Riley freaking Nash!! Last night, the Bruins welcomed the reeling Ottawa Senators to TD Garden. The Black and Gold would not disappoint. Coming off the 3 day holiday break, I was a bit nervous. The team had gone into the break with some serious mojo, and any sort of time-off would possibly disrupt that. This is not the case for the 2017-2018 Bruins. Bruce Cassidy seemingly won’t allow complacency.
Last season, Ottawa had made it to Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals, and continued to make additions. They added playoff tested d-man Johnny Oduya, and shockingly traded for Colorado Avalanche Center Matt Duchene. It looked as if Ottawa was only going to get better. What happened instead was major regression. After looking like the best player in the world in 2017, Swedish D-man Erik Karlsson has had a bad year. He is posting a -19 +/-, which is a huge dip from his +10 one season ago. Matt Duchene has a measly 5 points in 20 games since joining the Sens. Not number 1 center type numbers to say the least.
To pour some salt on the wound, one of the pieces traded away from the Senators in order to acquire Duchene, Kyle Turris is having a monster year. Turris was traded to the Nashville Predators as part of a three team deal. Turris has 17 points in 20 games, and is a +8. He was the heart and soul of the 2017 Sens. Well respected by teammates, and coaches alike. The trade has since caused Ottawa to do a tailspin. They are second to last in the Eastern Conference. Posting an 11-16-8 record. Good enough for 30 points. The Bruins only made things worse for them on Wednesday Night.
The Bruins came out firing early. It’s nice what three days off can do for some players. All four lines, and three d-pairs were flying from the second the puck dropped. The Bruins back-end looked re-energized, as they stifled the Senators early attack. The Senators came out, and looked as if they were equal to the task. Never fear, Kevan Miller is here. About 6 minutes into the first period Miller ripped a laser over the glove of Senators goalie Craig Anderson.
Miller pounced on just an atrocious rebound Anderson gifted to him via a David Backes snap-shot. Nearly three minutes later noted Candy-Ass, Ryan Spooner found rookie winger, Danton Heinen right in front of the net for an easy tap in goal.
Ryan Spooner made the whole play. He drove to the outside forcing Anderson, and Senator defenders to commit to him. That lead to the nice easy tap-in goal for Heinen. With Danton’s 9th goal of the year he is now 6th in Rookie Scoring (9G, 15 A, 24pts). The Nash, Backes, Heinen line is a three zone monster, especially during this current 5 game win streak.
The Bruins continued to hound the puck, as the Senators started playing desperate hockey. With around 5 minutes left to play in the first period, Fredrik Claeson hit Noel Acciari in the neutral zone. It was a high hit, but 4th line grinder Tim Schaller stepped up and beat the living shit out of that prick. The Bruins were beating the Senators in every single facet of the game.
Early in the second the onslaught continued. Riley Nash blocked Erik Karlsson’s shot from the top of the Blueline. Nash did the incredible, he walked Karlsson end to end, and fired a snap shot goal past Anderson. The Bruins had taken a 3-0 lead early into the second period.
Soon after Nash’s goal the Sens finally got on the board. Rookie D-man Thomas Chabot fired home a Slap-shot over the blocker of Tuukka Rask. It was all set up by a slick feed from Mark Stone. It was 3-1, and the Senators again start to up the pressure. They seemed to be playing with a sense of desperation. The Bruins weathered the storm. Tuukka has been playing lights out, and tonight was no different.
Rask held the fort enough, and the B’s started to get their legs back. With just over 5 minutes to go in the period, Anders Bjork pressured Dion Phanuef who turned the puck right over at the Bruins attacking blueline. Bjork gave Nash a soft dish, and Riley walked to the crease slipping the puck between the post, and Anderson’s pad.
The Senators were done from that point on. They completely quit for the remainder of the game. Late in the third David Backes notched another tally. Final score 5-1 Bruins.
The Bruins keep on rolling as the calendar moves to 2018. All four lines are clicking. A few games ago it was the Marchand, Bergeron, Pastrnak line that carried the young Bruins to victory. Last night it was the Heinen, Backes, and Nash line that carried the team. I can’t believe I am saying this, but Riley Nash has really solidifed a steady role on this club. He is Bergeron lite. He is a very good face-off guy, makes great plays defensively, and makes the smart correct play in the offensive zone. People pick on him (myself included) because he doesn’t have the ability to finish on most nights. Even with that, he has a role on this team, and arguably the second best line the past month or so, has been that third unit centered by Nash.
Tonight the Bruins will be in Washington to take on the Capitals. The Bruins have a scorching 2-14 record against Brayden Holtby. The Capitals are not much better than this Bruins squad. I can’t think of a better time to break the Capital snide. Dobby the goalie will be between the pipes.
Brayden Holtby will be in net for the Capitals.
Puck drop from Verizon Center at 7:30 pm EST. Lets go Bruins!