What we learned: Bruins stand tall in Columbus
The Boston Bruins tried to get back to their winning ways Tuesday night in Columbus with Patrice Bergeron (undisclosed) and Adam McQuaid (concussion) returning to the lineup.
Loui Eriksson scored the game-winning goal in overtime on a beautiful feed from Torey Krug while Tuukka Rask did the rest between the pipes en route to the 2-1 victory over the Blue Jackets. Eriksson has scored in every game on this road trip so far for the Black and Gold.
Here are a few things that we learned from the Bruins’ 31st victory of the season.
McQuaid’s return big for B’s
It may not be as big as the return of Bergeron, but McQuaid’s return gives the Black and Gold a little more swagger on the back end.
Prior to Alexander Wennberg converting on a first period penalty shot, McQuaid brought that edge missing from the B’s blue-line and was willing to drop the gloves to give his team a boost.
With his return, it can also spell Zdeno Chara some minutes. “Big Z” is trying to carry the load for the B’s on the back end, but as of late he looks gassed. Sunday in Detroit, the captain was on the ice for all six Red Wings’ goals which is very uncharacteristic in years past.
It will take McQuaid a little bit to get back in game shape, but it is certainly a boost for Claude Julien’s squad. The 29-year-old finished the night with 14:51 of ice time, three hits and two blocked shots.
Colin Miller needs to play
With the return of McQuaid on the back end, Colin Miller was the odd man out as he was sent back to Providence. Many fans wonder why Kevan Miller isn’t having popcorn watching the game from above the ice in a suit, but it’s clear that Julien likes his physicality.
Regardless, with Colin Miller being demoted, it is a blessing in disguise because he needs to lace up the skates each and every night. He can’t be a healthy scratch one night and play the next. He needs game action and with him heading south, he can develop for the next time he is called up to the big club.
Bergeron makes immediate impact
Obviously, the B’s received a boost when Bergeron was declared back in the line-up after missing two games. His presence was felt instantly as he tied the score at one in the first period off a great forecheck.
It’s plays like this that the Black and Gold miss when Bergeron is not on the ice or in the lineup completely, and it was evident he is needed on a nightly basis for his play in all three zones.
B’s fans can breathe easy after Bergeron missed two games after dropping the gloves with Blake Wheeler last week. After all, he played with broken ribs and a collapsed lung in the Stanley Cup Finals in 2013 so it will take a lot more than a minor injury to keep Bergeron out of the lineup for long.
Tuukka steals the show
Eriksson may have been the overtime hero, but the Black and Gold wouldn’t have had a chance without Rask standing tall. Besides allowing a penalty shot goal, he was nothing short of sensational turning aside 28 of 29 shots.
The B’s had to kill off three penalties on the night and Rask was their best penalty killer turning aside scoring chance after scoring chance from the Blue Jackets.
There were also times when Rask came up huge while the B’s were on the man advantage keeping the score tied until Eriksson eventually won it 33 seconds into overtime.
Rask notched his 21st victory of the year in one of the better games he has played in quite some time.
Marchand’s streak ends
Marchand’s goal streak may have come to an end, but the Black and Gold still found a way to win. It was the first time since January 15th that Marchand didn’t record a goal.
The “Little Ball of Hate” was still a pest on the ice with Bergeron back logging 17:38 of ice time and played just about a minute in penalty kills.
The 27-year-old will look to start a new streak as the B’s travel to Nashville Thursday night.