight. He dog walked him 2 or 3 times in the opening period alone. Tough look for McAvoy.
- I would like to see the Bruins with a bit more jam in front of their own net tonight. They treated the Flames like visiting dignitaries every time a red sweater was in Ullmark’s blue paint.
- Patrice Bergeron is now in sole possession of 4th place for the Boston Bruins all time assists
- With Matthew Tkachuk (RFA) and Johnny Gaudreau (UFA) the Flames are up against it in regards to the cap. I don’t see how they can sign both of them? I’d love to see either of them in a Bruins sweater next year. And while you’re at it, let’s get Noah Hanifin back where he belongs too.
- Nice job by the Flames to re-honor Milan Lucic with the fans in the building and in front of his old team. Nice video too, but how do you lead off with Jarome Iginla? Got to save Iggy for the end of the video, no?