Tonight the Boston Bruins took advantage of a terrible call by the refs and made the Buffalo Sabres pay for it. Brad Marchand scored his 24th goal of the season on a penalty shot in overtime to secure a 2-1 victory. Loui Eriksson banged in a tic-tac-toe beauty in the first from the David’s Krejci and Pastrnak. Sam Reinhart had the lone Sabres goal with a nice rebound finish.
Here are BostonPucks.com 3 Thoughts from the game:
1) Will Marchand Ever Stop Scoring?
With the overtime winner that’s now 9 goals in 9 games for Brad Marchand and there seems to be no end in sight to his current hot streak. We’re just going to have to start copy/pasting his post game review at this point because it’s almost automatic. He was buzzing the net all night and nearly had a couple goals earlier in the game, narrowly missing opportunities on the off wing with some one-timers. His 24th goal of the season now puts him in 6th place in the NHL goal scoring race. Last season Marchand scored 24 goals in 77 games. This year he’s already hit that mark in just 47 games. Tuesday night will be a real challenge for him to keep it going as the big and physical L.A. Kings roll into town backstopped by Jonathan Quick.
2) Matt Beleskey Hits Everything In Sight
It was fair to question how the Bruins were going to fill the physical void left by trading Milan Lucic. And it wasn’t exactly fair to expect Matt Beleskey to be Milan Lucic’s true replacement but that’s what happened. Well Beleskey continues to impress and bring the physicality. In the first period he threw a hit on Josh Gorges that would have killed an ordinary man. Throughout the remainder of the game he continued to lay big hit after big hit, finishing the game credited with a team high 4. Yes we all want to see more scoring out of Beleskey but his 25 points are just seven shy of his total last season, and only 5 points less than Lucic has this year in Los Angeles. Factor in that he had a real nice 15.2 shooting percentage last season that’s dropped to 8.2 this year and he’s just been a little snake bit. But you can’t deny the physical impact he brings to this lineup is priceless.
3) Loui Eriksson Needed That Goal
Earlier today I had written a blog about Brad Marchand earning the money that Loui wants and since the contract talks between Loui and the Bruins became public he had kind of gone cold on the stat sheet. Tonight he broke the ice with a beautiful finish on a perfect pass from David Pastrnak. It was his first goal in 11 games and just his 3rd goal in 20 games. He now has 40 points on the season. Hopefully tonight’s tally helps get him back on track offensively and it’s probably not a bad thing that his line mate Pastrnak is starting look even stronger as of late as he earns more trust from Claude Julien. If Eriksson wants to get paid top dollar he’s going to need keep putting up the points. And if the Bruins decide to move him they could potentially get a bigger return on a trade if Loui catches fire in these last couple weeks of February leading to the trade deadline.
- I’d keep all sharp objects away from Sabres goalie Robin Lehner because the penalty shot call in overtime that gift wrapped the game for Brad Marchand was garbage. What’s worse is Dennis Seidenberg going full Superman to stop a Buffalo breakaway in the 3rd period should have been a penalty shot as it was a near textbook play for one. I don’t know what’s going on the NHL this year, maybe the game really is getting too fast, but officiating this season has been pretty poor all around.
- Despite what appears to be a match up advantage favoring the Bruins at center for the second game in a row Buffalo got it done in the face off circle by winning 53% of the draws.
- The Bruins power play did not get it done again tonight but at least in this game the black n’ gold looked better on the man advantage. They had multiple opportunites and good looks at the net while displaying some real nice puck movement. Joe Morrow especially looked strong in manning the point on the second unit.
- I’ll never stop reminding people how much I pleaded all summer for the Bruins to not sign Cody Franson while others were freaking out that Don Sweeney didn’t know what he was doing. Tonight we saw more of what Sweeney knew. Franson’s terrible pass up the middle in the d-zone in the first period landed right on David Krejci’s stick. Three seconds later Loui Eriksson put in the back of the net. Franson finished a minus-1 with just 12:07 of ice time for the Sabres, which was dead last on defense and half the time of their top-3 blue liners. The lowest of any Bruins defenseman was Joe Morrow at 17:17, five minutes more than Franson.
Next up is the L.A. Kings and Milan Lucic coming to Boston on Tuesday night. It’s the first time back in the TD Garden for Looch since the trade last summer. Expect a huge ovation and a nice tribute on the jumbotron. It’s well deserved.