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.
One of the benefits of having the season the Boston Bruins are is being to withstand adversity when it hits. After having five days off, the Bruins returned from their break losing two out of three games, and in reality, they’re lucky they’re not in a three-game losing streak.
In another week of adversity, let’s fire up the latest Bruins’ 3 Up, 3 Down.
Plus One: Bruins Fourth Line Providing Spark
When the Bruins acquired Garnet Hathaway from the Washington Capitals on Feb. 23, he was slotted on the fourth line and he has been as good as they have hoped he would be. He has formed a connection with Tomas Nosek and A.J. Greer. Last week, the trio was one of, if not the best, line for the Black and Gold in three games.
After playing well against the Edmonton Oilers on March 9, the trio was the difference in a 3-2 come-from-behind win over the Detroit Red Wings on March 11. They provided energy shifts, were good in all three zones, and scored what turned out to be the game-winning goal when Hathaway put home the rebound of a Greer shot.
Minus One: Edmonton Breaks Bruins’ 10-Game Winning Streak
After a five-day break, the Bruins returned to the ice against the Oilers at the TD Garden and despite shutting down Connor McDavid and holding him to zero points, it was the depth scoring from the visitors that turned out to be the difference. After building a 2-0 lead through the first period, Boston did not put together a strong 60-minute effort and lost 3-2 when the Oilers scored two third-period goals.
“I thought we checked pretty good tonight, but I thought the Oilers were the better team,” said Montgomery. “They were good, we weren’t good enough. I thought they outplayed us, outworked us, and out-coached us.”
The loss was just the third on home ice in regulation this season, but it was one of the less-than-stellar efforts of the season by the Black and Gold.
Plus Two: Linus Ullmark
Sometimes there are games during the season when a goalie steals one for their team and that was the case for Linus Ullmark against the Red Wings. He stopped 29 of the 31 shots fired at him, but it was his work in the first period that turned out to be the difference in the victory.
His teammates were slow to start the game, but Ullmark wasn’t. He faced 15 shots in the first 20 minutes, allowing two goals in the first 4:26, one shorthanded and one on the power play, before buckling down. He had 11 saves through the first 10 minutes and 13 in the period to keep the deficit at 2-0. After facing just two shots in a dominating second period by the Bruins, he made 14 saves in the third period, two at point-blank range to keep the game tied and allow Hathaway’s goal to be the game-winner. He improved to 33-4-1 this season with a 1.89 goals-against average (GAA) and a .938 save percentage (SV%), all league highs. He is turning the Vezina Trophy race into a race for one.
Minus Two: Bruins Special Teams
Not only is the power play struggling, but now the penalty kill is in a rut. To compound matters, their power play is not only not producing, but they are allowing shorthanded goals, and Detroit over the weekend won the special teams battle 5-1 over Boston.
Related: 5 Takeaways From Bruins’ 3-2 Win vs. the Red Wings
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The Red Wings’ two goals on March 9 were a shorthanded goal from Andrew Copp and a power play goal from Alex Chiasson. One day later, Chiasson and Dylan Larkin scored on the power play and Moritz Seider scored the second Detroit shorthanded goal of the back-to-back. Both shorthanded goals were a result of the Bruins’ standing still at the offensive blueline which led to turnovers, while the penalty kill was victim to some very good puck movement by the Red Wings. Boston’s first-man-advantage unit scored one goal over the weekend, but overall it continues to be a struggle.
Plus Three: Patrice Bergeron’s Puck & Paddles Fundraiser
During their break last week, the Bruins participated in the fourth annual Pucks & Paddles put on by the Boston Bruins Foundation, Patrice Bergeron, and 98.5 The Sports Hub. The Pucks & Paddles is an afternoon of ping pong that teams up Bruins players with a partner and all the proceeds benefit The Boston Bruins Foundation and Special Olympics Massachusetts. This season’s afternoon of fun raised the highest amount of money yet with over $150,000 raised on March 7.
Minus Three: Hampus Lindholm Injury
There are some players that are irreplaceable on the Bruins roster and one of those players, Hampus Lindholm, was injured over the weekend. He missed the 5-3 loss in Detroit on Sunday (March 12) after suffering a lower-body injury blocking a shot with his foot in the previous game. In 64 games, the 29-year-old has eight goals and 34 assists and has a plus/minus of plus-40 while averaging 23:19 a night. Montgomery doesn’t think his injury is long-term, but he said the same thing about Taylor Hall.
The Bruins continue their five-game road trip this week with four games in six days. There is plenty that they have to work on and doing it on the road is going to be tough, but they have that advantage because of the season they are having and the 11-point lead in the standings on the Carolina Hurricanes for the top spot in the league.