The Boston Bruins find themselves on a nice little five game win streak, with their two most recent wins coming against the first place Washington Capitals and the last place Buffalo Sabres. They topped the Capitals in a spirited, hard-fought 6-3 victory at the TD Garden Sunday afternoon and defeated the Sabres 2-0 Tuesday night in Buffalo. Both games were largely important in the Bruins quest to move up in the standings as the playoffs are quickly approaching.
Entering Sunday’s bout with Washington, the Bruins were looking to exact revenge after getting shellacked by the Capitals 8-1 exactly one week prior. The Bruins came out ready to play, laying hits and playing physical right out the gate. The scoring was opened by none other than Patrice Bergeron, who scored a backhander off of a Washington turnover right in front of the net, largely forced by a strong forecheck from Brad Marchand. David Krejci promptly netted goal number two less than two minutes later off of a beautiful feed from Connor Clifton from the corner. The Bruins seemed to be running away with the first period and looked to carry the shutout into the second, until Washington’s T.J. Oshie was left uncovered on the rush as he put in the first goal of the game for the Caps with 10 seconds left in the first.
Period two brought 5 combined goals in what was a highly eventful period. The Capitals took momentum from their late period goal and scored the first two goals of the period. T.J. Oshie scored his second goal of the game to tie it up at 2-2 before Anthony Mantha scored the tiebreaker at the time making it 3-2 Capitals at about five minutes into the period. The Bruins stormed right back into the game however with the next three goals coming from Marchand, and then Krejci and Bergeron who both scored their second goals of the game. Marchand would score the next and final goal of the game, an empty netter to seal the Bruins 6-3 victory, which meant that Bergeron, Marchand, and Krejci each finished with two goals on the day.
Their next victory came Tuesday evening against the bottom-feeding Sabres. Brad Marchand and Connor Clifton scored the two goals of the night with the former coming in the first and the latter in the second. The Bruins were in cruise-control for most of the game, with Buffalo never really threatening to make a charge back into the game. Tuuka Rask had a phenomenal game, including this flurry of saves that prevented Buffalo from finding the back of the net.
The Bruins win on Sunday was similar to the team’s victories over the New York Islanders last week. A complete team victory with solid play from every unit on the team. The Capitals play a similar style of hockey as the Islanders and the Bruins showed they were up to the task of playing a physical brand of hockey. Once again it was a good sign that the Bruins are at the very least built to compete in the playoffs.
Playing bad teams like Buffalo in the middle of a winning streak can be something of a trap for a good team like Boston, but the Bruins were able to stay sharp for most of the evening. They gave up more shots than they probably would have liked, but Tuukka Rask was more than ready to take on the challenge. The Bruins can only benefit from Rask getting back into his groove after spending so much time injured. Having a stable goalie heading into the playoffs is important in the NHL and Rask is the Bruins best shot at making a run this season despite good play from rookies Dan Vladar and Jeremy Swayman.
The Bruins will face the Sabres twice more this week as they look to keep their winning ways alive.
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