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  • Bruins’ bottom six forwards stepping up in a big way

    Post Game

    Bruins’ bottom six forwards stepping up in a big way

    Chris Chirichiello December 19, 2015

    The Boston Bruins find themselves clipping at the Montreal Canadiens’ heels in the Atlantic Division. It may be because Tuukka Rask has hit his stride or Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron, David Krejci and Loui Eriksson are all healthy and playing at a very high level. But don’t overlook what the Black and Gold bottom six forwards are doing as of late as they’re stepping up in key situations.

    Friday night in Pittsburgh it was Frank Vatrano putting on a show netting a hat trick for the hometown team in the B’s 6-2 rout of the Penguins. Vatrano was the first Bruin rookie to record a hat trick since Blake Wheeler on November 6th in 2008 against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

    “He’s got some determination,” head coach Claude Julien said to reporters. “He’s a young player that’s come a long way. He just continues to get better all the time.”

    Vatrano now has five goals on the year, one behind Sidney Crosby.

    Bruins bottom six

    East Longmeadow’s own Frank Vatrano led the Bruins to a 6-2 win with his first career hat trick Friday night (Photo by Angela Spagna, Bruins Daily.

    Ryan Spooner also joined the fun on Friday night dishing out a career-high four assists while sporting a plus-3 rating. The 23-year-old now has a goal and five assists in his last two games.

    Spooner also received an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty that was uncharacteristic of the speedy forward, but it came in the defense of Dennis Seidenberg after he got hit hard by Patric Hornqvist.

    “Everybody recognized who it was,” Julien said about Spooner sticking up for his teammate. “I think he did a great thing and showed his teammates he’s going to be there for them.”

    Max Talbot, who has been back and forth between Providence and Boston all season long, scored a key goal on Wednesday night against the same Pens team. The former Penguin scored his first in a Bruins’ sweater, and it turned out to be the game-winner in a 3-0 win.

    “He led us with that first goal,” Julien said postgame on Wednesday night. “I thought he played a pretty strong game from start to finish, on the penalty kill and five-on-five. He was really reliable.”

    Jimmy Hayes has been inconsistent this season. But when he scores goals Hayes is usually using that big body to crash the net.

    Julien reiterated that when Hayes plays a big man’s game, good things will happen.

    Bruins bottom six

    Former Boston College standout Jimmy Hayes scored a key goal in Wednesday’s win over the Pens. (Photo by Joe Makarski, Bruins Daily)

    “Jimmy’s going to have success by going to the net like he did [Wednesday],” Julien said about the Dorchester native. “He’s really good at either tipping pucks or finding those loose pucks. Like you said, he’s a big man, he has to play that game. We don’t expect him to be carrying the puck up and down the ice, but in those tight areas he can be a good player. Tonight, that’s what he tried to do and had some success doing it.”

    Even Landon Ferraro is contributing on the fourth line for Julien, which gives him significant flexibility. The 24-year-old has a goal and two assists in his last five games including the game-winner in Montreal on December 9th. Since being claimed off of waivers from the Red Wings, the 2009 second round pick has seven points on three goals and four assists in 12 games with the Black and Gold.

    The Bruins will go as far as Bergeron, Krejci, Eriksson and Marchand allow them to, but with the help of the bottom six forwards as of late, the Black and Gold are on an absolute roll. If Julien can roll all four of these lines with this consistency, the B’s will be a bigger force than they already are at this moment in time.

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