Type to search

  • What we learned: Bruins overcome slow start, survive in third

    Tim Rosenthal December 23, 2022

    The weather outside was frightful. And the Boston Bruins’ final pre-holiday tilt against the struggling New Jersey Devils produced another delightful result.

    Yet, their performance in the opening 20 minutes and their survival in the third period was anything but.

    The Bruins needed Linus Ullmark to guide them through their rough patches in the first and final frames. Aside from Jack Hughes’ slick power-play tally late in the first and a pair of third-period rebound markers from Tomas Tatar and Ygor Serengovich, the second-year Boston netminder once again remained calm in net.

    As Ullmark delivered multiple timely stops — 37 in all — on the likes of Hughes and Nico Hischier, the Bruins eventually provided enough support in the second frame.

    Patrice Bergeron’s tip on Jake DeBrusk’s feed got the B’s off and running at 3:12 of the second.


    David Pastrnak wasted little time pulling ahead for good, notching his 23rd goal of the season a mere 1:22 later.

    The Czech playmaker notched Goal No. 24 5:18 later after firing a crafty top-corner shot past MacKenzie Blackwood to give the Bruins a 3-1 lead.

    DeBrusk added an insurance marker with his second point of the night after Brad Marchand created the scoring chance with his takeaway and subsequent assist.

    Fresh off their come-from-behind win over the Winnipeg Jets the night before, the Bruins needed to overcome a slow start and a frantic ending. Fatigued settled in as Jim Montgomery’s bunch struggled with turnovers and a shaky defensive setup through the final 20 minutes.

    Indeed, the Bruins had better nights. Yet, they dug deep and held off New Jersey’s comeback bid.

    Here’s what we learned following Boston’s narrow 4-3 win.

    Pastrnak is climbing up the franchise’s scoring ranks

    Alex Ovechkin wasn’t the only NHL superstar who surpassed a legend on Friday.

    Before Ovechkin took over second place from Gordie Howe on the league’s all-time goal-scoring list with his 802nd career tally, the Bruins witnessed one of their own join elite company.

    At 26 years old, Pastrnak now finds himself tied for 10th with Bobby Orr on the franchise’s all-time goal-scoring list after notching career goals No. 263 and 264.


    A reunion with fellow countryman David Krejci has Pastrnak on pace to notch his first career 50-goal season. The 2014 first-round selection now has 24 goals in 33 games.

    At this rate, Pastrnak will likely surpass Wayne Cashman and Ken Hodge on the franchise’s goal list by the end of the year. He continues to prove himself worthy of that impending big payday. The sooner GM Don Sweeney and Pastrnak’s camp can put pen to paper, the better. The last thing they want — especially after the Mitchell Miller fallout — is to see one of their elite homegrown talents donning a different sweater next season.

    The Bruins continued their middle-20 prowess.

    Friday’s four-goal outburst in the middle 20 increased their second-period total this year to 47, tied for most in the league with the Edmonton Oilers.

    The Bruins countered New Jersey’s speed with an aggressive forecheck and an assertive attacking zone presence. They turned a 1-0 deficit into a 4-1 advantage beginning with Bergeron’s 13th goal of the season.

    The quality scoring chances followed with Pastrnak converting on his two tallies and DeBrusk capping off his two-point night on a Marchand takeaway.

    “I thought we were moving our feet a lot more and putting the puck in the areas where we could get it back and play in their own zone,” Bergeron told NESN’s Adam Pellerin. “I thought we created a lot out of our forecheck and getting pucks in the slot, and we capitalized on a few of them.”

    Bergeron and company found their groove in the middle frame. They deviated from their third-period norm but came away with another two points ahead of their mini-break.

    The Bruins won’t have much practice time to work on their slow starts ahead of Tuesday’s tilt in Ottawa. They could use a needed jolt against their Atlantic Division foes before traveling back to Newark on Wednesday for the second half of another back-to-back.

    Putting more perspective on the B’s historic pre-holiday run

    They’ve hardly played their best brand of hockey over the last two weeks, but the Bruins continue to persevere to victory. Yet, it’s difficult to sustain similar success with their latest stretch of rope-a-dope performances.

    Still, Boston’s body of work before Christmas will live in the record books.

    The Bruins embarked on their best opening 33-game run in 98 years of the franchise sitting at 27-4-2 overall. They’ve yet to lose a game in regulation at TD Garden, falling short of victory only twice in 20 home games following shootout losses to Vegas and Los Angeles.

    From Pastrnak to Ullmark and DeBrusk, multiple Bruins are on pace to post career-best statistics. The individual contributions from a tight-knit team resulted in this historic early-season run.

    “We’re not getting Christmas jolly this early on,” DeBrusk said to the press. “But we’re definitely happy with our record, that’s for sure.”

    Happy, but not satisfied.

    The Bruins became the seventh different team in NHL history to post at least 56 points before Christmas, joining the Capitals (57 in 2019-20), Lightning (58 in 2018-19), Blackhawks (58 in 2013-14), Ducks (59 in 2013-14 and 60 in 2006-07), Sharks (57 in 2008-09) and Canadiens (56 in 1976-77). Only two of those teams went on to hoist the Stanley Cup — the legendary 1976-77 Habs and the Ducks in 2006-07.

    Come June, the Bruins hope to join Anaheim and Montreal in an elite and rarer list.

    Facebook Comments
    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.


    You Might also Like

    Leave a Comment