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Sunday, November 27, 2016

Hell Freezes Over (Again): Jimmy Hayes Scores His 1st Goal for the Bruins In 2016-17


Coming in on a three-game losing streak (outscored 9-4 in the process) and with captain Zdeno Chara gleefully cheering from the press box (more on that later), the Bruins (12-10-0) desperately needed a victory on Sunday afternoon at TD Garden vs. the Lightning (13-9-1). Surprisingly enough they got it in pretty easy fashion, 4-1, with even Jimmy Hayes finding the back of the net for the home team. Boston opened up a scoreless affair with a trio of goals in the second period and capped it off with one more in the third period before Tampa Bay avoided the shutout with a Victor Hedman goal in garbage time (that deflected in off a Bruins skate).

Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask (30 saves, 12-4-0) has been superb all season but the funny part is this marked the fourth time already that he's lost a shutout with less than five minutes left in regulation (11/1 at Florida, 11/17 at Minnesota, 11/19 vs. Winnipeg). He's been by far Boston's best player and he's reclaimed his spot as one of the top goalies in the NHL but it just goes to show you how thin the margin is for the upper echelon players like himself.

Things weren't nearly as enjoyable for Lightning goaltender Ben Bishop (26 saves, 7-8-0) who fell to 4-5-3 in his career against Boston. Dominic Moore (read my feature about him in tomorrow's edition of Metro Boston!) continued to rack up goals at a crazy pace (at least for him). Colin Miller (who made his return for the 1st time in 2 weeks) chipped a puck into Tampa Bay's zone that Moore chopped out of mid-air for his sixth goal of the season at 2:24 of the second period. Ryan Spooner also assisted on Moore's goal which tied him with Brad Marchand for second on the team in goals and matched his entire total from all of last season with the Rangers.

At weekend afternoon contests, you don't expect to see much action but this game was a pleasant surprise in that regard. These teams clearly don't like each other as you could see late in the first period when lightweights Torey Krug and Nikita Kucherov fought each other. There were also plenty of skirmishes after the whistle all game long. Additionally, the Bruins potted a few pretty goals which for them is a big accomplishment in many ways. David Backes scored on a rare double deflection from Patrice Bergeron and Torey Krug at 12:30 of the second period. It was Backes' fifth goal of the season and it gave Boston a 2-0 lead.

You know that it was the Bruins' day when Hayes scored his first goal of the season at 17:33 of the second for a 3-0 Boston advantage. Not only was it his first point of the season (in 20 games!) but dating back to last season, his first goal in 36 games. Seriously, when you are a 6-foot-5 forward in the NHL how is that remotely possible? Anywho, Chara happened to be next to me in the press box at the time (waiting to go downstairs to the locker room between periods) and like when a little kid that stinks at sports does something positive, Chara started clapping like a Little League dad or soccer mom when Jimmy got the proverbial monkey off his back (props to him for celebrating by throwing said monkey to the rafters).

Even for this limited offensive group, David Pastrnak just can't stop scoring goals. He threw the puck at the net in the third period and it deflected off a Lightning player past Bishop. Krug and Marchand assisted on Pastrnak's team-leading 13th goal of the season (2nd most in the NHL behind Sidney Crosby). Pasta has 10 points (9 goals, 1 assist) in his last 10 games. Is that good?

As weeks go in the NHL, this upcoming one doesn't look too daunting on paper for the Black and Gold: they are at the Flyers (9-10-3) on Tuesday (7:30, NESN, they host the Hurricanes (8-8-4) on Thursday (7, NESN) and go to Buffalo (7-9-5) next Saturday afternoon (1, NESN)-their second of 13 matinees this season. They have been a good road team so far this season (7-5-0) and whatever shape that they're in health-wise (John-Michael Liles left in the 1st period today with what looked like a concussion), I still expect them to beat the dregs of the Eastern Conference like those three blah opponents.



