Tuukka Rask got the start and the win Saturday. (Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
Playing bad teams at home really seems to work for the Bruins.
After a treacherous two-game Canadian road trip that saw the Bruins’ get outscored, 11-2, the lowly Hurricanes looked like a worthy opponent for the B’s, but they escaped with a 2-1 win (box) and improved their record for the first time since they were last at home, which was also when they were playing bad teams.
The Hurricanes outshot the Bruins by wide margins in both the first and third periods and would have easily put more than one goal past Tuukka Rask had they finished any of what were multiple gimmes during a 1:44 5-on-3 in the first period. You get breaks like that when you play struggling teams, but by no means were the Bruins dominant.
That’s the Bruins in a nutshell right now. They can get these wins, but they aren’t dominant. The B’s are now 7-4-0 without Zdeno Chara.
Here are four other things we learned Saturday:
BARTKOWSKI RETURNS AS BRUINS SHUFFLE D
Matt Bartkowski made his return to the lineup after sitting the previous seven games as a result of his early-season struggles. He played in place of Zach Trotman, who was a healthy scratch.
That wasn’t the only change to the Bruins’ back end, as Claude Julien broke up Dennis Seidenberg and Dougie Hamilton on the top pairing. The pairings were as follows:
Seidenberg – McQuaid
Morrow – Hamilton
Bartkowski – Krug
Bartkowski had a generally good game, with a particularly lengthy first-period shift in the offensive zone among the positives. A turnover in the second period led to a scoring chance for Jeff Skinner, but Saturday was overall an improvement on the mistake-heavy showings Bartkowski had before he was taken out of the lineup.
BERGERON LINE GETS ONE
Bergeron was on the ice for Tlusty’s goal, which made it eight even strength goals against for which he’s been on the ice the last four games.
The results for Bergeron and his line changed later in the period, however, as Brad Marchand‘s work with the puck and ensuing pass set up a Bergeron goal with 50 seconds left in the period. The goal was the first for Bergeron’s line since Reilly Smith’s goal late in the third period of Monday’s win against the Devils.
Bergeron also made a nice heads-up play in the offensive zone in the third period, picking off a Justin Faulk pass to set up a Seth Griffith scoring chance.
PAILLE MESSES UP, MISSES TIME, MISSES OUT ON GOAL
Daniel Paille turned the puck over in the neutral zone to lead to a lengthy Hurricanes possession on which Jiri Tlusty scored just over seven minutes into the first period. He was given just one more shift the rest of the period and did not play the final 10:27 of the first period.
Paille didn’t take contact with anyone or appear to be in pain on his nine-second shift, which came on the penalty kill. He didn’t look like a guy who was injured, and even if he was, the Bruins probably won’t say anything about it.
Claude Julien threw some different looks out there for his forward lines as the period went on, giving Milan Lucic two shifts with Carl Soderberg and Loui Eriksson. The lines were reverted back to normal for the second period.
Paille still has no goals this season. He thought he scored when he wheeled around and in the high slot and whipped the puck through traffic and in, but the goal was waved off due to Gregory Campbell standing in the crease.
The line of Campbell between Paille and Gagne still has just one goal this season, a Campbell game-winner on Oct. 21 against the Sharks,
Say what you will about Tuukka Rask not starting in Montreal ‘ personally, I thought the Bruins’ plan to go Rask in Toronto and Niklas Svedberg was the right plan going into it, with spectacularly poor results ‘ but Rask had a nice bounce-back performance Saturday against the Hurricanes.
Of course, a lot of goaltenders have good games against the Hurricanes, who entered Saturday 26th in the league in goals scored per game, but the Bruins will take it nonetheless.
One of Rask’s bigger saves came about eight minutes into the third period, when he left a rebound out front for Victor Rask but was able to recover and stop Carolina’s second-chance opportunity.