In this week’s edition of Bruins Weekly, Boston officially clinches their Stanley Cup playoff berth, Brandon Carlo returns to the lineup, and more.
Postseason Ticket Punched
After starting the season 10-1-2, the Bruins hit a rough patch during the middle of the season and even had to deal with their own COVID-19 shut down in mid-March. They fell down to fourth place in the MassMutual East Division and were not a lock for the postseason as the New York Rangers got hot in March and April and were on the heels of the Bruins.
Following two trades at the trade deadline by general manager Don Sweeney that acquired defensemen Mike Reilly from the Ottawa Senators and then Taylor Hall and Curtis Lazar from the Buffalo Sabres, the Bruins have played some of their best hockey of the season. Monday night, Boston clinched the final playoff spot in the division with a 3-0 win over the New Jersey Devils, their fifth consecutive postseason berth under coach Bruce Cassidy.
With four games remaining in the regular season, the Bruins still don’t know who their playoff opponent will be. They are currently in third place, one point ahead of the New York Islanders, and have one game in hand.
Carlo Returns to the Lineup
When Carlo took a hit from Tim Wilson of the Washington Capitals on March 5, he was knocked out of the lineup for three weeks with a concussion. He returned March 30 against the Devils, but two nights later, he left after the first period of a game against the Pittsburgh Penguins with what people thought was a setback with his concussion. That turned out to not be the case.
On Friday, Carlo revealed that the upper-body injury that he has been dealing with for the last month was a strained oblique he suffered against the Penguins. After missing nearly two months total, he returned to the lineup against the Devils Tuesday night and was paired with Matt Grzelcyk. Carlo played just under 21 minutes against New Jersey and led the team in shorthanded time-on-ice at 3:34. He took 29 shifts, tied for second with Charlie McAvoy, and had three shots on the net. Considering he’s been out for two months, the 6-foot-5 Carlo moved the puck well and played with confidence.
Getting Carlo back is big for the Bruins with the playoffs around the corner. A second pairing with Reilly behind McAvoy and Grzelcyk gives Boston depth on the blue line. With four games remaining in the regular season expect to see Cassidy work Carlo into the lineup to get ready for the postseason.
Another 20-Goal Season for the Captain
It is safe to say that Patrice Bergeron is settling in nicely in his first season as captain of the Bruins. In Monday’s win over the Devils, he scored his 20th goal of the season, making it eight straight seasons of at least 20 goals. In five of those eight seasons, he finished with at least 30 goals. In Tuesday night’s 4-3 overtime loss to New Jersey, he scored for the third consecutive game with a second-period power play goal. In 51 games this season, Bergeron has 25 assists to go along with his 21 goals and he leads the Bruins with a plus/minus of plus-25.
Marchand Finished April With a Bang Against Sabres
The Bruins finished the month of April tied with the Vegas Golden Knights with a league-high 11 wins. A big reason for the 11 wins in the month was the play of Brad Marchand, who scored a league-high 14 goals and he finished the month last Thursday night with a goal and an assist in a 5-2 win over the Buffalo Sabres. Marchand’s goal was an empty netter from roughly 170 feet in the Boston defensive end.
Along with his 14 goals in April, Marchand, who played in his 800th career regular-season game Monday night against the Devils, had 10 assists, four game-winning goals, and three shorthanded goals. The Bruins are playoff-bound, but who knows where they would be without their first-line wing? He won’t win the award, but there is no reason that he should not be considered for the Hart Trophy. For the season, he leads the Black and Gold with 27 goals and 36 assists and has a plus-23.
The Week Ahead
- Thursday: vs. New York Rangers, 7 p.m.
- Saturday: vs. New York Rangers, 3 p.m.
- Monday: vs. New York Islanders, 7 p.m.
- Tuesday: at Washington Capitals, 7 p.m.