Friday, November 25, 2016

Bruins Drop Their Third Straight Game as Their Goal-Scoring Has Gone Mostly Missing


Playing their third game in four nights (including a game on Thanksgiving for the 1st time since 1989) and on the second half of a back-to-back, the Bruins (11-10-0) looked predictably tired to start tonight's game vs. Calgary (10-12-1) at TD Garden. Still the Bruins got better as the time went by yet they found themselves on the wrong end of a 2-1 loss. It's been a rough week as they have lost their captain Zdeno Chara (lower-body injury) on Tuesday vs. St. Louis and now three straight contests. Boston had been 6-0-3 against Calgary in their last nine games with the last regulation loss coming way back on October 30, 2008.

Returning from injury and a rehab stint in Providence, backup goaltender Anton Khudobin (27 saves, 0-3-0) made his first start for Boston since October 22 (4-2 loss vs. Montreal) but he couldn't grab the first win by a Bruins goalie not named Tuukka Rask (11-4-0) of this entire campaign. Khudobin, Malcolm Subban and Zane McIntyre have combined to go 0-6-0 in 2016-17, is that bad? More relevant at the moment is the alarming lack of goal-scoring by the B's, after all they have been outscored 9-4 in this slide against the Blues, Senators and Flames (only 1 good team in that bunch).

It was a weird night what with former Bruins backup goaltender Chad Johnson (35 saves, 7-3-1) getting the first star of the game (he's won 5 of his last 6 starts and playing the best hockey of his NHL career) and something called Sam Bennett picking up two points. Oh and former BU star Alex Chiasson (who hadn't registered a point in 9 games) provided the game-winning goal. Did I mention that the horrorshow defensive pairing of Kevan Miller and Joe Morrow was on the ice for both Calgary goals? Me thinks that those bozos won't be together for too much longer, hopefully.

After a blocked shot in their own defensive zone, the Flames got a semi-breakaway that was finished by Bennett at 8:36 of the first period. Matt Stajan and T.J. Brodie assisted on Bennett's fifth goal of the season (his 1st point in 10 games). Boston had four of the five power plays of the night but sadly they weren't able to take advantage of any of them. Their only guy that can consistently find the back of the net this season-David Pastrnak-fittingly tied it at one at 5:55 of the third period. After sustained pressure on a power play, he was able to knock in a rebound with plenty of traffic in front. Tim Schaller and John-Michael Liles (celebrating his 34th birthday today) assisted on his team-leading 12th goal of the season (tied for 2nd most in the NHL).

Barely more than a minute later (1:10 after it to be exact), Chiasson roofed it past Khudobin after a sweet backhand no-look pass by Bennett from behind Boston's net. Flames captain Mark Giordano had the second assist on Chiasson's third goal of the season. Jimmy Hayes is still stuck on zero points in 19 games (don't ask me how that's possible) but at least he dropped the gloves tonight and got in a instant classic brawl with Maine native Garnet Hathaway. Just kidding, they spun around for what seemed like an eternity then Hayes basically gave Hathaway a rock bottom to drop him to the ice. Woo, good times.

You know that Rask will be back in net on Sunday afternoon (1, NESN) as the B's host the Lightning (13-8-1). It promises to be a pretty dead atmosphere on an NFL Sunday although the Patriots-Jets game starts at 4:25 p.m. Needless to say Boston could really use a win at this point, no matter how it transpires. Don't expect to see Chara back anytime soon although we still have no real idea what the big man is dealing with in terms of an injury. Without him in the lineup, the team hasn't been nearly the same group that they were through the first 18 games where they got off to a better than expected beginning.






Bruins Drop Their Third Straight Game as Their Goal-Scoring Has Gone Mostly Missing


Playing their third game in four nights (including a game on Thanksgiving for the 1st time since 1989) and on the second half of a back-to-back, the Bruins (11-10-0) looked predictably tired to start tonight's game vs. Calgary (10-12-1) at TD Garden. Still the Bruins got better as the time went by yet they found themselves on the wrong end of a 2-1 loss. It's been a rough week as they have lost their captain Zdeno Chara (lower-body injury) on Tuesday vs. St. Louis and now three straight contests. Boston had been 6-0-3 against Calgary in their last nine games with the last regulation loss coming way back on October 30, 2008.

