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Your Boston Bruins welcomed in the Chicago Blackhawks to the TD Garden earlier this evening in an Original Six matchup. The high-flying days of the Blackhawks are long gone. These are 2 clubs headed in opposite directions as the Bruins were flirting with NHL history tonight and the Blackhawks are in full on “Tank Hard for Bedard” mode.
Jeremy Swayman was back in action tonight well ahead of his reported timetable (seems to be the cool thing for injured Bruins players to do) and he was facing off against the well traveled Petr Mrazek in net for the ‘Hawks. David Pastrnak got it going for the Bruins with less than 5 minutes gone in the opening frame. On the PP (with a different look than what we’ve been seeing), Brad Marchand found Pasta with a perfect cross-ice seam pass that Pastrnak shoveled under the glove of Mrazek. Nice to see the Bruins mix up what hasn’t been clicking lately. Pastrnak and Marchand were on opposite sides than where they normally are. I mean if you want to work on your game, the Blackhawks might be the perfect opponent to try out some new things.
In the 2nd Patrice Bergeron got his cookie which turned out to be the game winning goal. The Bruins were set up in the CHI zone and working the 5-man rotation beautifully. Charlie McAvoy kept the puck in the zone at the left point and bumped it down the wall to Marchand who skated the puck back across the zone. Marchand found Bergeron rotating backwards through the slot and fed him for a backup one-timer. The clip below doesn’t show how the Bruins were just ragging the puck around the CHI zone, it honestly looked like a power play.
Later in the period, on a CHI PP, Jonathan Toews got the Blackhawks within a goal. Patrick Kane worked the puck around the zone and found Max Domi up top. Domi let go a low clapper that Toews re-directed from the slot to go up and over Swayman’s shoulder. No chance at all for Sway as the tip came from about 4ft out. Can I just ask you Dear Reader; Is there a more over-rated player in the league than Max Domi? Nothing against the guy, but he is not the superstar that people make him out to be. I just don’t get it.
Jake DeBrusk got in on the fun when Marchand used him as a backboard on the power play with about 3 mins left in the 2nd period. Marchand kept possession low on the RW and dragged the puck almost to the bottom of the circle before putting a wrister in off DeBrusk’s leg. That’s why your Pee-Wee coach tells you an assist is as good as a goal. All credit to DeBrusk too as he was in the right spot, parked at the top of the blue paint trying to cause havoc.
With less than a minute left in the middle stanza, David Krejci decided to show the NHL that he can still bring the heat with his shooting. Once again, the Bruins had CHI hemmed in their zone and were changing up personnel a player at a time. McAvoy found AJ Greer at the bottom of the RW circle and Greer laid a sweet 6ft pass to Krejci coming off the bench. Krejci got all of this one and he blew one past Mrazek to make it a 3 goal lead heading into the last 20.
With about half the period gone, Pasta got his 2nd of the night off a seam pass from Nick Foligno. Pastrnak and Uncle Nick broke into the CHI zone on a 2:1 vs Jack Johnson. Foligno drove hard to the net and sold the shot before snapping one across to Pasta for the back foot snap shot into a wide open net.
Everyone was clicking tonight and no matter who HC Jim Montgomery rolled out there, they were making it work. With time winding down in the game, Charlie Coyle held the puck in on the RW wall in the CHI zone before dishing to Charlie McAvoy at the blue line. McAvoy went D to D to his partner Matt Grzelcyk who after a few quick strides, dropped it to the rotating Taylor Hall up high. As Grz started his drive to the net, Hall corralled the puck and let it fly from a step inside the blue line. I still don’t think Mrazek has seen the shot.
The Bruins dominated a lesser team tonight and they didn’t lose focus or let their foot off the gas. When the Blackhawks were able to set up in the Bruins zone, it was mostly kept to the perimeter and the Bruins were keeping shooting lanes clear so Swayman could easily see the puck.
- The Bruins tied NHL history as just the 3rd team to ever open their season with 11 straight wins at home. The 2020-2021 Florida Panthers, the 1962-1963 Chicago Blackhawks and now your 2022-2023 Boston Bruins.
- Hampus Lindholm has now been even or a (+) in 28 straight games. Is it too early to talk Norris Trophy?
- Tomas Nosek has a career best 5gm scoring streak going. That’s for my boy Hal.
- Patrice Bergeron is now sitting at 999 career points.
Up next for the Bruins is a quick trip to Florida for a tilt with the Lightning Monday night before taking on the Panthers on Thanksgiving Eve. Then it’s back to Boston for the Friday after Thanksgiving annual matinee, this year hosting the Hurricanes.
I’m also trying to get the name “Huggy Bears ” to catch on for the goalie hug. Let me know what you think=.
And lastly, if you’re looking for holiday ideas, the team over at The Morning Skate has the hook up. We reached out to a number of hockey oriented companies and locked down some promo codes to help with holiday shopping. So if you have a hockey player or fan on your shopping list, here’s hoping that these discounts help out. You can view the blog and codes here.
The Bruins are 16-2-0. Ladies and Gentlemen… The Huggy Bears
You can find out more about Brownie in his bio down below of follow him on Twitter @Abrow28