Uncle Nick Grounds the Jets

Your Boston Bruins welcomed in the white-hot Winnipeg Jets (7 wins in their last 10GP) tonight for their only visit to the TD Garden this season. Facing one of the better goalies in the NHL (and a team that plays a similar style to their own), the B’s battled back to secure the W 3-2 in their last home game before the Christmas break.

The Bruins rolled out the exact same lineup as they did vs. FLA on Monday, albeit with Jeremy Swayman manning the pipes. And, much like Monday’s game, the Bruins took the beginning of the game off and were content to let the Jets dictate the pace and tempo of the opening frame. WPG was dominating zone time, they were winning puck battles and clogging the neutral zone in order to stymie the Bruins breakouts.

Mark Scheifele put the Jets on the board with less than 2mins played as he was inexplicably left alone at the top of the crease. Cole Perfetti took advantage of a Bruins turnover in their own zone (pretty much the theme for the opening period), and found Scheifele all alone in front where he caught the puck on his backhand and then swiveled it past Swayman on the forehand for the early lead. I guess Matt Grzelcyk didn’t see Scheifele behind him?

Later in the first, Josh Morrissey ripped a clapper from the LW point that was re-directed past Swayman by Jansen Harkins. Sway almost got it, but the puck leaked through his 5-hole for the 2 goal lead for the bad guys. “Exactly like we drew it up, we got them right where we want them!” what the Bruins (probably) said during the first intermission.

Look at those clips up above. Lots of Black and Gold sweaters chasing the puck and the B’s were not gapped up in their defensive zone. The Jets had a strong fore-check that was wreaking havoc with the Bruins decision making in the early going. When the B’s did gain the WPG zone, the Jets were hard on their sticks and worked everything to the outside.

In the middle stanza, the Bruins got back to more North/South hockey and were dumping the puck deep and chasing it down in the offensive zone. In their own end, the D to D pass neutralized the fore-check pressure and created passing lanes for the Bruins to get their outlets going. I will give the Jets credit, they were very disciplined in their approach to the game, but the Bruins were able to change up their approach.

And that’s when The Hockey Gods got involved. All you have to do to appease The Hockey Gods is work hard and bring that blue collar game to Causeway Street. With about 8mins left in the period, Nick Foligno wired a hard wraparound from the LW point and with a kiss from above, the puck caromed off a stanchion, then off the post and popped to David Pastrnak alone in the slot. Pasta punched it home past a diving Connor Hellebucyk and the Bruins were on the board.

A little less than 3mins later, the Bruins tied it up on the power play when Jake DeBrusk notched his 200th career NHL point. Pasta got the puck from Hampus Lindholm at the LW dot and #88 put the puck on DeBrusk’s stick with a low hard pass. Tipped up and over Hellebucyk’s shoulder and Ladies and Gentlemen, we got a tie game.

That score held to the intermission and the teams came out in the 3rd a little tentative to start. The flow wasn’t as smooth, but the game was definitely more even balanced. There were chances at both ends, and zone time for each team was fairly even. Just before the midpoint, Uncle Nick called game. Trent Frederic kept the puck in at the LW point and pushed it to Foligno who spun it down the wall to Charlie Coyle who was coming out from behind the net. Coyle drove up the wall and found Foligno dropping down the slot. As Brick said on the NESN feed, Foligno had time to “dust it off and pick his spot, low glove side”. Dear Reader, you can mark that one down as the GWG for Foligno. With that goal, Foligno has now beaten his points total from last season in less than half the GP.

I know a lot (and I mean A LOT) of the “hockey experts” on social media are going to get on Swayman for the first period. For those of you who’ve read this far and think I’m going to jump on the Sway-bashing train with you, please go piss up a rope. On the first goal, blame the D for flying the zone and leaving Scheifele (he’s only scored 20+ goals each year for the last 8 seasons – including this one, but sure ignore him down low) all alone on the doorstep. On the second goal it was tipped through a screen and he had no chance. Trust me, I’ll call out a player when they’re not playing up to snuff (see my comments on DeBrusk last season), but Swayman played great tonight so shut up Buttercup. Nothing worse than an opinion with no facts behind it, but I guess that’s the beauty of social media.

The Bruins are back at it again tomorrow night vs. the (suddenly cooled off) New Jersey Devils. Keep an eye out (keep your heads up?) for a new podcast that should drop Saturday or Sunday. Have a lovely Christmas and please try to practice some kindness to each other.

The Huggy Bears in their natural habitat. Gotta love it.

You can read more about Brownie in his bio down below or follow him on Twitter @Abrow28

Author: Brownie

A legacy that was born on the frozen rivers in Northern Saskatchewan then later forged on the ponds of New England. Playing with the heart of a warrior and the soul of a poet; always living by the credo handed down by generations of beer-league beauties that came before him. Skate Hard - Quick Changes - Win the Parking Lot.

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