The Bruins finished a horrid five-game road trip with their only victory of the stretch, but at least it was a blowout.
Playing in their first game since David Krejci suffered an undisclosed injury Friday, the Bruins scored half a dozen goals — the fourth of which chased Corey Crawford — as they earned a 6-2 victory over the Blackhawks (box). The win gave the Bruins just four points of a possible 10 in the five-game trip (1-2-2). It also snapped a six-game losing streak (0-4-2).
Boston got goals from Patrice Bergeron, Loui Eriksson, Milan Lucic, Gregory Campbell, Dougie Hamilton and Reilly Smith. Bergeron’s first period goal put him in a tie with linemate Brad Marchand for the team lead.
The victory keeps the Bruins (28-21-9) three points ahead of the Panthers (26-20-12) for the second Wild Card spot in the Eastern Conference.
Here are four more things we learned Sunday:
BRUINS (FORCED TO) SHOW FAITH IN SPOONER
Claude Julien gave Ryan Spooner a lot of responsibility and displayed a lot of patience with the center in Spooner’s first NHL game since October.
Julien skated Spooner with Krejci’s usual linemates in Milan Lucic and David Pastrnak and put him in Krejci’s place on Boston’s first power play unit. Spooner had a brutal turnover on a first-period power play when he entered the zone, pulled up and sent a pass intended for Torey Krug into the neutral zone that Versteeg took for a breakaway that Rask stopped. Spooner responded by facilitating a Loui Eriksson goal moments later and added an assist on Milan Lucic‘s second period goal for his first assist of the season.
BRUINS SURVIVE BERGERON INJURY SCARE
It’s bad enough that the Bruins don’t know the status of Krejci. When Patrice Bergeron took a shot off the foot in the third period and spent the next few minutes off the ice, there was reason to fear even a four-goal win would still hurt the Bruins.
Those concerns would prove to be overstated, as Bergeron returned to the ice late in the third and played three more shifts before the end of the game.
Bergeron’s first-period goal was the 200th of his career. He added a pair of assists in a three-point performance.
RASK WEARS DOWN, MELTS DOWN
Sunday marked the 17th consecutive game played for Tuukka Rask, and he hardly looked like a tired goalie as he turned in brilliant play early on, highlighted by a save on Patrick Kane in which he lunged across the net and stacked the pads following a rebound.
Yet in the first period’s final minutes, Rask took a penalty for playing the puck outside the trapezoid ‘ a major mental error ‘ and threw a fit after allowing a Jonathan Toews goal on the ensuing Blackhawks power play. Rask slammed his stick against the post, perhaps getting a piece of Kris Versteeg, who went down to draw a penalty.
Rask still turned in a strong performance on the day, stopping 25 of 27 shots.
FOURTH LINE SCORES
The Bruins scratched Daniel Paille and Craig Cunningham for the second straight game, instead icing a fourth line of Gregory Campbell between Jordan Caron and Brian Ferlin. The line scored in the second period when Ferlin won a puck battle and fed Campbell in the high slot, with Campbell firing a shot past Caron’s net-front presence and past Corey Crawford. The goal, which marked Ferlin’s first career NHL point, chased Crawford.
Remember, when the Bruins and Blackhawks met in December, the Hawks won thanks to their fourth line dominating for a pair of goals. The Bruins are now in the high teens for fourth-line combinations tried, but Caron-Campbell-Ferlin did the unthinkable by producing.