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  • What we learned: Bruins end 2017 with another Sens veto

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    What we learned: Bruins end 2017 with another Sens veto

    Tim Rosenthal December 30, 2017

    In two meetings since their first-round series in April, the Boston Bruins proved that they are on a better path than the Ottawa Senators.

    The Bruins sit 16 points ahead of the Senators following their 5-0 win at the Canadian Tire Centre Saturday night. The victory moves the Black and Gold back to second place in the Atlantic Division.

    Here is what we learned as the Bruins carry momentum into 2018.

    Ryan Spooner becoming a difference maker at wing

    Spooner has made the most of his short stint as a winger.

    With David Krejci returning after a six-game absence, Spooner moved back to right wing – replacing Anders Bjork (healthy scratch) – with Krejci and Jake DeBrusk on the second line.

    As a center, Spooner has more responsibilities as a two-way forward. His speed and skill set are more suited at wing. The Ottawa native showcased those attributes with a two-goal effort in his hometown on Saturday.

    Spooner added a little grit as well as seen in his second goal. The 2010 second rounder blocked Ben Harpur’s shot and used his speed to pounce on the loose puck to net his second of the game to give the B’s a 3-0 second-period lead.

    “As a centerman, I don’t think I would’ve been [up high blocking a shot]; I think I would’ve been down low,” Spooner told the media about his second goal of the night. “I think my stick broke actually, or he slashed me on that, but yeah, I just tried to get to the net with it.”

    All three of Spooner’s goals have come as a winger. Not bad for a career center.

    Power play gets back on track

    The Bruins came into Ottawa having scored once in their last 14 power play attempts. With a returning Krejci, the B’s got more balance from their two power-play units and used it to their advantage against the lowly Sens.

    Both power play units found the back of the net in a 3-for-4 performance. Spooner and Krejci netted the goals on the second unit while Patrice Bergeron tipped home Torey Krug’s blast from the point to finish off an impressive night for the Bruins and their man advantage.

    “[We’d like it] if we can create competition with both units,” Cassidy told NESN’s Jack Edwards and Andy Brickley. “Obviously Bergy [Patrice Bergeron], Marshy [Brad Marchand], Pasta [David Pastrnak] and [Torey] Krug have the lion’s share of the first unit and have done a lot of the scoring, but when Krejci’s been in, his group has always been good. So, if we can get both groups clicking and dangerous, it just makes us that much better of a team.”

    The Bruins power play certainly clicked against the Sens, and it was dangerous.

    A December to remember

    In two games, the Bruins outscored the Senators, 10-1. Quite a feat considering the top line of Marchand, Bergeron and Pastrnak accounted for only one goal in the pair of contests.

    That was a small sample of an impressive 14-game stretch in December.

    The Bruins outscored opponents 49-26 – including three shutouts (two from Tuukka Rask and one by Anton Khudobin) – en route to a 10-2-2 mark during the third month of the 2017-18 campaign.

    With players healing from injuries and a youth movement sparked by Charlie McAvoy and Danton Heinen – two candidates for the Calder Trophy as the NHL’s top rookie – Boston’s depth is more-well rounded. Add Rask’s 9-0-1 mark and Khudobin’s solid month – despite a 1-2-1 record in December – and the makings are there for a potential playoff run, but that’s a story for another day.

    “It just seems like all year – even with the amount of injuries – we’ve had different guys step up and play well all the way through,” Marchand told the media postgame. “It’s tough to beat a team that has four good lines, three good D-pairings and a couple of hot goalies, so hopefully we can keep it going.”

    For a team that started the calendar year with uncertainty, the Bruins enter 2018 on a pretty clear path toward a postseason return.

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    Tim Rosenthal

    Tim Rosenthal serves as the Managing Editor of Bruins Daily. He started contributing videos to the site in 2010 before fully coming on board during the Bruins' Stanley Cup run in 2011. His bylines over the last decade have been featured on Boston.com, FoxSports.com, College Hockey News, Patch and Inside Hockey. You can follow Tim on Twitter @_TimRosenthal.


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