News of injuries, contract extensions and trades marked the morning bulletin. A 7-1 victory over the Buffalo Sabres bookended one of Boston’s busiest days of the season.
“Right away from the first couple of shifts, I saw the jump we had,” head coach Jim Montgomery said. “I was like, we’re going to be good tonight. You could just tell like we just have it.”
Newly acquired defenseman Dmitry Orlov continued his offensive tear, blasting home a one-timer to break the ice at 12:01 of the second period. The former Washington Capital quickly doubled his point production, recording a secondary assist just 1:26 later as Jakub Lauko buried a rebound past Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen on Brandon Carlo’s point shot.
The Czech line also did its thing. David Pastrnak found David Krejci in the slot, who promptly connected with Pavely Zacha in front to cap off a beautiful-looking third-period sequence for a 3-0 Boston lead.
Casey Mittelstadt ended Jeremy Swayman’s shutout bid with 4:20 remaining in regulation. Swayman faced his toughest scoring bids in the opening frame, denying multiple Sabres on grade-A chances and finishing the night with 23 saves.
Pastrnak and Patrice Bergeron added empty-net tallies during a third-period scoring outburst. Connor Clifton also joined in on the fun, finishing off a shorthanded two-on-one feed from Garnet Hathaway. Lauko put home his second of the game to cap off a flurry of a finish.
Here’s what we learned as the Bruins become the fastest team in NHL history to cross the 100-point threshold.
Orlov continues to produce
As if it hasn’t been said enough already, Orlov has one laser of a shot. It’s almost as if the longtime Capital played 11 years with someone else who can blast home a one-timer.
Orlov came to the Bruins with three goals in 43 games this season. The Russian defenseman now has three goals and five assists in his first four games with the Black and Gold.
“Lindy made a great pass…great deception,” Orlov said of his second-period tally. “You always have to be ready because they’re smooth here, and they can see the ice.”
The Bruins’ power play has struggled down the stretch, with no immediate solutions for the top unit. As far as the second unit is concerned, however, Boston has itself a deadly option from the right circle.
“Obviously, the offense has been great,” Montgomery said of Orlov. “But he ends plays in the d-zone. He’s heavy, he’s hard, and has elite vision and hands. It was just a great pickup…I don’t think Don Sweeney gets enough credit.”
Lauko collects two goals during another quality outing
Lauko has made frequent trips up and down I-95 this season. Upon each call-up, the 22-year-old rookie continues to supplement Boston’s fourth line with productive shifts.
Thursday’s two-goal outing served as Lauko’s reward for his continued reliability.
“We had a couple of chances; we were playing in their zone,” Lauko said. “After the goals, you can feel a little bit looser and you can play a little bit loose. It was obviously a much better game than the game before.”
With multiple spots opening within the Bruins’ bottom six, Lauko’s timely performances have kept him in contention to maintain his fourth-line role in the short term. Lauko would almost invariably not be a part of a healthy forward corps, but another quality outing may allow the Czech winger to stick around a little longer.
“He’s been very good for us every game he’s been called up since the first game of the year,” Montgomery said. “I think it speaks to the season and the development by the coaches and everybody down below in Providence.”
With Bertuzzi scheduled to arrive soon, the injuries continue to pile up
Tyler Bertuzzi’s services might be even more essential than originally intended.
The already injury-battered Bruins added to their list after Brad Marchand exited in the second period with a lower-body injury.
“We think it’s going to be alright,” Montgomery said. “We’re not positive yet.”
Additionally, the prognosis on Taylor Hall and Nick Foligno — both lower-body — isn’t as positive as the Bruins had initially hoped.
“They’re both key guys who have really helped us have the season we’ve had so far,” Montgomery told reporters Thursday at Warrior Ice Arena. “Hopefully the two of them can get healthy soon, but it’s not looking good.”
With Bertuzzi’s arrival, Montgomery and the coaching staff won’t have to wait much longer for reinforcement.
A highly-anticipated matchup with the New York Rangers awaits Saturday afternoon. With the injuries continuing to pile up, Bertuzzi will likely have a good opportunity to make a solid first impression with his new club.
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