Returning from injury and a rehab stint in Providence, backup goaltender Anton Khudobin (27 saves, 0-3-0) made his first start for Boston since October 22 (4-2 loss vs. Montreal) but he couldn't grab the first win by a Bruins goalie not named Tuukka Rask (11-4-0) of this entire campaign. Khudobin, Malcolm Subban and Zane McIntyre have combined to go 0-6-0 in 2016-17, is that bad? More relevant at the moment is the alarming lack of goal-scoring by the B's, after all they have been outscored 9-4 in this slide against the Blues, Senators and Flames (only 1 good team in that bunch).

It was a weird night what with former Bruins backup goaltender Chad Johnson (35 saves, 7-3-1) getting the first star of the game (he's won 5 of his last 6 starts and playing the best hockey of his NHL career) and something called Sam Bennett picking up two points. Oh and former BU star Alex Chiasson (who hadn't registered a point in 9 games) provided the game-winning goal. Did I mention that the horrorshow defensive pairing of Kevan Miller and Joe Morrow was on the ice for both Calgary goals? Me thinks that those bozos won't be together for too much longer, hopefully.

After a blocked shot in their own defensive zone, the Flames got a semi-breakaway that was finished by Bennett at 8:36 of the first period. Matt Stajan and T.J. Brodie assisted on Bennett's fifth goal of the season (his 1st point in 10 games). Boston had four of the five power plays of the night but sadly they weren't able to take advantage of any of them. Their only guy that can consistently find the back of the net this season-David Pastrnak-fittingly tied it at one at 5:55 of the third period. After sustained pressure on a power play, he was able to knock in a rebound with plenty of traffic in front. Tim Schaller and John-Michael Liles (celebrating his 34th birthday today) assisted on his team-leading 12th goal of the season (tied for 2nd most in the NHL).

Barely more than a minute later (1:10 after it to be exact), Chiasson roofed it past Khudobin after a sweet backhand no-look pass by Bennett from behind Boston's net. Flames captain Mark Giordano had the second assist on Chiasson's third goal of the season. Jimmy Hayes is still stuck on zero points in 19 games (don't ask me how that's possible) but at least he dropped the gloves tonight and got in a instant classic brawl with Maine native Garnet Hathaway. Just kidding, they spun around for what seemed like an eternity then Hayes basically gave Hathaway a rock bottom to drop him to the ice. Woo, good times.

You know that Rask will be back in net on Sunday afternoon (1, NESN) as the B's host the Lightning (13-8-1). It promises to be a pretty dead atmosphere on an NFL Sunday although the Patriots-Jets game starts at 4:25 p.m. Needless to say Boston could really use a win at this point, no matter how it transpires. Don't expect to see Chara back anytime soon although we still have no real idea what the big man is dealing with in terms of an injury. Without him in the lineup, the team hasn't been nearly the same group that they were through the first 18 games where they got off to a better than expected beginning.






Bruins Drop Their Third Straight Game as Their Goal-Scoring Has Gone Mostly Missing


Playing their third game in four nights (including a game on Thanksgiving for the 1st time since 1989) and on the second half of a back-to-back, the Bruins (11-10-0) looked predictably tired to start tonight's game vs. Calgary (10-12-1) at TD Garden. Still the Bruins got better as the time went by yet they found themselves on the wrong end of a 2-1 loss. It's been a rough week as they have lost their captain Zdeno Chara (lower-body injury) on Tuesday vs. St. Louis and now three straight contests. Boston had been 6-0-3 against Calgary in their last nine games with the last regulation loss coming way back on October 30, 2008.

Returning from injury and a rehab stint in Providence, backup goaltender Anton Khudobin (27 saves, 0-3-0) made his first start for Boston since October 22 (4-2 loss vs. Montreal) but he couldn't grab the first win by a Bruins goalie not named Tuukka Rask (11-4-0) of this entire campaign. Khudobin, Malcolm Subban and Zane McIntyre have combined to go 0-6-0 in 2016-17, is that bad? More relevant at the moment is the alarming lack of goal-scoring by the B's, after all they have been outscored 9-4 in this slide against the Blues, Senators and Flames (only 1 good team in that bunch).

