Welcome to the latest edition of the Boston Bruins’ 3 Up, 3 Down for the 2022-23 season. This will be a weekly column released on Mondays chronicling the highs and lows of the previous seven days.
It was a quiet week for the Boston Bruins in terms of play on the ice with just two games, which were both wins on home ice to extend their season-opening winning streak at the TD Garden to 14 games in a row. There was good news on the injury front in terms of getting key pieces back in the lineup, as well as the performance of Jeremy Swayman in goal.
There was also some negative news both on and off the ice with the Black and Gold. As Boston gets ready to close out their current homestand against former coach Bruce Cassidy and the Vegas Golden Knights Monday night (Dec. 5) before hitting the road for a three-game West Coast trip, let’s take a look back at the last week for the Atlantic Division leaders who enter the week with a 20-3-0 record.
Plus One: Derek Forbort Returns From Injury
When Derek Forbort broke the middle finger on his right hand against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Nov. 1, it required surgery and a four-to-six-week recovery period. The Bruins’ medical staff, which has been extremely busy this season, cleared him to return exactly 28 days later against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Nov. 29. It was a welcoming sight for the Black and Gold in many different ways.
Most importantly, they get their top penalty-killing defenseman back for a unit that struggled in his absence. They were ranked first in the league when he left the lineup, but fell just to second when he returned after being passed by the San Jose Sharks. During his absence, Boston gave up 10 power play goals after allowing just two in 37 shorthanded situations prior to his injury. They allowed a power play goal to Steven Stamkos in the second period, but in the long run, his return should strengthen the penalty kill.
Minus One: David Pastrnak’s Point Streak Snapped
Eventually, it had to happen, but David Pastrnak’s streak of at least one point in consecutive games ended at nine against the Lightning. The Bruins picked up the win on the strength of two Taylor Hall goals and a Brad Marchand empty-netter, but Pastrnak saw his point streak end.
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During his streak, the Bruins’ leading scorer had six goals and seven assists. His biggest goal in that span was an overtime goal against the Carolina Hurricanes on Nov. 25 in a 3-2 win that set the NHL record for consecutive wins at home to begin a season at 12. It didn’t take him long to return to the scoresheet as he had two goals in the Bruins 5-1 win over the Colorado Avalanche on Dec. 3. Pastrnak has 16 goals and 18 assists in 23 games this season.
Plus Two: Jeremy Swayman’s Performance Against Tampa Bay
For the second time in eight days, the Bruins played the Lightning and for the second time, they secured a regulation win. Two goals from Hall were enough in the win, but those stood up because of the play of Swayman who got the start over a recovering Linus Ullmark.
Ullmark was injured against the Hurricanes and left in the third period. He was listed as day-to-day by Jim Montgomery, but he was cleared to backup Swayman against Tampa Bay. His best save of the 27 he made occurred in the third period. With just under seven minutes remaining, and Boston clinging to a 2-1 lead, Swayman was able to slide from left to right to make a pad save on a Corey Perry shot on a 2-on-1 that was labeled inside of the near post. Swayman improved to 5-2-0 on the season with a 2.60 goals against average (GAA) and a .902 save percentage (SV%). His performance allowed Ullmark to get an eight-day rest following his injury.
Minus Two: Bruins Place Anton Stralman on Waivers
In training camp, the Bruins were looking for help on defense with their depth and they signed Anton Stralman to a one-year contract. His best days are behind him, but he brings a lot to the table including a veteran presence on defense and in the locker room. On Nov. 28, the Bruins placed him on waivers when Forbort was cleared to return. He cleared waivers and was sent to the Providence Bruins in the American Hockey League (AHL).
Stralman has yet to report to Providence and it’s highly unlikely he will. He was spotted at Warrior Ice Arena before some practices last week, which means he’s not heading down to the AHL. Boston has been looking to trade Mike Reilly, who is currently in Providence and if they are able to do that, or even trade Craig Smith, it would open cap space to bring Stralman back. Already short on right-shot defensemen, it would be surprising to see Stralman back in Boston at some point this season.
Plus Three: Bruins Reveal Their Winter Classic Jersey
On Jan. 2, the Bruins will host the Penguins at Fenway Park in the NHL’s Annual Winter Classic. Less than a month away from the game, Boston released the uniforms that they will be wearing.
Call me crazy, but this is a sharp-looking uniform. This season the Bruins updated their retro jersey which has been a big hit and the Winter Classic jersey should also be a big hit. Looking at the Penguins jersey, those are also sharp. Which jersey do you like and what do you think about the Bruins one? Leave a comment below.
Minus Three: Jack Edwards Inserts Foot Into Mouth
During the first period of the Bruins’ win over the Lightning, play-by-play announcer Jack Edwards made some comments about Tampa Bay forward Pat Maroon. The comments were considered fat-shaming and some people took offense to them, while others did not. One day after the comments, Maroon took the high road by making a $2,000 donation to Tampa Bay Thrives, a nonprofit assisting those struggling with mental health and substance use issues by providing navigation, access, and awareness.
On Dec. 1, two days after making the comments, Edwards released a statement to Fluto Shinzawa of The Athletic.
“I am sensitive to the subject of body image and I didn’t intend to offend anyone. In the course of a two-and-a-half hour broadcast, it was a light-hearted attempt to point out that Pat Maroon, who I also regularly praise for his camaraderie with teammates through the years, uses his size to be a difficult competitor. He’s an effective player with three Stanley Cup rings — something I also made it a point to say Tuesday night. I have reached out to the Lightning to connect with Pat.”Jack Edwards (from ‘Lightning’s Pat Maroon responds to NESN broadcast mocking by turning ‘negative into a positive,’ The Athletic, Dec. 2, 2022)
Edwards is one of the most outspoken broadcasters there is in the league and sometimes his comments are not always taken well. In most cases when it’s about players, nothing comes of it, but this time Maroon took the high road and made a donation to people who need help.
After hosting the Golden Knights, the Bruins hit the road as they continue to make headlines around the league with their strong start. The upcoming week will be a challenging one with road games against the Avalanche on Dec. 7 and Arizona Coyotes on Dec. 9.
Scott Roche covers the Boston Bruins for The Hockey Writers. A frequent user of the Oxford comma. Scott has been a sports writer for 25 years for different sites and daily newspapers. Writing started out as a hobby, but it has become a passion for Scott over the years.