“It is not a lineup of gifted goal scorers, exhibit A being Brad Marchand topping the list with 12. Marchand is a lot of things but finesse isn’t one of them…He may not be known for his hands, but Marchand now has a three-game point streak.”
—Kevin Dupont in Wednesday’s Boston Globe
The hottest line in hockey (Brad Marchand-Patrice Bergeron-Tyler Seguin) combined for eight of its team’s 11 points in last night’s 4-2 victory over the finally competitive Toronto Maple Leafs at the Garden. Seguin led the way with two goals (#s 6 and 7) and an assist, Bergeron chipped in with a 1-2–3 line, and the finesse-and-hands deficient Marchand (per above) tallied two helpers.
After Bergeron and Nazem ‘the REM’ Kadri traded goals, the Bs pulled away on tallies by Seguin and David Krejci to make it 3-1. Jay McClement’s goal-mouth tip late in the third to make it 3-2 tightened some sphincters until Seguin potted an ENG to put it away.
Anton Khudobin was once again very solid in the pipes, stopping 21 of 23 shots and making a couple of nice stops to preserve leads. The two Leafs goals were hardly his fault.
So after a two-game hiccup, the Bs got (mostly) back to their way of doing things and a result they’re more familiar with. They were also able to put some distance between themselves and the Leafs. The Bruins are currently just one point from the top seed in the East/Northeast Division leader. Their 33 points are just beneath Montreal’s 34 but the Bruins still have a whole three games in hand. They look to grab at least temporary hold of the #1 tomorrow afternoon when Padawan Bryzgalov and company come to town.
A few more bud for your snowed-in bowl…
*As noted in this space last week, the Bruins finally ended Chris Bourque’s extended audition for the third line when they sent him back down to Providence yesterday and called up Jordan Caron today to replace his spot on the roster. Bourque did the best he could given his stature and skill set. Unfortunately, it just wasn’t cutting it on a team with serious Stanley Cup aspirations so the Bs have to give somebody else a look. But it wasn’t all bad for him—he’s guaranteed $550,000 next year wherever he plays.
*Regardless of where the Bs put him, Caron immediately makes them bigger and tougher to play against. Though he’s shown some offensive flashes in call-ups in the two previous seasons, it’s likely the Bs want to see a more overall consistent effort from the kid to determine if he’s going to stick around for awhile. But then, it might not matter if a certain Swede comes to town.
*Because per Darren Dreger, 6’3” 225 lb. Carl Soderberg (obtained for Hannu Toivonen 100 years ago) hopes to join the Bs after his Swedish Elite League playoffs end. He’s been described as “the best player in Sweden” and solid 2nd line center. If the Bs let him get to free agency, he’ll be scooped up right away. But the Bs do have his rights and might just be able to insert a highly-skilled forward right into their line-up without having to part with any players or picks. If nothing else, Soderberg’s decision certainly adds another interesting wrinkle to Peter Chiarelli’s deadline decisions. The latest he can come over is the third week in April but once his season is done, the Bs can sign him and get him in the spoked-B. If they Bs are able to come to terms, will they still be in the market for another forward? Or will they concentrate their efforts more on the back end to solidify what has been a less-than-stellar D corps? Whatever the front office does decide, they have more options today than they did yesterday and that’s never a bad thing for a team looking to load up for the playoff run.
*After Marc Staal was horrifically hit in the eye with a puck in New York the other night, there has been a renewed call for mandatory visors. Bryan Berard, Manny Malhotra, Ian Laperrirere, and Chris Pronger are the names that immediately come to mind of guys whose careers were either severely altered or ended due to injuries near or on the eye. The common sense thing to do seems to make them mandatory but grandfather guys in that already choose not to wear them. But if the NHLPA wants to leave it a personal choice, it will likely stay that way. There’s not much scarier than seeing a 6’5” monster kicking the ice and coming just shy of screaming for his mother as he’s writhing in pain on the ice before a hushed arena. As infrequent as they are, you’d think more incidents like that would want to be prevented. But if guys want full peripheral vision, it’s a risk that many of them are more than willing to make.
*Has anybody called into 98.5 yet saying that the Bs need to sit Tuukka and make Khudobin the #1 goalie?