Claude Julien‘s 500th win as an NHL head coach came a day earlier than some might have expected.
Given that Patrice Bergeron was out of the lineup and Jonas Gustavsson was given the start Saturday, the Bruins were better positioned to win on the second day of this weekend’s back-to-back than the first. The B’s managed the victory anyway, defeating the Wild as the penalty skill held strong throughout a special teams battle.
The Bruins killed off five Wild power plays and got a shorthanded goal from — you guessed it — Brad Marchand in a 4-2 win in Minnesota. The B’s will travel to Detroit to face the Red Wings Sunday in the third game of their current six-game road trip.
The Bruins’ power play didn’t fare much better than Minnesota’s with an 0-for-6 showing on the man advantage, but even-strength goals from David Krejci and Loui Eriksson allowed the B’s to outpace their opponent despite only attempting 10 shots over the game’s first 40 minutes. Zdeno Chara added an empty-netter from the defensive zone with just under two minutes remaining to seal the victory.
Now 2-0-0 on their road trip, the Bruins have sole possession of second place in the Atlantic Division entering Sunday’s contest against the Red Wings. Detroit trails Boston by one point with both teams 55 games into their respective schedules.
Here are four more things we learned Saturday:
KEMPPAINEN RETURN PART OF BERGERON TRICKLE-DOWN EFFECT
Bergeron being out of the lineup meant that Claude Julien had to shuffle his lines and special teams assignments. Among them: Ryan Spooner jumped up to center the first line, Joonas Kemppainen returned to the lineup and greater special teams assignments were given to David Pastrnak, who played on the first power play unit, and Kemppainen and Zac Rinaldo on the penalty kill.
Joe Morrow and Kevan Miller also remained in the lineup over Colin Miller, who sat for the fourth straight game. The Bruins used the following lineup:
MARCHAND MAKES IT 12 IN 12
With a shorthanded goal — his fourth of the season — Marchand continued his furious scoring pace to give him 12 goals in the last 12 games. He brought his total on the season to 27 goals, which puts him fifth in the NHL and one behind former linemate Tyler Seguin with four fewer games played.
Marchand is now on pace for 42 goals this season.
Boston’s second goal needed to be reviewed, as Krejci threw the puck on net off the rush as Nino Niederrieter was crashing into the Minnesota goal. A review confirmed that the play, which saw Krejci’s shot go off Niederrieter and across goal line, was a good goal. Following is the league’s explanation:
At 11:48 of the second period in the Bruins/Wild game, the Situation Room initiated a video review to further examine a play at the Minnesota net. The referee informed the Situation Room that it was a good goal, a decision supported by NHL Hockey Operations in accordance with Rule 63.6, which states: “In the event that the goal post is displaced, either deliberately or accidentally, prior to the puck crossing the normal positions of the goal posts, the referee may award a goal. In order to award a goal in this situation, the goal post must have been displaced by the actions of a defending player, the puck must have been shot (or the player must be in the act of shooting) at the goal prior to the goal post being displaced, and it must be determined that the puck would have entered the net between the normal position of the goal posts. The goal frame is considered to be displaced if either or both goal pegs are no longer in their respective holes in the ice, or the net has come completely off one or both pegs, prior to or as the puck enters the goal.” Good goal Boston.
ERIKSSON HEATING UP
It’s tough to say how much longer Eriksson will be a Bruin. If these are some of his final games in Boston, however, he’s making them count.
Eriksson took a nice pass from Spooner in the third period and scored on a breakaway to give him three goals in the last four games. The goal was also the 200th of his career.
The free-agent-to-be had seen his scoring stall for a bit — zero goals in nine games leading into last Saturday — but he has recovered well. With an assist on Thursday as well, the veteran wing has four points (three goals, one assist) in his last four contests.