It was a weird night what with former Bruins backup goaltender Chad Johnson (35 saves, 7-3-1) getting the first star of the game (he's won 5 of his last 6 starts and playing the best hockey of his NHL career) and something called Sam Bennett picking up two points. Oh and former BU star Alex Chiasson (who hadn't registered a point in 9 games) provided the game-winning goal. Did I mention that the horrorshow defensive pairing of Kevan Miller and Joe Morrow was on the ice for both Calgary goals? Me thinks that those bozos won't be together for too much longer, hopefully.

After a blocked shot in their own defensive zone, the Flames got a semi-breakaway that was finished by Bennett at 8:36 of the first period. Matt Stajan and T.J. Brodie assisted on Bennett's fifth goal of the season (his 1st point in 10 games). Boston had four of the five power plays of the night but sadly they weren't able to take advantage of any of them. Their only guy that can consistently find the back of the net this season-David Pastrnak-fittingly tied it at one at 5:55 of the third period. After sustained pressure on a power play, he was able to knock in a rebound with plenty of traffic in front. Tim Schaller and John-Michael Liles (celebrating his 34th birthday today) assisted on his team-leading 12th goal of the season (tied for 2nd most in the NHL).

Barely more than a minute later (1:10 after it to be exact), Chiasson roofed it past Khudobin after a sweet backhand no-look pass by Bennett from behind Boston's net. Flames captain Mark Giordano had the second assist on Chiasson's third goal of the season. Jimmy Hayes is still stuck on zero points in 19 games (don't ask me how that's possible) but at least he dropped the gloves tonight and got in a instant classic brawl with Maine native Garnet Hathaway. Just kidding, they spun around for what seemed like an eternity then Hayes basically gave Hathaway a rock bottom to drop him to the ice. Woo, good times.

You know that Rask will be back in net on Sunday afternoon (1, NESN) as the B's host the Lightning (13-8-1). It promises to be a pretty dead atmosphere on an NFL Sunday although the Patriots-Jets game starts at 4:25 p.m. Needless to say Boston could really use a win at this point, no matter how it transpires. Don't expect to see Chara back anytime soon although we still have no real idea what the big man is dealing with in terms of an injury. Without him in the lineup, the team hasn't been nearly the same group that they were through the first 18 games where they got off to a better than expected beginning.






Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Bruins Fall to Their Western Conference Clones-the Blues-and Lose Chara to an Undisclosed Injury


Former Blues captain David Backes met his old NHL team for the first time this evening as his Bruins (11-8-0) fell 4-2 to St. Louis (11-6-3) at TD Garden. Boston mustered 41 shots on goal but the combination of Jake Allen's quality start (39 saves) and a lack of scoring touch by the B's meant that it was a frustrating night for the Black and Gold. More worrisome, Bruins captain Zdeno Chara left after skating only one shift in the second period and never returned (head coach Claude Julien had no injury update after the game). Apparently he was hit by Jaden Schwartz which might have caused the departure but honestly, I didn't see it. So I guess we'll have to hold our breath on that until we hear more information from either the Bruins or more likely the most connected NHL reporters (Bob McKenzie, Darren Dreger, Pierre LeBrun, etc).

As is usually the case with these very identical clubs, they combined to produce an entertaining tilt. Backes actually gave Boston a 1-0 lead at 7:44 of the first period with a power-play goal. He tipped in Torey Krug's shot from the point and the puck just got over the line (under Allen's leg pads). Backes' fourth goal of the season was also assisted by David Krejci who now has seven points (1 goal, 6 assists) in his last six games. There were two noteworthy milestones on that tally: it was the 20,000 career goal in Bruins franchise history (only Montreal had reached that before them) and the 100th career NHL assist for Krug.

