And thus endeth the Bruins' 5 game road swing, their longest of the season, in which they took 8 out of a possible 10 points. BOOM.
Not only that, but they managed to win the last two games by a three goal margin, which is a notable in that it's the FIRST TIME this season they've held more than a 2 goal lead. Are the Bruins rediscovering their scoring touch? Possibly, though certain players (Bergeron, Seguin) are still due for an uptick while others (looking at you, Marchand!) are cruising along with a delightful but entirely unsustainable shooting percentage.
With this win, the B's move within one point of the Habs, and still have three games in hand (Sunday's game should be REAL interesting (Michael Ryder)). Good trip, solid play tonight - I'm pretty happy, I can't lie.
+ My personal first star goes to Tuukka "Don't Eff With Me" Rask. He was stellar, stopping 36 of 37 shots and denying those pesky Isles every which way. In the third period, especially, he played a big part in keeping that two goal lead.
+ GOALS. I love goals. Three different lines chipped in, Adam McQuaid got his first of the year, and Marchand brought his (ridic) total up to 10, tying him with the likes of Patrick Kane, Jeff Carter, and Matt Moulson. Krejci's goal was gorgeous, on top of a stellar passing by Chara, Horton, and Lucic. Campbell had an empty netter. Everything was great.
+ Not to belabor the obvious, but the penalty kill is basically the greatest thing since sliced bread. The B's were 3 for 3 on the kill, which brings them to 95.1% on the season, and they have now killed 24 in a row. That's good, in case you were wondering. Also: faceoffs. They have won 57% of faceoffs this season (best in the league) and added to that tonight with Krejci, Kelly, Bergeron, and Peverley all rocking and rolling at the dot.
+ So John Tavares is really good at hockey, and the combination of Rask and good defensive play held him off the scoresheet entirely. He did have 4 shots on goal, but any time you can keep that kid from scoring, you're definitely doing something right.
- The power play, which had actually been picking up a bit of steam, went 0 for 4. I might be in the minority on this, but I thought a couple of the pps didn't look that bad - there was some good puck movement and a few quality chances - but overall, still the weakest part of the Bruins' game.
- Tyler Seguin had two assists, bringing his point total up to 12, and he's a plus-13. He's also on a 5-game point streak. And yet. That shooting % is just hanging out at around 6%, so it's probably going to go up at some point. Right? Right.
- Seems like the team is still have a liiiitle bit of trouble keeping up the pace for the whole game. Unlike in some other game situations, this one didn't end in a bunch of goals scored against, but the tendency to coast for part of the game is still there. Got to watch that, especially given the schedule over the next month.
Next up: back in Boston to face the Ottawa Senators aka the team that simply will not play like a team decimated by injury. Neat!