What an absolute meltdown in Pittsburgh tonight. The Boston Bruins came into town, weathered early pressure by the Penguins, then started throwing hay-makers (ie: goals) right in the face of the boys in Pennsylvania. Frank Vatrano recorded his first career hat trick, Patrice Bergeron banged in two beauties, and good ol’ Loui “I Have The Best Hands Around The Net” Eriksson potted one too. Oh, and Ryan Spooner had an assist, oh wait, 4 assists. This one flat out got ugly for the Penguins. 6-2 beatdown.
Here are BostonPucks.com 3 Thoughts from tonight:
1) Frank Vatrano Gets His First Career Hat Trick
The highlight of the night for sure was the Vatrano hat trick. His first goal came in the 1st period just 1:43 after the Penguins scored to take a 1-0 lead. His 2nd and 3rd goals came in the final 8 minutes of the game. One where he out hustled four, yes FOUR, Pittsburgh players in front of their own net and knocked home a loose puck:
The goal for the trick was a beautiful individual effort, following up his own rebound on an odd man rush. What else can you say? The kid loves to shoot, from everywhere, and tonight they went in from everywhere.
2) Spooner Had 4 Assists Tonight
And he did it quietly to be honest. He assisted on all three of Vatrano’s goals and also sent a pass from the half-wall on the power play down low to Loui Eriksson who tucked it five-hole. As a side note, I know Spooner was getting a lot of love on social media for “defending” Seidenberg when he got hit clean and hard by Pittsburgh’s Patrick Hornqvist in the second period. And don’t get me wrong, I’m glad he stepped up for his teammate, but the Bruins were trapped and scrambling in their own end for awhile and he seized the moment and wisely took the opportunity to get a whistle. A part of me wonders if the light bulb went off that “we need a whistle, now”.
Regardless, it was a nice moment for Spooner. He is finally rounding the corner this season. He now has 10 points in his last 6 games (3 goals, 7 assists) and looks noticeably more confident. The Bruins need this kind of depth scoring to make them harder to match up against and to also alleviate some of the pressure on the Bergeron/Krejci lines.
3) Despite Recent Success, Krejci Line Has Been Quiet
The Krejci line hasn’t been firing offensively lately. Which, to be honest, hasn’t been hurting the team that much due to the recent hot streak Brad Marchand and Ryan Spooner have been on. But it’d be nice to see them get back into the mix sooner than later.
Between the three of them (Krejci, Eriksson, Beleskey) they only have 4 goals combined in the last 6 games. That sounds nice, but 3 out of 4 goals have come from Loui Eriksson, with 2 of those coming on the power play. You’re still seeing great effort from them on special teams, including the penalty kill, but 5-on-5 as a unit they aren’t setting the world on fire by any means. It’s not hurting the Bruins right now but it’d be nice to see them get on a bit of a roll before David Pastrnak comes back and the lines get shuffled again.
- We guaranteed here at BostonPucks.com before this 5-game stretch that if the Bruins went 4-1 in those 5 games they’d make the playoffs. Right now they’re 3-0-1. Better start making plans for April.
- Bruins have gone 10-1-3 in their last 14 games. They are also the best road team in the NHL with an 11-2-2 record.
- Claude Julien should be in the running for coach of the year. I know they’ve got a ways to go, but pundits and media types wrote this roster off all summer. But we didn’t (search our summer blogs). Claude has got this team to buy into his system and what a difference it’s made since Game 1 of the season.
- Sidney Crosby is not the best player in the world. I’m sorry, but I’m really not actually. I’m just so sick of hearing it. He’s great, and can be one of the best, top 5 even. But not right now. In 31 games played this season he’s been held pointless in 17 of those games.
- Pittsburgh is so bad. I feel for new coach Mike Sullivan.
Next up? Bruins face-off against the New Jersey Devils on Sunday. 5pm.