It has been a very busy last seven days with the Boston Bruins. In this edition of Bruins Weekly, a rookie scores his first career goal in his first career game, the Black and Gold wrap up March in impressive fashion, a veteran was honored before a game against his former team, another milestone for one of the Bruins alternate captains and more.
McLaughlin Makes Memorable NHL Debut
When Marc McLaughlin’s college career ended at Boston College, it was only a matter of time before the undrafted Massachusetts native would sign with a team. That team ended up being the Black and Gold and he made quite the impressive debut against the New Jersey Devils on March 31 at the TD Garden in an 8-1 victory for a team he grew up idolizing.
McLaughlin was slotted in on the third line with Trent Frederic and Charlie Coyle for Craig Smith who missed the game with an illness. Boston scored six second-period goals and McLaughlin scored the fifth of the goals in the period when he one-timed a pass from Frederic on a 2-on-1 for a 7-1 lead. In just over 13 minutes of ice time, McLaughlin finished with three shots on the net, half of the lines six combined shots for the game.
“It was pretty special,” said McLaughlin. “I feel like I’ve lived that moment a hundred million times down in my basement, shooting pucks or something. A dream to come here, and get in a game, and obviously being able to contribute with getting a goal is really special. Coming into it, the boys loosened me up a bit, and made me feel comfortable in the room. I feel like that went a long way, getting out there for the first time.”
McLaughlin was back in the lineup Tuesday night on the fourth line with Anton Blidh and Jack Studnicka after David Pastrnak and Frederic were injured against the Columbus Blue Jackets Monday night.
Bruins Wrap Up Impressive March
With their rout of the Devils, coach Bruce Cassidy and his team wrapped up the month of March with a 10-3-1 record. Since Jan. 1, the only team that has a better record than the Bruins’ 30-10-3 mark is the Colorado Avalanche. In the 14 games in March, Boston outscored their opponents 45-38.
Believe it or not, the six-goal second period against New Jersey is not the first time that they have scored six goals in a middle period before. They also did it on Nov. 3, 1983, against the St. Louis Blues in a 9-5 victory. Scoring those goals 39 years ago was Rick Middleton, Luc Dufour, Nevin Markwart, Mike Krushelnyski, Ray Bourque, and Bruce Crowder.
Marchand Hits 30 Goals & McAvoy Notches 40 Assists
Against the Devils and during their second-period six-goal blitz, Brad Marchand tallied two goals in the period and his second was his 30th of the season. It marked the fifth time in the last seven seasons that the Black and Gold’s first-line left-wing has hit the 30-goal mark. He finished the 2019-20 season, which was cut down to 70 games when the season was paused in March because of the coronavirus pandemic, with 28 goals, and in last season’s shortened 56-game regular season, he finished with 29.
Marchand has been suspended twice this season for a total of nine games and missed some while in COVID-19 protocols. If he had not been suspended, he might very well cold have been knocking on the door of a 40-goal season. He currently has 31 after Tuesday night’s game against the Detroit Red Wings.
Charlie McAvoy recorded his 40th and 41st assists of the season in Monday’s 3-2 overtime win over the Blue Jackets. Already well past his previous career-high of 27 assists in 2019-20, he already has a new career-high in goals this season with eight and points with 49.
Bruins Honor Foligno Before Columbus Home Game
On Saturday night, the Bruins honored veteran Nick Foligno for playing in his 1,000th career game ahead of their game against his former team, the Blue Jackets. Foligno spent nine seasons in Columbus and had 142 goals and 192 assists in 599 games.
In the pregame ceremony ahead of the 5-2 Boston win, Foligno was presented with a video tribute, a Tiffany Crystal from the NHL presented by former Bruin Johhny Bucyk, a framed collection of photos from his nine seasons with the Blue Jackets which was presented by Columbus GM Jarmo Kekalainen along with a $10,000 donation from Blue Jackets’ players and the Blue Jackets Foundation. Marchand and Patrice Bergeron presented Foligno with a Breitling watch, Bruins GM Don Sweeney presented the Silver Stick given to players who play in 1,000 games and Cam Neely presented a custom painting of Foligno in a uniform for the Ottawa Senators, Blue Jackets, and Bruins. Foligno was taken away following the game with what he was presented from not only his former team, but also his current one.
“With this group…I really care a lot about…they’ve welcomed me, they’ve welcomed my family,” said Foligno. “I know my dad got his Rolex when he played…it’s funny how he still wears it, and it’s something I’ll wear with pride knowing that the guys pitched in to get that for me. And the big thing is the Silver Stick, and that’s something I held when my dad got his, when I was a young kid. It was really heavy for me at that age, and it was still pretty heavy out there tonight.
“You don’t expect those things, I think it’s just something my family and I will appreciate. It’s a great way to remember this amazing night, and this amazing journey so far.”
Reilly Returns to the Lineup With Some Comments Ahead of Columbus Home Game
After the Bruins acquired defenseman Hampus Lindholm from the Anaheim Ducks on March 19, there was a log jam with the left-shot blueliners and someone was going to find themselves on the outside looking in. That player was Mike Reilly who was scratched for three consecutive games before returning to the lineup on March 31 against the Devils where he had an assist.
Following the Bruins’ morning skate on April 2 ahead of their game against the Blue Jackets, Reilly met with the media and said that he saw himself as an “everyday player” and will do whatever it takes to remain in the lineup. Clearly, the 28-year-old did not take kindly to being a healthy scratch for three games over a 10 day span. After being paired with newly acquired Josh Brown on the left side against the Devils, he slid over to his off-side on the right against the Blue Jackets and was paired with Derek Forbort. Playing on his off-side is something that Reilly has done in the past.
“I played it quite a bit in college and kind of sporadically throughout my pro career a little bit,” said Reilly. “Obviously, there’s some adjustments made in the neutral zone and D-to-D passes. But I think there’s definitely some advantages to it, especially in the offensive zone as well. I definitely think I can [embrace it]. If they need me to play the right side, I definitely am willing to do it. I’ve done it before a little bit. I just think with more repetitions and practice, it will just get better and better.”
Monday in Columbus, Reilly was back in the lineup with Brown on the Bruins’ third pairing, then was paired with Forbort against the Red Wings Tuesday night and finished with a rough night on a plus/minus of minus-2.
Bruins Facing Toughest Part of Current Road Trip
With NCAA Tournament taking over the TD Garden for the Frozen Four on Thursday night for the semifinals and Saturday night for the championship game, the Bruins are in the middle of a four-game road trip after winning four of five games in a recent homestand. Monday they beat the Blue Jackets in overtime 3-2 before losing Tuesday night to the Red Wings, 5-3.
The Bruins will visit the two-time defending Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning Friday night in the fourth and final meeting between the two teams. Boston has won the last two games after the Lightning won the first game in December in overtime. Sunday, the Bruins will make their second trip to face the Washington Capitals in an afternoon tilt and the Black and Gold will be looking for the season sweep.
While the Bruins are on the road, prospect Johnny Beecher and his University of Michigan teammates will play the University of Denver at 5 o’clock Thursday at the TD Garden in the first semifinal. The nightcap has Minnesota State playing the University of Minnesota at 8:30. The two winners will play in Saturday night’s championship game at 8 p.m.
The Week Ahead
- Friday: at Tampa Bay Lightning, 7 p.m.
- Sunday: at Washington Capitals, 1:30 p.m.
- Tuesday: vs. St. Louis Blues, 7 p.m.
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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.