WINNIPEG Two areas that have been season-long struggles for the Bruins helped rescue them from defeat in wintry Winnipeg.
Tyler Seguin busted out for a first period goal that got the Bruins offensive engine humming and the much maligned Bs power play produced a Brad Marchand goal in the third period that led Boston to a 3-2 victory at the MTS Centre.
Tuukka Rask and the Bruins held off a last minute storm from the Jets trying to tie it when it appeared Zach Redmond might have tied the game but the puck never crossed the goal and it happened just after time expired.
The win snapped a two-game losing streak for the Bruins and dumped the Jets into last place in the Eastern Conference.
After a scoreless first period the Bruins and Winnipeg Jets jumped into it in the middle 20 minutes. Alex Burmistrov led off the scoring when he beat Dougie Hamilton to the rebound of a Zach Bogosian point shot and snapped it past Tuukka Rask to put Winnipeg on the board. The Bruins responded with Tyler Seguins third goal of the season a score of the grittier variety that saw him redirect a Zdeno Chara shot from the high slot area in the middle of high traffic.
The Jets jumped back on top when blown Boston defensive coverage left Evander Kane all by himself in front of the net for a pair of point blank shots before he buried the second one. Boston once again stormed right back and Daniel Paille tipped a Johnny Boychuk right point shot to tie things up again with 1.5 seconds to go in the second period.
That set up Marchands early heroics in the third period.
CHICAGO – Don Sweeney said the Bruins knew and expected they were going to lose one of three players in the NHL expansion draft, and it’s pretty clear it was going to be Adam McQuaid, Kevan Miller or Colin Miller leaving the team. The B’s took Kevan Miller out of the equation by leaving him on the protection list after a strong season while also playing some of his best hockey in the playoffs.
That left McQuaid and Miller with each of the two D-men standing an equal chance of getting selected by the Vegas Golden Knights, and the 24-year-old puck-moving Miller going to Vegas for the time being. It remains to be seen if Miller sticks with the Golden Knights, or if there is an eventual plan to flip him elsewhere like perhaps an interested party in Toronto.
Sweeney said the Bruins didn’t want to lose a player with potential like Miller, but it’s also true that he would have been stuck behind younger, better D-men on the depth chart with Charlie McAvoy and Brandon Carlo as better right-handed options.
“It was an interesting process to go through. It was hard at times because you felt like other teams were able to find deals to keep their team together while you felt vulnerable in that regard,” said Sweeney at the B’s team hotel in Chicago during a Thursday availability with the media. “You knew you were going to lose a good player. You knew they had targeted three players on our team that we felt they would target, and unfortunately we’re losing a good, young player.
“We thought highly of Colin. He was part of a big trade for us and we wish him well moving forward. We thank for him doing his part with the organization. We lost a good player.”
Clearly, the Bruins lost a defenseman with skills and youth on his side, but it’s also a young guy that hasn’t put it all together yet while never posting more than 16 points in each of his two seasons with the Black and Gold. Perhaps he will put together the offensive package at his next landing spot after showing flashes in Boston over the last two years, but that unknown factor while no longer being considered a prospect is the reason he didn’t find himself on the protected D list along with Zdeno Chara and Torey Krug.
The Bruins released their schedule for the 2017-18 season Thursday, with their campaign beginning at TD Garden on Oct. 5 against the Predators.
Two things stand out in Boston’s schedule. Eleven of their final 15 games are on the road, and they don’t play the Canadiens until mid-January.
Then, when the B’s and Habs do finally meet, they play three times in an eight-day span. The rivals face each other Jan. 13 in Montreal, Jan. 17 in Boston and Jan. 20 in Montreal. The Bruins’ final regular-season meeting with the Habs is March 3.
To see the full schedule, click here.