Last night, the Boston Bruins played what seemed to be their most dominant hockey in a win over the Washington Capitals. Going into the game, the Capitals had gotten the better of the Bruins the previous game in a 3-2 shootout result. However, this time around would be anything but close, with the Bruins steam-rolling the Capitals for a 5-1 victory. The team continues to prosper, dispelling the rumors of the “aging” core, which may lead to the decline of the Bruins. Today we’ll look at three takeaways from last night’s game that show that the juggernaut we know as the Bruins aren’t ready to leave anytime soon.
It’s an All-Around Team Affair
“Pastrnak and Marchand carry the Bruins” could officially be thrown out of every hockey fan’s vocabulary. Although it is true that they are looked at to provide the most points for the team, this does not mean in any way, shape or form that the rest of the team doesn’t carry their weight. A total of 10. Yes, that’s right, 10 players posted points on the game sheet. The team simply meshes well with the perfect mix of their core and the supporting cast overachieving beyond expectations.
Whether it’s the third line providing a goal and assist, or Nick Ritchie (the former bottom-six grinder with the Anaheim Ducks) showing his newfound scoring touch, this team comes together beautifully for a combination better than bread and butter. Be sure to expect more brilliance from the Bruins’ bottom six who aren’t afraid to bruise the other team and score a goal if they must.
An Old Tandem Is a Wise Tandem
With the oldest goalie tandem currently in the league going into the season, Bruins fans were skeptical in how well their team would hold up against scoring-heavy teams like the Philadelphia Flyers and Capitals. After last night, all the doubt of what their tandem was capable of was quickly dissolved. With Tuukka Rask turning 34 in less than a week, and Jaroslav Halak turning 36 this May, it is fair to say that the Bruins goalies aren’t getting any younger.
However, that doesn’t mean that they aren’t getting better. Halak has proved on multiple occasions — but especially last night — that he is more than capable of holding off teams from scoring goals consistently. On the season, Halak has five wins, one shutout, a 2.24 goals against average, and a .913 save percentage (SV%). Halak seems to be aging like fine wine, proven by last night’s performance after holding the Capitals to one measly goal and posting a .969 SV%. The Slovakian veteran of 16 NHL seasons has shown that he is a great backup to Rask and could hold down fort while the starter rests. What an absolute bargain at just $2.25 million a year.
The Bruins were held to 25 shots last night but that didn’t stop them from getting the job done. The bruins had a goal on every five shots that were taken. This ability to convert on such few chances will prove to be lucrative come playoff time where defense is at its peak. The team also holds the lead in faceoff percentage with 56.3% win rate. The centre core seems to be constructed with the main idea of winning as many faceoffs as possible in mind. It’s even more impressive since they didn’t have to sacrifice talent to get such a good faceoff percentage, with the third and fourth lines holding their own despite the scarce amount of time they are given. This type of play is any fan’s dream. The performance from last night is foreshadowing of what this team will be capable of come playoff time.
Last night’s Bruins performance was not a one-time showing. The Bruins take on a struggling New Jersey Devils squad this Sunday at TD Garden. Expect more all-around team effort, great goaltending, and efficiency coming into Sunday’s game. The Bruins will look to snatch the top position in their division with a win over the Devils. Who do you think performed best in last night’s game?