It’s never boring with the Bruins, and this season, it hasn’t necessarily been easy for the Black and Gold, either. Sunday night in Toronto was just the latest example of that.
Boston rolled to a 5-2 win over the Maple Leafs to open a four-game Canadian road trip on a positive note. The final score may indicate that it was an easy win, but “easy” probably isn’t exactly the adjective you would use to describe the Bruins’ win, their second in as many nights.
As they have many times already this season, the Bruins once again faced early adversity. The B’s came into Sunday night’s game up against it already. They were playing the second half of a back-to-back after traveling overnight following an emotionally charged win over Pittsburgh. That came just two days after another tough game in Montreal. Not only that, but Boston was also without three of its regular forwards and was still missing two of its regular defensemen.
Things looked even worse for the Bruins when Peter Holland scored the game’s first goal at 12:26 of the first period. That was before the Bruins ran into yet another injury. Dougie Hamilton left the game late in the first period after suffering a lower-body injury. It was eventually announced he would miss the rest of the game. For the fifth time this season, the Bruins would have to finish a game with five defensemen.
You add all of that up, and you would understand if the Bruins just ran out of gas and eventually fell apart against the Maple Leafs on Sunday night. Quite the opposite happened, though. Boston came out and scored two power-play goals in the first seven minutes of the second period. That set the tone for the rest of the evening in what turned into one of the Bruins’ most impressive wins of the year.
Here are some more highlights and thoughts from the Boston win.
The Bruins once again answered the bell after losing a defenseman and skating with five D-men. Kevan Miller stepped up and had arguably his best game at this level. The UVM product scored his first career goal and was a plus-2 while logging 22:12 of ice time. Dennis Seidenberg also had a fantastic game as he logged more than 26 minutes while tallying four shots, two hits and six blocked shots.
Boston’s special teams were equally impressive. The Bruins were missing two important special teams players in Chris Kelly and Loui Eriksson — and then eventually Hamilton — but they were still able to score two power-play goals and kill off all four Toronto power plays. Jordan Caron (2:24 shorthanded time) and David Krejci (3:52 shorthanded time) both did nice jobs in place of Kelly and Eriksson on the PK. When Hamilton went down, Seidenberg was an adequate fill-in at the point on the power play.
Ryan Spooner and Matt Fraser didn’t set the world on fire after being recalled, but they weren’t awful, either. That will be a fun line to watch if they’re able to get some chemistry going with Carl Soderberg in the coming days or weeks.
Speaking of Soderberg, he had a really strong game. He scored the Bruins’ first goal on the power play simply by putting himself in a good position to take a gorgeous pass from Reilly Smith in the second period. With Spooner struggling in the face-off circle, Soderberg assumed draw duties in the second period. He was just 4-for-10, but one of those wins set up Miller’s goal.
Bruins backup goalie Chad Johnson stepped in and did a nice job once again. He’s now 5-1-0 on the season. Bruins coach Claude Julien said after the game that Johnson was out on the ice Sunday morning getting some preparation in, despite the night of travel. It paid off, as he was solid once again and put the team in position to win, which is all you can ask for.
Jarome Iginla scored his first goal since Nov. 27. He’s starting to buzz around the net a little more as of late, and you kind of get the feeling a hot streak is coming. He’ll be back in Calgary for the first time on Tuesday as an opponent, which should have him playing at his highest level. If he can build off the goal he scored his Sunday, we could see him get into a pretty good groove.
The Bruins, despite all that’s going on around them, will start the week in first place in both the division and the conference with a game in hand over both Montreal and Pittsburgh.