Talking Points: Bruins 4, Wild 1

Talking Points: Bruins 4, Wild 1
March 17, 2014, 11:45 pm
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GOLD STAR: Tuukka Rask made the big saves when he needed to: a nifty glove save on Mikko Koivu on a backhanded rush straight through the middle of the ice, and 16 stops overall in the final 20 minutes when the Wild got a little desperation in their games. Rask now has a season-high six-game winning streak that’s just one win away from his personal best, and has a .947 save percentage during the win streak. It’s no coincidence that Rask and the Bruins are both playing their best brand of hockey at the exact same time this season.

BLACK EYE: Matt Bartkowski had an assist on Jarome Iginla’s second period fluke goal, but also had one of his worst games in the last few months. He was having puck management issues early in the game along with a few other B’s defenseman, and then completely fell asleep on the Jason Pominville breakaway goal at the end of the second period. Bartkowski somehow started moving toward the net off an offensive zone face-off as Pominville blew the zone, and then the ex-Buffalo forward beat both Bartkowski and Andrej Meszaros with a breakaway score when Brad Marchand couldn’t hang onto the puck. There’s just no excuse for that in the final 90 seconds of the second period holding a two-goal lead.
TURNING POINT: The Bruins could have buckled after Pominville made it a one goal game at the end of the second period, but they instead pushed on in the final 20 minutes. Reilly Smith crashed the net for a rebound goal to make it a two-goal advantage for the B’s in the final period, and iced things for the Black and Gold in a nip-and=tuck game. The Bruins were outshot 16-10 in the final period, but powered the period’s only two goals to finish things up strongly in what’s traditionally their best period.

HONORABLE MENTION: Smith finally snapped a 15-game goal-scoring drought with a pivotal goal in the third period that iced the game, and is showing signs that his offensive slump is a thing of the past. In the first eight games during the month of March, Smith had just 11 shots on net; in the last two games, he managed 10. Smith isn’t a guy that shoots a heavy volume of pucks during games, but it certainly doesn’t hurt to fire a few more at the net until the confidence has fully returned.

BY THE NUMBERS: 1-6-0 – the Bruins’ record vs. the Minnesota Wild at TD Garden since the Wild franchise began their run in the NHL back in the 2000-01 season.

QUOTE TO NOTE: “You try to win every game and if you have a chance to clinch the [best record in the] league, why wouldn’t you try? I don’t think it’s our goal in our minds that we have to win it. We just want to be feeling good about ourselves going into playoffs, and play our best hockey in April, May, and June.” --Tuukka Rask on the Boston Bruins creeping up on the best record in the NHL just four points behind the St. Louis Blues.