Tuukka Rask earned his 4th shutout of the season in 3-0 win over Pittsburgh on Wednesday night.  The shutout ties Rask for the league lead and the B’s now move into 2nd place in the Atlantic Division with two games in hand.  

The Bruins had a strong effort tonight.  Even though the Pittsburgh Penguins out played Boston in the second period the Bruins came out in the 3rd frame and took the game over again.  Max Talbot, Jimmy Hayes and Ryan Spooner (late game empty netter on the power play) all lit the lamp tonight.  

Here are BostonPucks.com’s 3 thoughts on the game:

1. Jimmy Hayes Had His Best Effort In Awhile Tonight

In the 2nd period Jimmy Hayes went hard to the net and got his stick on a Ryan Spooner pass to score his 5th goal of the season.  He was moving his feet and seemed to have more confidence than usual tonight when he was carrying the puck.  He also had a few other chances as well, including one in the slot shortly after his goal, but Hayes shot on Zatkoff went just wide.  It was nice to see Hayes was much more involved in the game and his efforts were rewarded with 2 points (1 goal, 1 assist).  His lone goal is exactly what he needs to do more and what he does best with his big frame; go hard to the net and wreak havoc.

2.  Spooner’s Game Is Rounding Into Form

Ryan Spooner had another 2 point night.  Just in the past 5 games he has racked up 6 points (3 goals and 3 assists).  However it is not just the points that he is putting up, but it looks like he has a bit more jump in his step and it seems like he is playing better in the defensive end.  Although I do not agree with Claude starting him in overtime against Edmonton on Monday, it shows that Spooner is gaining the trust of his coach.  The speed that Spooner has shown the past handful of games is the same speed he showed at the end of last year when his game was at its best.  If the Bruins are going to be able to compete with the better teams in the NHL they need the scoring depth that they have been getting from the third and fourth lines.

3. Mike Sullivan Is In A No-Win Situation

Yes, the Penguins have some key players out with injuries, such as number one defenseman Kris Letang and starting goalie Marc-Andre Fleury.  They also lost one of their leaders, Pascal Dupuis, who recently retired due to his continued blood clot issues.  Not to mention that the so called “Best Player in the World” Sidney Crosby is playing uninspired hockey.  But new Penguins coach Mike Sullivan inherited a dumpster fire.  

I like Mike Sullivan and I hope he is successful but he is not in a good situation with the Pittsburgh Penguins.  Even if the injured players were healthy they were always going to be a bubble team.  I am just not sure this was the right situation for Mike Sullivan to get back into the NHL as a head coach.  This roster is seriously flawed.  It would not surprise me if Penguins GM Jim Rutherford is fired at the end of the season.  And a new GM usually means a new coach.  I hope Sullivan does a good enough job for there to be interest in him for other positions because this Penguins team is a sinking ship.

****Extras****

  • I am not sure why the Bruins called up Alex Khokhlachev to have him play the left wing on the 4th line.  It’s not a role suited for his type of game.  These are the type of chances that he was talking about when he popped off during training camp about not getting a fair shot with the Bruins.  He only logged 7:55 of 4th line ice-time. 
  • With the shutout tonight Tuukka continues his hot play.  In his last four starts he’s stopped 109 of 111 shots for a .981 save percentage.  He’s just straight on fire.  We have said all along that Tuukka needs to be the team MVP for the Bruins to make the playoffs and he is showing that he is right now.
  • Although they did not factor in on the scoring Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand were great tonight.  Marchand continues to show his high level of skill and Bergeron is his steady self.  If these two continue this all year it will be a big year for both of them and most likely make Brad Marchand a lot of money when his next contract comes up.

Next up, Pittsburgh again. Friday @ 7pm.