The Boston Bruins found ways to lose in similar types of games over the past month. Whether they came back to tie things in regulation or blew leads late in regulation, Bruce Cassidy’s squad often found themselves only coming away with one point at most during this stretch.
They encountered another see-saw affair against a Winnipeg Jets squad playing their third game in four nights on Thursday. But this time, the Bruins, despite nearly blowing a late second-period lead, made their effort worthwhile.
With their mothers once again in attendance, the Bruins kept battling and persevered through a 5-4 victory behind Jake DeBrusk’s pair — including the game-winner — and David Pastrnak’s third hat trick of the season.
“I thought we were the better team. Obviously, [the Jets] came in here after the third and fourth nights traveling, we had to take advantage of that. They were opportunistic, they’ve got good goal-scorers; beat us one-on-one a couple of times to finish some plays,” Cassidy said postgame.
“But I thought we kept pressing it and were able to play in their end and get some good looks and came out on the right side of it. I don’t think it was a fluke by any means…”
Here’s what we learned following an entertaining back and forth affair at TD Garden.
The hats came off again for David Pastrnak
We might be witnessing one of the greatest individual seasons in the illustrious history of the Boston Bruins.
Pastrnak continued his dominance after notching his 33rd, 34th and 35th goals of the season. The crafty Czech playmaker has notched goals in a variety of ways this season, and he did so again on Thursday. Two of his goals came via his patented one-timer and the other from a slick David Krejci feed following a DeBrusk rebound.
“Obviously it’s been good. [I’m not] overthinking anything and just playing the same way,” Pastrnak said following his seventh career regular-season hat trick. “I’m not putting any pressure [on myself] or anything. I’m just playing my game.”
Pastrnak hasn’t thought twice about finding the prime scoring areas. He hasn’t hesitated to fire shots and create plays for his fellow linemates.
The 2014 first-round selection became the first Bruin to extend his point streak to 12 straight games since Phil Esposito and Bobby Orr accomplished that feat in 1974-75. He’s on pace for an astonishing 63-goal pace and could very well eclipse the 40-goal mark — last accomplished by Glen Murray in the 2002-03 season — before the All-Star break.
Jake DeBrusk’s timely streaky scoring continued
DeBrusk’s streaky scoring trait began during his junior hockey days with Swift Current and Red Deer in the WHL. For every multi-game stretch where he fails to light the lamp, DeBrusk often counters by providing timely tallies at any given moment.
The third-year Bruin lived up to that norm when he scored twice — after sitting on the bench for a good chunk of the first period — in Boston’s home win over the Buffalo Sabres on Dec. 29. He went through a four-game scoreless stretch immediately, tallying just one assist in that span.
DeBrusk, showcasing a good combination of speed and strength, snapped that four-game drought against Winnipeg. The opportunistic winger scored his first on a breakaway to give the Bruins a 3-2 lead late in the second period.
The Bruins had to answer a pair of Jets tallies in the third after Neal Ponik (countering DeBrusk’s first tally with just 7.5 seconds left in the second) and Mark Scheifele (at 7:50 of the third) gave Winnipeg the 4-3 lead. They never wavered as DeBrusk tipped Charlie McAvoy’s shot past Laurent Brossoit for the game-winner a mere 33 seconds after Pastrnak’s third of the night.
“Jake knows his value to this team. It’s an offensive role, building his 200-foot game…he makes us better when he’s winning races to pucks and that’s what he did on those goals,” Cassidy said about DeBrusk. “That’s what you need more of out of Jake, more of that second effort on pucks. That’s what we encourage Jake to do every night because he has the ability to do that.”
‘Mother luck’ remained on the Bruins’ side
The mother’s trip to Nashville provided another bonding experience for everyone involved. The Bruins’ mothers had so much fun in the Music City that they decided to stay an extra night before returning to Boston on Wednesday morning.
The entire core of Bruins’ mom’s stayed home to watch their sons take the ice on Causeway Street on Thursday. This one was a little more of a nail-biter compared to Tuesday’s win over the Predators, but the pack of mothers certainly had just as much fun watching their kids celebrate another victory.
The moms celebrated just as much on Thursday, both during the game and afterward. The crew made their way down to the Bruins’ locker room for postgame festivities to congratulate them on another job well done.
Their passionate mood resonated throughout the dressing room postgame. They didn’t leave the vicinity as the media came in for interviews, and Cindy DeBrusk — standing next to her son — even took part in a question and answer session.
“I’d love to stay,” Cindy said. “It’s been an unbelievable few days. The Bruins have treated us well and it’s precious to have time with these guys.”
The Bruins went 2-0 with their mother’s in attendance. With good ole ‘mother luck’ on their side, maybe they should keep them in Boston for the rest of the season.
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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