Both times that the B's took a lead in this game, the Blues responded like you would expect from a good team (despite their 2-5-1 road record coming in). Jori Lehtera tied it at one at 3:23 of the second period. He tipped in Colton Parayko's bullet past Tuukka Rask (24 saves) with Vladimir Tarasenko notching the other helper. Who has been a more pleasant surprise early on this season for the Bruins (given their respective expectations) than Dominic Moore? The former Harvard star made it 2-1 Boston at 8:59 with a gorgeous shorthanded strike. Riley Nash found him for a breakaway and he was able to lift a forehand shot over Allen's glove for his fifth goal of the season (he had 6 all of last season) and second shorthanded marker (which ties a career-high from 2 years ago with the Rangers).

Rask wasn't his normally locked in self from 2016-17 as he let up a pair of juicy rebounds which wouldn't you know it both came back to bite his team (no pun intended). Robert Bortuzzo tied it at two just five minutes later as Rask basically handed the puck right to him and the clunky defenseman was able to slide in a backhander. Patrik Berglund and Parayko assisted on Bortuzzo's first goal of the season. 2:12 after that, Paul Stasny scored what turned out to be the game-winning goal as once again Rask laid a puck out in a dangerous area on a silver Thanksgiving serving tray. Stasny's fifth goal of the season was assisted by Jaden Schwartz and the huge bust known as Nail Yakupov.

Boston came out with renewed energy in the third period and outshot St. Louis 17-7 but they couldn't find that all-important tying goal on Allen. Rask was pulled with 1:48 left in regulation and a face-off in the Blues' defensive zone. Lehtera put it in the win column via an empty-net goal at 18:44. David Perron and Berglund had the assists on Lehtera's second goal of the contest.

It promises to be a weird couple days for the Bruins, especially for the few Americans on the team, as they have a meeting with the Senators (11-7-1) on Thursday night (7:30, NESN). I've been lucky enough to cover the B's for five seasons and obviously I am a life-long fan but I can't ever recall them playing on Thanksgiving. The usual script is flipped too in the sense that they usually have the afternoon matinee on Black Friday at the Garden with the Celtics getting the nightcap. This time around, the Celts host San Antonio in the first game (1, CSN) followed by the Bruins hosting the Flames (8-12-1) that night (7:30, NESN).

I probably won't write anything until Friday so Happy Thanksgiving everybody, hope you have a wonderful day with your family and friends!



Saturday, November 19, 2016

Bruins Skate to Just About the Easiest 4-1 Win that You've Ever Seen, Apparently Against the Jets


I'm told that Saturday night there were two NHL teams competing at TD Garden but from what I saw there was only one. Boston (11-7-0) beat Winnipeg (9-9-2) 4-1 which doesn't even do it justice since the Jets managed only 12 shots on goal (!) for the entire contest. That was the fewest that the B's had allowed since Nov. 24, 2001 (Toronto) and the fewest that an opponent had here since way back on Jan. 12, 1981 (Minnesota). We'll forgive Tuukka Rask (11 saves, 11-2-0) for not getting a shutout since he probably fell asleep in the crease multiple times. Boston picked up its third straight win at home which seems like way more than that if you remember how wretched they were at the Garden last season.

Boston outshot Winnipeg 14-4 in the first period and even had a two-man advantage for 33 seconds but the Jets escaped with a scoreless frame. They weren't so lucky in the second period as the Bruins blitzed them with three goals. Matt Beleskey scored on a one-timer (his 2nd goal of the season) from Joe Morrow and Dominic Moore at 2:01. Brad Marchand notched his sixth goal of the season at 11:37 after captain Zdeno Chara hit him with a perfect stretch pass off the boards. Marchand lost the puck for a split-second as he went from forehand to his backhand around former Bruin Michael Hutchinson (34 saves) but he was able to recover in time to sweep it in the corner of the net. The B's put it out of reach with Patrice Bergeron's power play goal at 17:00. The one-timer was Bergeron's third goal of the season (snapping a 6-game scoreless stretch) and it came on another 5-on-3 advantage, assisted by David Krejci and Chara.

