Some of the 17,565 in attendance at TD Garden didn’t approve of the Bruins’ trade deadline activity. But they approved the effort from their hometown team after watching them improve their point streak to 14 straight games following their 4-1 victory over the San Jose Sharks Tuesday night.
The newcomers, Marcus Johansson and Weymouth’s own Charlie Coyle (playing in his second game with the Bruins), made a good first impression in their Causeway Street debut. The Bruins, meanwhile, continued their roll and picked up right where they left off from their five-game west coast trip.
I think we’re excited to be home. We’ve been on the road for a while, so, it’s exciting to be back and in front of our crowd,” said forward Brad Marchand, who notched his 25th career shorthanded goal tying him with Rick Middleton for the most shorties in team history.
“You know, guys get up to play at home and I think just professionals in the room that expect to have a good game each and every night and hold themselves accountable. So, when you get that, you get guys that play well at home and they’re able to come back off those road trips and play at the top of their game.
Here is what we learned following Boston’s impressive win to kick off its season-long six-game homestand.
New arrivals make a good first Garden impression
Coyle and Johansson weren’t the marquee splashes in a viable trade market featuring the likes of Mark Stone, Artemi Panarin and Wayne Simmonds. But the veteran forwards gives the Bruins much-needed stability in the middle of the lineup.
Both Johansson and Coyle had breakaway attempts in their first game at TD Garden. Martin Jones made a blocker stop on Johansson’s breakaway while Coyle drew a slashing call as he made his way toward the San Jose netminder.
Coyle’s line — with David Backes and Joakim Nordstrom at opposite wings — didn’t find the scoresheet but stayed aggressive in their puck pursuit and kept the Sharks on their heels with their heavy play.
Nordstrom’s first game with his new linemates was a little different story. The Swede’s speed and creativity complimented David Krejci and Jake DeBrusk as the trio combined for six combined points and a beautiful goal in the second period.
“Yeah he’s a good player obviously and played in this league for a good amount of time as well so he’s a veteran,” DeBrusk said about his new linemate after notching his first career 20-goal season. “He made some really nice passes on some rushes that we had and I think the first couple caught both me and Krech [Krejci] by surprise but it was nice to connect on one. He also had some good looks so it was a good game all around and a good game for our team as well.”
Johansson’s long-term status on the second line is anyone’s guess once David Pastrnak returns from his thumb injury. It’ll be hard to move him away from Krejci and DeBrusk if Tuesday was anything to go by.
Having Pastrnak in the lineup makes the Bruins that much better, of course. But Bruce Cassidy doesn’t have to worry about that yet.
“Yeah, guys better be ready for the puck because he’s got good composure in the o-zone, off the rush can separate and freeze people, and he’s looking to make a play back door in those areas,” the third-year Bruins coach said about Johansson. “So, really skilled, good speed, and again, looked like those guys were reading off each other well. And it’s only game one, so hopefully it grows from there. We’ll see.”
Bruins score three in second on limping Sharks
Brad Marchand buries a shorthanded goal to give Boston a 4-1 lead.
Erik Karlsson’s exit in the second period put the Sharks in a tough spot. His return a few minutes later put them in a tougher spot.
That was San Jose’s second period in a nutshell. The Bruins took advantage with a trio of second period goals and never looked back.
Boston’s three tallies from Charlie McAvoy, DeBrusk and Marchand came 3:19 apart. Its defense was equally impressive holding a San Jose’s potent offense to a mere four shots on goal (20 total) in the middle 20 — a far cry compared to the first meeting between the two teams in Silicon Valley.
“I think we did a lot of things that allowed us to have success like reloading well and staying in front of the puck,” McAvoy said following another impressive performance (a goal, three hits and two blocked shots in 23:32 of ice time). “You know, it’s a really good team over there so to limit them to what we did, we can be proud of that.”
A stout defense and balanced scoring only help the Bruins’ chances against the NHL elite. They’ll need both again on Thursday when they welcome the league-leading Tampa Bay Lightning to Causeway Street.
Engaging in fist-a-cuffs with the 6-foot-9 Zdeno Chara is never a good idea. The enigmatic Evander Kane decided to attempt that feat, for whatever reason.
It didn’t turn out well, as expected. Kane had been chirping Chara and the Bruins all night. Kane might be upset over the location of Chara’s hit before the fist-a-cuffs. But Boston’s captain took it into his own hands in the third period in Kane’s final attempt to poke the tallest player in NHL history.
Kane’s chirping didn’t end after the fight as he mouthed off one final time toward the Bruins’ direction after the officials escorted him to the San Jose bench. The talented, yet troubling winger also has a history with Kevan Miller, who missed Tuesday’s game with an upper-body injury.
The Bruins and Sharks don’t cross paths again in the regular season. Yet, the physicality and bad blood displayed between the two teams bodes well if they renew acquaintances in June, especially with Kane being the center of attention.
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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