This past weekend was a good one for the Bruins. On Saturday, the B’s won what Claude Julien called the biggest game of the year on an amazing 3rd period and overtime from Brad Marchand. Tuukka was Tuukka, stopping a 3 on 1 and a Jakub Voracek breakaway in overtime alone, and Patrice Bergeron played one of the best possession games that I’ve ever seen. (I was at the game, and it was impossible to look away from him no matter where he went, because he always had a 6th sense about what was happening next.) They outshot the Flyers 37-31 and lost in shots to the Red Wings 39-30, which, all things considered, isn’t as good as we’d like from the B’s. If they’re going to be a contender, I’d like them to outshoot the Flyers a little more, especially because Matt Bartkowski and Dennis Seidenberg occasionally looked like they were trying to keep the puck in their own zone. And we would hope that they could at least keep the shot totals even against a contender like the Red Wings, although that might be partly because the Bruins were leading the entire game.
But the B’s scored both of their regulation goals against Philly on the power play and 2 of their 4 against the Wings on the PP. They did give up a Voracek goal on the PK and one to Marek Zidlicky on Sunday, but they also got 2 PK goals from Marchand and Paille Sunday.
This is one of the facets of the game that the team has been missing. Rask returned to form on Saturday and then took the day off against Detroit, and he looks to be closer and closer to the Vezina winner of last year. The team’s special teams had seriously declined from the days of springtime 2013, when they had a great PK (even better in 2011) and a servicable power play.
Pastrnak and Spooner have made both power play units better, and an important part of the Max Talbot trade is what he can do on the PK. The Bruins have their game together when there’s a man for either side off the ice, and we haven’t been able to say that for awhile. Before this past weekend, the Bruins couldn’t win a game while being significantly outshot through only 2 ways: Either puck luck or Tuukka standing on his head. Now, they have a third way, which is beating the opponents with special teams. The resurgence of the 4th line has something to do with that.