The Jets hardly ever showed any life, as evidenced by the fact that they didn't record their 10th shot on goal until there was less than nine minutes left in regulation. They were somehow fooled again by another stretch pass as Torey Krug found Tim Schaller at 1:41 of the third period for a 4-0 lead. Schaller's third goal of the season was also assisted by Austin Czarnik. If Rask could have recorded another shutout, he would have been tied with Minnesota's Devan Dubnyk for the NHL lead. Instead, he'll have to settle for tied with Montreal's Carey Price for the most wins in the league. Your boy Adam Lowry displayed a sliver of pride for Winnipeg as he banged in a loose puck at 17:20. Rookie phenom Patrik Laine and Toby Enstrom each assisted on Lowry's fifth goal of the season.

The B's got back over .500 at home this season (4-3-0) and they'll hope to keep that rolling as they host the Blues (10-6-3) on Tuesday (7, NESN), the Flames (7-11-1) on Friday (7:30, NESN) and the Lightning (12-6-1) in next Sunday's matinee (1, NESN). Keep in mind between passing out in food coma glee on Thanksgiving night that the Bruins will be in Ottawa (10-7-1) that evening (7:30, NESN) to entertain us all. What says Happy Thanksgiving more than a game against the Senators? The meetings with St. Louis are always rare but usually solid (since they play very similar styles) plus this will be the first time that former Blues captain David Backes plays against his old team so that'll be interesting.




Thursday, November 10, 2016

Did You Really Think That the Bruins Would Lose at TD Garden During Military Appreciation Night?


I think that we all could get used to this. For the second game in a row, Boston (8-6) notched an easy two points at home. This evening was Military Appreciation Night at TD Garden-always one of the best events of the entire season-so it was great to see the Bruins play well in front of so many deserving veterans and their wonderful families. Columbus (6-4-2) actually scored first but the B's rattled off the next five goals (including 4 in the first period in a span of 4:01) to roll to a 5-2 win.

Coming off a tough 3-2 loss at Montreal (12-1-1) on Tuesday, I'm going to pretend that nothing else notable happened that night in a certain presidential election, Tuukka Rask (15 saves, 8-1-0) was back in goal and life was good for the Black and Gold. The same couldn't be said for poor Sergei Bobrovsky (5 saves) who gave up four goals before he was pulled just 12:48 into the proceedings. The Blue Jackets surprisingly boast the top-ranked power play in the NHL and No. 2 penalty kill unit so the Bruins were happy to keep it mostly to a 5-on-5 contest with only three penalties called on the home team all game.

Alexander Wennberg stole the puck along the boards in Boston's end and fed Nick Foligno for Columbus' opening tally at 2:29. Foligno's goal was his fifth of the season and Wennberg is now the NHL leader with 13 assists (who knew?). Torey Krug finally broke his dry spell with his first goal of the season at 8:47 which tied things at one. His shot from the point deflected off Blue Jackets defenseman Ryan Murray and it was assisted by the Davids (Krejci and Backes). 1:08 after that, Matt Beleskey also got off the goal-scoring schneid as his linemate Austin Czarnik capitalized on a Columbus turnover and fed him for a slap shot that Bobrovsky could only get a piece of.

The rookie Czarnik's speed was on full display as he scored his second NHL goal at 12:24. Beleskey had chipped it in the zone to Riley Nash who hit Czarnik for a 2-on-1 one-timer that he buried. 24 seconds after that, PC's Tim Schaller roofed a sweet backhander from in close (that had to be reviewed since it hit the camera in the net and popped out) which ended Bobrovsky's night for good. Dominic Moore (who was 13-3 on faceoffs as well) assisted on Schaller's second goal as a Bruin.

Backes made it 5-1 in favor of the B's in the second period at 11:51. His one-timer (his 3rd goal of the season) was assisted by Krejci and Ryan Spooner. The last Blue Jackets goal was something straight out of the soccer world as Colin Miller managed to stickhandle the puck right past Rask and into his own net at 8:40 of the third period. Undoubtedly, Sam Gagner was credited with the easiest goal (his 4th of the season) of his life.

