The Bruins snapped a three-game losing streak with a 4-1 win over the Lightning at TD Garden Sunday. (Greg M. Cooper/USA Today Sports)
The nine-month old monkey on the back of Bruins winger Jimmy Hayes has been finally, successfully thrown out of TD Garden.
One of just two forwards with at least 19 games played and not a single point (the Hurricanes’ Jay McClement is the other) entering Sunday’s matinee affair with the Lightning, the much maligned winger has seemingly been through a life’s worth of bad luck in his hometown.
But that finally changed Sunday, as it was Hayes that scored the Bruins’ third goal of the win, off a great feed from David Krejci, and good for Hayes’ first goal of the season and his first in 36 games dating back to last season (Feb. 24 against the Penguins).
The cap to a three-goal middle period from the Bruins, with goals from Dominic Moore and a power-play goal from David Backes, Hayes’ tally came on his 34th shot of the season (and on his 58th shot on net since his last goal), and really put dagger in the Lightning through 40 minutes, with the Hayes goal scored with just 2:27 left in the period.
The Bruins added another in the third period, just for good measure, with a David Pastrnak puck banked off Tyler Johnson and through Ben Bishop, good for No. 88’s third in as many games since returning from an upper-body injury. Challenged on the shot by the Lightning’s Slater Koekkoek, the goal was Pastrnak’s team-leading 13th goal of the season (in just 17 games played).
The Lightning finally countered the B’s strikes with a Jonathan Drouin goal scored with just 2:39 left in the game.
With goals from four different scorers in a 4-1 final, the Bruins found balance, but no goal likely meant more than Hayes’.
Here are four other things, not related to monkeys living on backs, that we learned in a 4-0 win for the Bruins
Tuukka Rask impressive early and often in 12th win of season
Although he lost his shutout with just 2:39 left in the third period, there were absolutely no possible complaints with the game by Tuukka Rask played today. And we’ve already said that more times than we did all of last year. It’s no secret that the 29-year-old Rask has taken his game to another level this season, but Rask was especially strong in a winning effort Sunday, with several stops on looks right in front of his net, and ultimately finished today’s game with stops on all but one of 31 shots against.
Bruins keep vaunted Lightning power play off board
Win the special teams battle and you’ll win the game most nights.
The Bruins did just that, too, as a dominant Lightning power play that entered today’s contest ranked fourth in the NHL was held to an 0-for-2 mark and had just one shot on goal in defeat. It was really strength-on-strength for these two teams, too, as the Black and Gold ranked fourth in the league on the penalty kill this season heading into action. What made their Sunday success all the more impressive was that they did it without both Chara and Liles, two of their regular killing defenders.
At the other end, the Bruins took care of their power play opportunities, with a 1-for-1 mark on the man advantage.
Fourth line puts forth strong effort
It’s no secret that the Bruins need more from their bottom six. (Heck, you could probably say that they need more from their second line, too.) But the Bruins found an extra jolt of life today behind a strong showing from the team’s new-look fourth line with Ryan Spooner and Jimmy Hayes on the wings for center Dominic Moore. Of course, it’s easy to talk about how great the fourth line looked on a night in which two of its three members scored a goal and all three recorded points (Spooner had an assist on the Moore goal), but this group really seemed to make pushes and create chances in the offensive zone.
Against a deep Lightning forward corps, the Bruins needed a lift from that unit and they got just that.
Also: Moore now has six goals in 22 games played this season. He scored just six times for the Rangers last year… in 80 games.
John-Michael Liles exits with upper-body injury
Down Zdeno Chara (lower-body) for the third straight game, the Bruins were dealt another blow on their backend Sunday when John-Michael Liles crashed into the endboards with a thunderous impact early in the first period.
Tripped up by Ben Bishop’s stuck on a shorthanded opportunity, the 36-year-old went crashing headfirst into the boards, and hardly moved for the first 20-30 seconds he was down on Garden ice. Eventually helped to his feet, Liles was escorted down the tunnel and did not return to action with what the team has dubbed an upper-body injury.
One of three left-handed defensemen on the B’s roster (and one of two dressed for this contest), Liles’ night ended after just 2:24.
Liles has five assists and 19 shots on goal in 22 games this season.
Up next, the Bruins will travel down to Philadelphia for a Tuesday night contest with the Flyers.