Weekly 3 Stars: October 19-25, 2015
In last week’s short two-game slate, we learned that one goaltender is outperforming a former Vezina Trophy winner, a tweak in the lines can do wonders and an important member of the Bruins core welcomes a new member to the family. Each of these things highlights the second installment of Bruins Daily’s Weekly 3 Stars.
*** Patrice Bergeron
Performing on one hour of sleep — after the birth of his son Zack earlier in the day — in a losing effort vs. the Flyers last Wednesday night, Patrice Bergeron continued being Patrice Bergeron. The B’s assistant captain tallied a goal and an assist on what was dubbed “the Bergeron trick” (or “the Zack trick” depending on who you talk to) on social media. Two nights later, Bergeron, who is the second leading scorer on the team with eight points (four goals and four assists), tallied an assist on the game’s first goal in Brooklyn en route to a 5-3 win for the Black and Gold over the Islanders.
With Brett Connolly heating up and his continued chemistry with Brad Marchand, Bergeron and company will look to spark the Black and Gold this week against the Coyotes, Lightning and Panthers.
** Claude’s line changes vs. Isles
In need of a spark after a rough first period Friday night, head coach Claude Julien decided to switch things up with his third and fourth lines.
The Bruins got the spark they desperately needed after Ryan Spooner, who was outmuscled by Casey Cizikas that led to the Islanders’ second goal in period one, was moved to the fourth line along with Joonas Kemppainen and Tyler Randell. That trio sparked the Black and Gold as Spooner and Kemppainen each had a goal and an assist in clutch second and third period situations.
With Spooner moving with Kemppainen and Randell, Zac Rinaldo was pushed to the third line with Chris Kelly and Jimmy Hayes. That trio pushed the physicality with strong forechecking and timely hits, which ultimately wore down the Islanders in the final 40.
At practice on Monday, Julien kept the third and fourth lines intact. We’ll see if the bottom six can build off of a solid showing in the second and third periods vs. the Isles.
* Jonas Gustavsson
I’m not buying into the notion that there’s a goaltending controversy in Boston. The No. 1 job still belongs to Tuukka Rask and even with the state of the current defense, I still see him bouncing back at some point. Still, there’s no denying that Jonas Gustavsson is playing better than Rask between the pipes right now, and for his effort against the Islanders Friday night, “The Monster” earns the first star of the week.
With the Isles pushing the tempo throughout the first period, Gustavsson gave his team a chance to win after making some clutch stops in the opening 20 minutes. The former Maple Leaf and Red Wing only saw eight shots the rest of the way, finishing with 23 saves on the night.
Gustavsson is now 2-0-0 on the season with a 2.50 goals against average and a .896 save percentage. Although those aren’t the strongest numbers in the world, they are a leg up on Rask’s 1-3-1, 4.40 GAA and .854 save percentage. Some of the stats might not be the strongest indicators, but it is something to ponder over to say the least.
The one thing that we do know, at least for the time being, is the Bruins appear to have their backup goaltending question settled.