In this edition of Boston Bruins Weekly, we will look back a the week for the first line, the power play is beginning to click, Jeremy Swayman remains hot on home ice, and more.
Big Week For the ‘Perfection Line’
Secondary scoring has been an issue again early in the season for the Bruins, but they won two of their three games in the last week largely in part to their first line. Brad Marchand had three goals and an assist, while David Pastrnak had a goal with four assists. Captain Patrice Bergeron, who has been on fire in the last two weeks, had a goal and three assists. With his two-goal performance in a 5-2 win over the New Jersey Devils on Nov. 13, Marchand recorded his 50th career multi-goal game, tying Bergeron for fifth on the franchise’s all-time list.
In the Bruins 5-2 win over the Montreal Canadiens, Marchand had an assist and ran his point-streak to seven consecutive games. In 13 games in the first month, he has eight goals and 11 assists, while turning into one of the top point producers in the league.
Bruins Power Play Clicking
To say that the Bruins’ power play early in the season has been struggling is a big understatement. After going through a dry spell, they have been clicking as of late, scoring a goal in five of their six games in the month of November.
Against the Detroit Red Wings on Nov. 4, Bergeron scored three man-advantage goals. Marchand had a power play goal against the Devils and Charlie McAvoy had one against the Canadiens. Coach Bruce Cassidy made a change this week by moving Taylor Hall to the second unit, while moving Nick Foligno to the first unit when he returned from an injury and taking Hall’s spot in front of the net. On McAvoy’s goal against Montreal, Foligno set a perfect screen in front of Sam Montembeault for the game-tying goal.
Swayman Gets Two Wins in Two Days
Barring an injury in the current NHL, it is extremely rare for a goaltender to play in back-to-back games on back-to-back days. Cassidy went with the hot hand and played Swayman on Saturday and Sunday, winning both games with consecutive 27 save performances.
In the win over the Canadiens, the Bruins’ first game in 641 days against their bitter rivals, Swayman improved to 8-0-0 in games at the TD Garden in his career with a 1.24 goals-against average (GAA) and a .945 save percentage (SV%). He has two shutouts and allowed just 10 goals. Following the game, Swayman said he will remember his first Bruins/Canadiens game for a long time.
“It’s special,” Swayman said. “You don’t really understand it until you’re on the ice playing it. Our leadership group made a point of it that this is an Original Six matchup. They don’t come in here and bully us. That was a fun game to be a part of. Definitely one I’ll remember for a long time and obviously happy to get the win.”
It was surprising to see Cassidy give Swayman the nod in both games over the weekend, but he proved to his coach and teammates that he was ready for the challenge with two strong performances. The Bruins and Canadiens will meet for a second time on Dec. 18 in Montreal.
Bruins Face Another Long Break in Schedule
Earlier this season, the Bruins started their season four days after the league’s opening night. Then they had to wait another four days before they played their second game. Now after playing 13 games in the first month of the season, the Black and Gold face a five-day break between games after beating the Canadiens.
Boston won’t resume their schedule until Saturday night with their second trip to the Wells Fargo Center to play the Philadelphia Flyers. On Oct. 20, the Flyers took advantage of several Bruins turnovers and sloppy play from the defense for a 6-3 victory. Following the game, Boston will take the short flight home and play the Calgary Flames at the TD Garden Sunday night. Goaltender Dan Vladar, who was traded to the Flames by general manager Don Sweeney after signing Linus Ullmark to a free agent contract over the summer, makes his return and it wouldn’t surprise anyone to see him start between the pipes against his former team.
Calgary also has former Bruin tough-guy and fan-favorite Milan Lucic on their roster. In 16 games this season, Lucic has four goals and six points for the Flames, who are 8-3-5. Calgary also plays Saturday night, opening the New York Islanders brand new arena, USB Arena, in what is the Islanders’ first home game of the 2021-22 season. It is also the final game of a seven-game, 11-day road trip for the Flames.
The Week Ahead
- Saturday: at Philadelphia Flyers, 7 p.m.
- Sunday: vs. Calgary Flames, 7 p.m.
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.