The Boston Bruins will don their Winter Classic uniforms for the first time since their triumphant 4-2 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks at historic Notre Dame Stadium. They’ll also have their ideal lineup intact for the second time this season.
But the Bruins, fresh off an impressive 3-2 win in Toronto Saturday night, once again face another Atlantic Division foe for the final time in the 2018-19 regular season. It comes against none other than Claude Julien and the Montreal Canadiens.
“I think it’s fun with these opportunities [to end things on a high note],” defenseman Brandon Carlo said after the team’s morning skate at Warrior Ice Arena. “You know, we went out to Toronto and finished out our last game there [with a win]. These are the kind of rivals for us because they’re in the division so it’s a lot of fun to play in these games and give them that one last punch if you can.”
That’s exactly what they did in their other regular season finales against the Sabres and Maple Leafs as the Black and Gold took three of four against their Atlantic rivals. They’ll look to do the same again after winning the last two matchups against the hated Habs in Montreal.
A healthier Bruins squad comes into Monday’s tilt having won six of their last seven contests. Not only are they getting quality performances from Tuukka Rask, but the Bruins are also seeing a secondary scoring uptick during this span. The second, third and fourth lines accounted for 15 of the team’s 24 goals over their seven-game run.
“Everyone is chipping in and that’s what you need to win hockey games,” said Patrice Bergeron, who carries a season-long two-game point skid into Monday. “As far as that’s concerned, you can’t ask for anything more than to pull your load, and that’s how you win hockey games.
Bergeron and his fellow linemates, Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak, only have one goal each in the last three games. That usually spelled trouble for the Black and Gold — at least during the first half of the season — whenever the top line was held in check.
The Bruins have come a long way since. They’ve weathered the injury bug and finally have a clean bill of health sans Joakim Nordstrom (non displaced fibula fracture). And now they’re getting production from the ‘WAK line’ (Chris Wagner, Noel Acciari and Sean Kuraly), the ‘college hockey line’ (Ryan Donato, Danton Heinen and Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson) and the second line of Jake DeBrusk, David Krejci and David Backes.
“Seems to me that there’s a lot less discussion about it and a lot less attention at it,” Backes said.
“It’s a never-ending push to continue to crave, even when we have secondary scoring…it’s never like you’ve reached a finish line. You feel like you find a process that creates a result that you desire more often than not, and finding that and sticking to it and getting back to it; that’s what’s valuable.”
The Bruins gave Bruce Cassidy and the coaching staff valuable scoring in timely moments during the last two weeks. Thus, the third-year Black and Gold bench boss won’t make any changes to his lineup for the final regular season matchup of the year with the Bleu Blanc et Rouge.
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