The Boston Bruins have put their fans through the gamut of emotions already this season.
Maddening stretches of inconsistency featuring blown leads and dramatic victories have been the modus operandi on Causeway Street. One of the League’s worst home teams this season have been saved by their impressive form on the road more than once this year. Two-goal leads are no longer a sure thing. Their power play is one of the best in the NHL.
Yet through all the madness and nonsense, Boston finds themselves in a playoff spot and right in the thick of the race for an Atlantic Division title. Along the way, there have been several great moments for Bruins fans to relish in. Here’s a look at some of the most memorable from the first-half of the 2015-16 campaign.
5: Number One For 48
Acquiring young defenseman Colin Miller from Los Angeles was one of general manager Don Sweeney’s first moves as Peter Chiarelli’s successor back in the June. The rookie that came to Boston as part of the package for Milan Lucic has shown flashes of brilliance in his first NHL season.
His first NHL goal back in early November against the Dallas Stars showcased one of the many facets in Miller’s game. The man with the AHL’s hardest shot at their All-Star Game last year demonstrated his ability to pound the puck, unleashing a one-timed cannon past Stars netminder Kari Lehtonen for his first career NHL goal.
However, what gets him a spot on our list is the celebration. Leaping into the arms of Torey Krug and his incessant smiling afterwards is a sign of the youthful exuberance of a 21-year-old looking to make his name in the big time. The Bruins may have lost 5-3 but it was a night to remember for Boston’s number-48.
Four nights later, the Black and Gold saw another rookie light the lamp for his first time.
Winger Frank Vatrano had been called up from Providence after scoring 10 goals in his first 10 games to give the Bruins some extra punch up front. The Springfield native’s first NHL game came against, of all teams, against the Montreal Canadiens. In Montreal. On Hockey Night in Canada.
No pressure, right?
Well, Vatrano proved his goal-scoring prowess in the minors was no fluke, scoring his first NHL goal against the hated Habs. The University of Massachusetts product unleashed a wicked wrister that beat Montreal goaltender Mike Condon to give the Bruins the lead, at the time. With his father in attendance, it was only fitting for Vatrano to pot his first goal against Boston’s biggest rival.
3: Krug’s Crucial Save
Boston’s clash with the Toronto Maple Leafs just over a week ago was an epic clash at TD Garden.
In the third period of a 2-2 game, P.A. Parenteau found himself with a glorious chance to secure an unlikely victory. A wide-open net after Tuukka Rask was caught out of a his crease stared in the face of the Leafs’ forward. However, Bruins defenseman Torey Krug made an incredible save with his glove to deny Toronto a late go-ahead goal. The 5’9 blue liner channeled his inner Michael Ryder to rob Parenteau, preserving the tie.
Postgame, Krug did his interview in front of the goalie stalls while Rask said he would have to buy his defenseman “a juice” after his heroics. It also helped to set up our next memorable moment from the first half of the year.
2: Marchand’s Moment
In the same game, Brad Marchand thought he had scored in the third period to give Boston the lead soon after Krug’s goal-line robbery.
Unfortunately for the pesky winger, Leafs coach Mike Babcock successfully challenged the ruling due to an offside call against Marchand. It was one of those moments where Bruins fans felt through all of their dominance on the night, they would come out on the wrong end of it.
Brad Marchand's 16th goal of the season was the GWG vs. Toronto pic.twitter.com/QTkiJ6lUUc
— Weekend at Bergy's (@weekendatbergys) January 17, 2016
However, an attempted clearance from Toronto goaltender Jonathan Bernier behind his own goal fell kindly on Marchand’s stick. He promptly deposited the puck into a vacated net to give the Bruins a deserved win on home ice. After going 11 games without a goal, he celebrated by leaping into linemate Patrice Bergeron’s arms with a sense of relief that he finally got rid of the proverbial monkey on his back.
Since then, Marchand has scored in five straight games to reach the 20-goal mark for the fifth time in six seasons.
1: “42 Seconds”
How much of an impact does 42 seconds make on a team’s season? Usually, it’s not much.
However when the Bruins and Canadiens met up on December 9 at Bell Centre, it was everything. Montreal had entered the game winners of seven straight and 12 of their last 13 against Boston. It appeared to be the same old story after 40 minutes as Paul Byron’s fluky goal was the only one on the board with the B’s offense stuck in reverse.
Then, Zdeno Chara sprung Loui Eriksson on a shorthanded breakaway which he calmly slid under Condon to tie the game. Soon after, Landon Ferraro took a pass in the high slot from Ryan Spooner and fired it past the Montreal netminder to give the Bruins an unlikely lead in the space of 42 seconds. Add in a Bergeron goal for insurance and Boston finally exorcised their demons in Bleu, Blanc et Rouge.
It was their first victory against Montreal since March 2014. Since their loss, the Habs are 5-15-1 and have tumbled from first place in the Atlantic Division to outside the Eastern Conference playoff picture.
Montreal’s pain has been (for the most part) Boston’s pleasure thanks to those 42 seconds back in early December.