Playing their final game before the start of the All-Star break on Tuesday night at the TD Garden, the Boston Bruins showed some fight and came away with a win that they would not have come away with during their recent play over the last two weeks.
Trailing 2-1 entering the third period, the Bruins rallied for a 3-2 win over the Vegas Golden Knights. Boston improved to 5-7-2 on the season when trailing entering the final period. There are three takeaways from the victory that can be viewed as positive steps moving forward for Boston when they begin the final two-month push to the playoffs in their final 31 regular-season games at the end of the month.
1. Second Line Scoring
The Bruins second line of David Krejci, Charlie Coyle and Jake DeBrusk had a night that the club was hoping that they would have for a long time.
The first line of David Pastrnak, Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand was frustrated throughout the game by Vegas goalie Marc-Andre Fleury. That line fired 11 shots at Fleury, who turned aside all of them. All season long, the top line has been carrying the Bruins, but this night, the second line picked up the slack for them.
Trailing 2-1 entering the third, DeBrusk scored his 15th goal of the season to even the score. Krejci, who was questionable for the game with an upper-body injury, scored the game-winning goal with 7:42 left in the game on the rebound of a Brandon Carlo shot.
Moving forward, if the Bruins second and third lines can step up and add some scoring, they will become that much tougher heading into the playoffs. General manager Don Sweeney will be looking for scoring at the trade deadline, but sometimes the best options can come from within the team.
2. Lauzon Makes an Immediate Impact
Called up earlier in the morning before the game Tuesday, Jeremy Lauzon got his chance to get into the lineup with the defense being hit by injuries. He wasted little time in making an impact for the Bruins in his second game of the season.
Trailing 1-0 midway through the first period, Lauzon fired a slap shot from the point that found its way through a screen and into the net to even the score. Lauzon finished with a plus-two rating on the night while logging 15:38 of ice time on 22 shifts.
Playing his fourth game in five nights because of a busy Providence Bruins schedule in the American Hockey League, the 6-foot-4 and 240-pound Lauzon brought a toughness that the Bruins have missed on the blue line. The second-round pick in the 2015 Draft, he fills a void that the Bruins have been missing in front of their goalie with a very physical and tough style of hockey. Boston sent Steven Kampfer to Providence to make room on the roster for Lauzon.
3. Halak Good Enough
Jaroslav Halak has seen more rubber in the last week than he and the Bruins hoped he would see. Forced to play in five straight games after Tuukka Rask sustained a concussion on Jan. 14 against the Columbus Blue Jackets, Halak was shaky early, but recovered to make enough saves to earn the win.
For the second time in three games, Halak gave up an early goal on the first shot he saw just 1:24 into the game off the stick of Vegas forward Mark Stone. He rebounded to save the final 11 shots of the opening period and finished with 27 saves on 29 shots faced.
Halak is 2-2-1 since being forced into the net on a full-time basis with Rask being on injured reserve with his second concussion in a year. Earlier in the year, Halak was great in backing up Rask, despite being forced to play every night and seeing 147 shots in the last five games.
The Bruins hit the All-Star break and their mandatory bye week at the right time – they return to the ice Jan. 31 at the Winnipeg Jets.
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.