There were bound to be some bumps in the road for the 2022-23 Boston Bruins. It just was not going to be as easy as it looked for the first half of the season. After hitting a mini bump right before the All-Star Break, they hit another one last week. It is not time to panic yet for the Bruins, but more of having some extra time to work things out before the postseason begins in mid-April.
In this edition of Bruins Weekly, a veteran archives another impressive feat, a weekend series with a divisional opponent raises some flags and more.
Marchand & DeBrusk Secure Another 20-Goal Season
When Brad Marchand skated into the left circle in the Edmonton Oilers end on March 9, he took what seemed to be a harmless wrist shot on Stuart Skinner. The puck had eyes and found its way into the back of the net for an early 1-0 Bruins lead. It was Marchand’s 20th goal of the season and it marked the 10th consecutive season and 12th time in his career that he registered a 20-goal season.
Marchand has 371 goals in the regular season and has been a 30-goal scorer five times. He has played in 57 games this season after missing the beginning of the season recovering from double-hip surgery last off-season. He has 36 assists this season and is closing in on his seventh straight season with 40 or more assists. Depending on how much he plays and rests over the final 16 games could make 40 a little more difficult to hit before the playoffs.
DeBrusk reached the 20-goal plateau for the third time in his career with a breakaway goal in the third period of the Bruins’ 5-3 loss to the Detroit Red Wings on March 12. The 14th overall pick in the 2015 Entry Draft has scored four goals since returning from a foot and hand injury on Feb. 17. Prior to his injury, he was on pace to match his career-high of 27 goals he had in 2018-19. He also took off in the second half of the 2021-22 season on the first line with Marchand Patrice Bergeron to finish with 25 goals.
Bruins Continue to Have Slow Starts
The 2022-23 Bruins have been so good this season and some things have flown under the radar, but one thing that has got some attention lately is their slow starts, something that was evident in their home-and-home weekend series with the Red Wings on March 11 and 12.
On March 11, they dug themselves a 2-0 hole on a shorthanded and power play goal in the first 4:26. After a dominating second period, the Bruins were able to tie the game and win it on a third-period Garnet Hathaway goal, 3-2. The next day in Detroit, the Black, and Gold were not as lucky as they found themselves down 4-0 late in the second period and stormed back with three goals, one in the second by Matt Grzelcyk and two in the third from David Pastrnak and Jake DeBrusk, but they were unable to get the game-winner past Ville Husso late in the game before Andrew Copp sealed the 5-3 Red Wings’ victory.
Related: Bruins’ 3 Up, 3 Down: Hathaway, Lindholm, Ullmark & More
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That trend continued against the Chicago Blackhawks on March 14 when they had seven shots in the first period, but did not register one on the net in the final seven minutes of the period. They trailed 1-0 following the period and ended up losing 6-3.
So many things have gone right for the Bruins this season, but digging themselves a deficit was bound to catch up with them. They were able to overcome it at home, but not on the road and better starts are an almost must once the playoffs begin.
Injuries Slowly Piling Up Again
Hampus Lindholm was injured late in the third period of the March 11 win over the Red Wings when he blocked a shot with his foot and missed the rematch the next day in Detroit. He did return to the lineup against the Blackhawks and scored his second goal in two games in the second period to get the Bruins on the board.
While Lindholm was able to get back in the lineup, Brandon Carlo missed the game in Chicago after getting injured against the Red Wings on March 12. Early in the game, Carlo was backchecking and lost his balance and slid backward into the boards (from ‘Bruins defenseman Brandon Carlo, a little sore after collision with boards, not in the lineup against Blackhawks,’ Boston Globe, March 14, 2023). He skated off and went to the locker room, but returned and finished the game. If it was the playoffs, then most likely Carlo would have found his way into the lineup against the Blackhawks, but with the depth, they have on defense right now, there’s no need to rush anyone back.
Bruins Week Ahead
- Thursday: at Winnipeg Jets, 8 p.m.
- Saturday: at Minnesota Wild, 2 p.m.
- Sunday: at Buffalo Sabres, 1 p.m.
- Tuesday: vs. Ottawa Senators, 7 p.m.