Your Boston Bruins hosted the Philadelphia Flyers tonight at the TD Garden in front of another sellout crowd and the Black and Gold on hand were eager to embrace the return of a long awaited favorite son. Oh you didn’t know? That’s right haters: Tuukka Rask was back in net tonight for your Boston Bruins. For the first time since last May, Rask was back in his usual spot looking cool as a cucumber and nonchalant as a motherfucker. Some things never change as the Bruins hand Philly their 5th loss in a row with a 3-2 final score.
Up front the lines remained the same, but with 3 of the top 6 defensemen in COVID Protocol the blue line pairings looked a little different. Charlie McAvoy was paired with Urho Vaakanainen and Mike Reilly was skating with Brandon Carlo. The 3rd pairing of Jack Ahcan and Tyler Lewington were elevated off the taxi squad as Matt Grzelcyk joined Derek Forbort and Connor Clifton on the protocol list.
The Bruins got on the board first with David Pastrnak showing the NHL fan voters why he should be (and is) an All Star. A weird bounce in the LW corner caused a turnover deep in the PHI zone and Taylor Hall was the first on the puck. With a quick stride he dished a short backhand pass to Erik Haula who gathered the puck in and over to Pasta in the slot with one silky motion. Pasta caught the pass and pulled it back for a snap shot that beat Carter Hart over the blocker. Less than 2 minutes into the game and the boys were off and running.
Later in the first while on the power play, Pastrnak got his 2nd of the night when he finished off a beauty of a pass from Brad Marchand. McAvoy at the right point found Marchand out high on the left side and led him deeper down the wing. Marchand got to the top of the LW circle and sold the shot before going no look cross slot to Pasta for the catch and release at the RW circle. Pastrnak beat a diving Hart over the glove and it looked like it was going to be a cakewalk for the B’s. Something to pay attention to on this goal: Marchand fed Pastrnak from the half wall on the LW and Pastrnak shot from the dot on the RW. That’s an opposite set up than what the Bruins typically do with PP1, good to see that they are still tinkering with special teams to get even more production. Coaching matters boys and girls.
The Bruins dominated play the entire first period as the Flyers looked like they hadn’t waken from their pre-game naps just yet. As the 2nd period progressed, you could see PHI getting more into the game flow and the ice wasn’t as tilted as it was for the opening period. A questionable call put the Flyers on the power play, ask Ked always tells me the refs have it out for the Bruins. Cam Atkinson got PHI on the board when he got a stick on an Ivan Provorov shot right on the crease and knocked it down past Rask. I don’t care if Rask, Tim Thomas and Andy Moog were all in the net at the same time: they weren’t stopping that puck. It was a perfect tip that dipped at the last possible moment under the glove. Rask made up for the goal almost immediately when he stoned Joel Farabee on a breakaway and then shut the door on his rebound attempt before poking the puck away before Farabee’s 3rd attempt. Huge save as the Flyers were looking to swing momentum.
But Farabee was determined to get his cookie, and he did a bit later as he walked 4 Bruins high in the BOS zone and worked a give and go with Cam Atkinson. Farabee continued to drive the net and tucked it in the open back door once Rask came across and all of a sudden we have a tie game. McAvoy got caught a little flat-footed as he whiffed on a big hip check and Farabee did his best McJesus impression going 1 on 4 (some free advice for Farabee: save that highlight for your arbitration hearing).
After Marchand got the hatty last night, you just knew it was coming right? With less than 4 minutes played in the period with the Bruins on the power play again; Pasta got his 11th career hat trick when he blew one past Hart. A perfect feed from McAvoy found Pasta just inside the LW circle and he uncorked one past Hart’s ear. For those scoring at home you can mark that one down as PP-GWG. Hart didn’t have a chance, that shot was an absolute dot.
In the 3rd period the Bruins buckled down defensively and kept play on the perimeter in their own end while still generating scoring chances. With less than 5 minutes left in regulation, Carlo and then Charlie Coyle both put pucks over the glass for delay of game penalties putting the Bruins down 2 as the Flyers were hunting the tie. Hey when you’ve lost 5 in a row, a tie is a step in the right direction. The Flyers pulled Hart with 3:45 left and the Bruins had to kill about a minute of 6 on 3 and then another minute of 6 on 4, which they did. Great wall work and timely saves by Rask got the Bruins another W pushing their record to 7-1 in the New Year.
The Bruins are off until a matinee Saturday when they welcome in the Nashville Predators.
As Homeboy Jack likes to say: 2 U’s – 2 K’s – 2 Points.
Play the Music.
- You get a David Pastrnak hat trick and a win for Tuukka Rask in his welcome back game. C’mon, that’s pretty good.
- Erik Haula has played better each game since his health bomb. He looks totally comfortable with Taylor Hall and David Pastrnak and has been sticking up for himself and his teammates. If only health bombs worked that way with everyone.
- Curtis Lazar is on fire. With 6 points in his last 7 games and his effort every night it’s been great watching him play.
- This is ticky-tack but you hate it for him. Urho Vaakanainen’s first goal vs. MTL last night was changed to one for good guy Curtis Lazar. I’m sure he’ll get one soon enough, but that kind of sucks for Vaaky.
- ESPN Camera Angles. What the hell? Why are you trying to re-invent the wheel? Just keep the puck in the camera frame (thought that would be a given) and keep the angle the one we’re used to.
- Jake DeBrusk. I mean c’mon man. You float, you drift, you lollygag around out there: I need a thesaurus to continue to describe your puppy shit softness. How can this guy get more ice time than Oskar Steen and Anton Blidh?? Seriously, watch him stand and watch as the puck goes by. Watch him cough up the puck over and over. It’s embarrassing. Tell them coach.
- The Sonk-Daddy Keith Yandle is now 8 games away from Doug Jarvis’ Ironman streak of 964 consecutive games. That’s one that may never be broken. Unless it’s done by Phil Kessel who quietly is only 24 games behind Yands.
- Tonight David Pastrnak passed Bobby Orr to move into 8th place all time for Boston Bruins power play goals. He’s only 5 behind Ken Hodge now. Also per Pasta’s post game presser, he told Tuukka that he was excited to have him back in net and he was going to get a hat trick tonight. Rask’s response? “He didn’t believe me”.
- The Bruins are now 15-0-0 this year when leading after the 1st. Is that good?
- Tonight was Kevin Hayes’ first game back in Boston since the passing of his brother Jimmy. An emotional night for the Dorchester native as his nephews were at the morning skate and I’m sure he had friends and family at the game. We all wish nothing but happiness for the Hayes family.