The Boston Bruins didn’t play particularly well Thursday night, but a three-goal third period and stellar goaltending from Tuukka Rask propelled the Original Six club to a 3-2 win over the Detroit Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena.
Boston has moved into a third-place tie with the Red Wings in the Atlantic Division as a result of the victory. The B’s also have won four straight games.
The Bruins return to game action Saturday night against the Toronto Maple Leafs. It’s the final home game of the regular season.
Here are four takeaways from Bruins-Red Wings.
1. Brett Connolly Makes Bruins Debut
Brett Connolly played in his first game for the Bruins after suffering a fractured finger in his right hand during his first practice with the team on March 4. He was acquired from the Tampa Bay Lightning for two second-round draft picks at the March 2 NHL trade deadline.
The 22-year-old right winger started the game on the fourth line with Gregory Campbell and Chris Kelly, but he also took shifts with David Krejci and Milan Lucic. Connolly finished with two assists, one shot and three hits.
Connolly’s insertion into the lineup resulted in Max Talbot, who Boston also acquired at the trade deadline, being a healthy scratch. Talbot had played in 15 straight games for the B’s and tallied three assists in that span. Veteran forward Daniel Paille was a healthy scratch for the fifth straight game.
2. Tuukka Rask Gives the Bruins a Chance
Boston would have been trailing by a wide margin throughout the game if not for brilliant goaltending from Rask.
Rask was under siege all game and had to fight through a lot of traffic in front of his net. The Bruins were out shot in every period, but Rask made 35 saves on 37 shots for a .946 save percentage. Rask also helped the Bruins go 4-for-5 on the penalty kill against the NHL’s second-ranked power play with seven saves on eight shots.
The Bruins netminder has given up two goals or fewer in 10 of his last 13 games.
3. Bruins Score Three Third-Period Goals
The Bruins fell behind 2-0 when Stephen Weiss scored on the power play at the 2:52 mark of the third period. From that point on, Boston mounted an impressive comeback.
Carl Soderberg extended his point streak to four games with a power-play goal at 5:05, and then Loui Eriksson scored his 21st goal of the season 2:14 later to tie the score.
Zach Trotman scored his first career NHL goal at 17:52 of the period to give Boston its first lead of the night. Red Wings goaltender Petr Mrazek probably should have saved Trotman’s shot, but credit the B’s defenseman for taking the puck to the net.
4. Patrice Bergeron Left In Second Period, Returned With Full Visor
Bruins center Patrice Bergeron was high sticked after a faceoff early in the second period and didn’t play another shift until the opening faceoff of the third period.
Bergeron came back sporting a full visor to protect his face from further damage.
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Thumbnail photo via Amber Searls/USA TODAY Sports Images.