Bergeron, Rask put Bruins on their backs in win over Maple Leafs
As the Bruins continue to try and climb the Eastern Conference standings, every point is crucial in the regular season’s final week and a half. With the Toronto Maple leafs bringing a league low eight road wins into TD Garden the B’s knew anything less than two points were completely unacceptable.
After the first period saw the Bruins absolutely dominate the lowly Maple Leafs — outshooting their division rivals 19-6 — without anything to show for it, Patrice Bergeron and company couldn’t have started the second period any better.
Just 19 seconds into the middle frame, Bergeron followed up his own rebound and put home his 22nd of the season, a goal that ties him with linemate Brad Marchand for the team lead in goals.
After Bergeron’s tally got the Bruins on the board first, the Maple Leafs started to establish some chances. That’s when Tuukka Rask came in and put the B’s on his back. As the Black and Gold let the Leafs hang in the game, something they’ve done way too much lately to some of the league’s cellar dwellers, the reigning Vezina Trophy winner kept the Leafs at bay, stopping 27 of 28 shots faced.
After Rask kept the game tied at one throughout most of the second period followed by the third and overtime, Bergeron came to the aid of his goalie by scoring the lone goal of the shootout to give the Bruins a much needed win and once again putting the team on his back.
“Yeah it’s a big win, you know a big effort coming back in a character win in Detroit [Thursday night] and coming back here at home — the last home game, you know we definitely wanted to win it,” Bergeron told the media after the win.
“And it’s big points for us this time of year, and we got the extra point that we wanted. So you know there’s definitely some things that we can learn from and be better, but that being said we got the result.”
As the Bruins stay inside the playoff bubble they need their top players to step up and carry the team night in and night out. It can’t be the same guy each game. Luckily for Claude Julien’s squad, it’s been a different face of late chipping in offensively.
From Carl Soderberg’s two-point third period Thursday night to Bergeron’s regulation and shootout goals, the Bruins are getting contributions from spots up and down their lineup.
One consistent through their now five-game winning streak has been the stellar goaltending of Rask. After dropping five consecutive contests, the Finnish goalie has won four straight and has allowed just seven goals in those four games.
The Bruins know how important Rask is to their success.
“Yeah, when Tuukks [Tuukka Rask] is our best player then you know we have a good chance at winning a hockey game. He’s seeing the puck right now and it’s good,” defenseman Torey Krug said of Rask. “Guys are also committed to defense as well. It’s a combination of those two things and we’re not going to give up many goals and that’s what it takes to win hockey games right now. That’s how the Boston Bruins win hockey games, by not giving up more than a couple of goals.”
Despite seeing 28 shots compared to the 50 that was sent Leafs’ goalie James Reimer’s way, Rask still saw some difficult shots.
“He did. Sometimes we say that a lot, it’s not the quantity, it’s the quality of shots,” Julien said of Rask’s night. “I know that two-pad stack save at that one point was probably one of the biggest saves there late in the third. He had to make the saves when he needed to. Again, in that shootout it’s the same thing, left on his own and some pretty good shooters went up against him.”
With just three games left in the 2014-15 regular season — all on the road — the Bruins need as many points as they can get. Having different guys step up and carry the team on their back may just be the key to earning a ticket to the big dance known as the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Just get in. You never know what can happen from there.