Stop me if you've heard this before but the Bruins are headed back out on the road, a three-game road trip to be exact. This means that 11 of their first 17 games will be away from home. The good news is that in this limited sample size so far, they still look like a decent road team (5-3-0) while their next two contests this weekend are against the worst squads in the Western Conference: Arizona and Colorado are both 5-7-0. They are at the Coyotes on Saturday night (8, NESN) and then the Avalanche on Sunday night (7, NESN) before going to Minnesota (7-4-1) next Thursday (8, NESN). Their next home game isn't until Saturday, November 19 (7, NESN) vs. Winnipeg (6-7-1).


Monday, November 7, 2016

Between Tough Games (Rangers & Canadiens), B's Take Care of Business Against the Depleted Sabres


Coming off a dispiriting 5-2 loss to the Rangers (10-3-0) on Saturday, the Bruins (7-5-0) needed an easy win tonight and that's exactly what they got as they disposed of the shorthanded Sabres (5-5-2) 4-0 at TD Garden. With the Canadiens (10-1-1) looming tomorrow night, I'm not quite sure why he started but Tuukka Rask (7-1-0) made 32 mostly routine saves for his second shutout of the season and 32nd of his NHL career (moving him ahead of Tim Thomas for 3rd place in franchise history). Meanwhile head coach Claude Julien continued to extend his franchise record by grabbing his 400th win as Bruins head coach.

There were a couple very promising developments for the B's besides the two points: their power play which had been wretched all season (3-for-38) but this evening they went 3-for-8. Also, David Krejci and Riley Nash scored their first goals of the season, Matt Beleskey had an assist (his 1st point of the season) and a fight while David Pastrnak (1 goal, 1 assist) continued to score at an amazing clip (12 points in 10 games). Minus probably their three best players-BU's Jack Eichel, Evander Kane and Zach Bogosian-Buffalo was not nearly at full strength.

Dominic Moore somehow completely missed the net when he was wide open for a few seconds right in front of it so the game was scoreless after one period. The action thankfully picked up in the second period as the Bruins crafted possibly their best frame of this young season. They blitzed Buffalo with three goals in a less than 10-minute span. Brad Marchand's shot squeaked by Robin Lehner (38 saves) at 5:44 for his fifth goal of the season (4-game point streak), assisted by Pastrnak and Beleskey. Coming off hip surgery over the summer, Krejci has predictably started off slowly so it was nice to see him hammer in a one-timer from Torey Krug and Ryan Spooner at 10:12 for another power-play goal (Boston was 5-on-3 for 2:34). For a second it looked like Beleskey finally got a goal of his own but Nash's centering pass actually bounced in off a Sabres skate, that made it 3-0 Bruins at 14:41.

After being a healthy scratch last Thursday at Tampa Bay, Beleskey has responded with two good performances in a row capped off by his best game thus far (clearly not saying much). You can never question his toughness or desire to win as he stood up for Marchand after the latter was cross-checked into Buffalo's net. Beleskey dropped the gloves for a short scrap with some guy named Derek Grant. Less than a minute later, Pastrnak put it on ice (terrible pun totally intended) by putting in a juicy rebound on the doorstep. It was his team-leading eighth goal of the season (he's scored a goal in 4 straight games) with rookie Austin Czarnik picking up his first career NHL assist and John-Michael Liles notching his third helper of the season.

The Canadiens have been playing like the best team in the NHL, except from their bizarre 10-0 loss to Columbus (5-3-2) on Friday, and we all know how much the B's typically struggle against their most heated rival. It feels like Boston bungled things by having Rask start tonight since he's dealing with an injury (hamstring, groin?) that has already caused him to miss multiple games this campaign. Would they dare stick rookie Zane McIntyre in goal for only his second NHL start at the Bell Centre? Either way, it's probably a moot point since the Bruins seemingly never play well up there. If you need an escape from the relentless presidential election coverage tomorrow, check out B's-Habs starting at 7:30 p.m. on NESN. No matter your political beliefs, hating on the loathsome Canadiens will never go out of style.