Before the Boston Bruins kicked off their four-game road trip out west with a 6-5 win over the Seattle Kraken on Feb. 23, general manager (GM) Don Sweeney made a surprising three-team trade. He acquired Garnet Hathaway and Dmitry Orlov from the Washington Capitals for Craig Smith and draft picks. He also got the Minnesota Wild to retain some of Orlov’s contract and sent them a draft pick.
Both of the new players made it out to Western Canada in time for the Bruins’ second game of the trip against the Vancouver Canucks on Saturday night (Feb. 25). Both players began the game on the first shift with Hathaway on the fourth line and Orlov on the third defensive pairing. Each had a hand in the Bruins’ 3-1 win, but it was the goaltending that stole the show once again for Boston. Here are three takeaways as the Black and Gold improved to 45-8-5.
Bruins Play Strong First Period
The Bruins have had mixed results as of late in the first period, but they put together one of their better opening 20 minutes against the Canucks. It started with the first shift from the fourth line of Hathaway, Tomas Nosek, and Nick Foligno and ended with Brad Marchand scoring on an excellent individual play.
In between, the Black and Gold outshot Vancouver, 20-7, and carried the play for the most part. After killing off a Derek Forbort penalty early in the period, the Bruins took advantage of the Canucks 32nd ranked penalty kill late in the period. The second unit got them on the board when Hampus Lindholm drilled a slapshot past Vancouver goalie Arturs Silovs for a 1-0 lead. Just over two minutes later, Marchand collected a pass off the boards from Jake DeBrusk, made a nice 1-on-1 move on Kyle Burroughs, and beat Silvos going side-to-side for a 2-0 lead.
Against Seattle, the Bruins dug themselves an early hole when Matty Beniers scored just 40 seconds into the game, but they were able to rebound and rally for a win. Against the Canucks, they set the tone better in the opening period.
Orlov & Hathaway Make Immediate Impact
With the Capitals, Orlov was getting top-pairing minutes and in his first game with the Bruins, coach Jim Montgomery threw him right into the fire. He led the Bruins in time on ice in the first period at 7:26, then led the defensemen in time on ice through the second period and just behind David Pastrnak for the team lead. He finished the game with 20:04 of time on ice, second for defensemen behind Charlie McAvoy.
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In the second period, he was part of the penalty kill when the Canucks were awarded two chances and overall, he played as advertised. He made simple plays, was good on defensive zone breakouts, and pinched in the offensive zone at the right time. He was on the ice for Brock Boeser’s third-period goal on a defensive breakdown, but the breakdown was by Forbort who failed to get to Boeser in front of the net while Orlov was engaged in a board battle.
Hathaway played a solid two-way game in his first game wearing the Spoked-B. He provided the sandpaper shifts on the forecheck and was physical. In the third period, the Canucks had a rush through center ice, but Hathaway broke it up in the slot with a solid back check. Late in the game and with the Bruins clinging to a one-goal lead, Hathaway, Nosek, and Foligno were on the ice for over a minute and made a big defensive zone clear. Hathaway led the line in time on ice with 11:40 in his Boston debut, including 1:18 in shorthanded time on ice.
Ullmark Steals the Show In the Third Period
As well as the Bruins played in the opening 20 minutes, the same couldn’t be said for the final 40, but they have their top goalie to thank for that. Linus Ullmark made several big saves in the third period and despite giving up Broser’s goal, he made nine saves. His two biggest ones were stopping Elias Pettersson with a save on a shot in close, then making a reactionary save on an Anthony Beauvillier shot with just over two minutes left in the game. Ullmark then saved his best play for last.
With 48 seconds left in the game and the Canucks applying pressure, Ullmark stopped a clear-in by Vancouver at the side of his net and flipped the puck the length of the ice for the first-ever goalie to score a goal in Bruins franchise history. He finished the game with a goal and 26 saves to improve 30-4-1 this season.
The Bruins put together a strong first 20 minutes, but left a lot to be desired in the final 40 and like they have done all season, they found a way to grind out a win against a young team. Halfway through the trip, Boston is perfect 2-for-2 with two tough games remaining against the Edmonton Oilers and Calgary Flames. It’s only going to get harder with a tough back-to-back.