The Boston Bruins have one of the best lines in hockey, but if we’re being honest, it’s the unsung heroes that really have helped drive the bus this season.
With the slew of injuries the Bruins have dealt with wire to wire, oftentimes it has been the bottom six guys getting thrown into different roles, and time and time again they’ve risen to the occasion. At times, it’s been Chris Wagner, Sean Kuraly or Joakim Nordstrom that have stepped up, but the list is longer.
Recently, and certainly on Saturday, it was Noel Acciari who made a big difference.
The B’s forward, centering a fourth line with Nordstrom and David Backes on his wings, had a goal in Boston’s 7-3 pounding of the Florida Panthers, which secured a playoff spot for the third straight season. He also mercilessly beat MacKenzie Weegar in a fight. With his goal, Acciari now has set a career high in points (12), posting five goals with eight assists.
All season, its been the “next man up” mentality for the Bruins. And with Kuraly out for roughly four weeks, Acciari will be among those who, again, will have to up their contributions. Acciari has done his part plenty of times this season, and he’s on the right track to ensuring that continues the rest of the way.
Here are some other notes from Saturday’s Bruins-Panthers game:
— On the same day he signed a one-year deal for next season with the Bruins, Zdeno Chara had a nice night against the Panthers.
The defenseman tallied a goal and an assist, with the goal being the 200th of his career. That makes Chara one of just 22 blueliners in league history to score at least 200 goals.
Chara only trails Shea Weber by two goals for most career tallies by active NHL defensemen.
— It also was a historic night for Patrice Bergeron, who also had a goal and an assist in the victory.
Even though he was playing in just his 59th game of the campaign, Bergeron’s goal was his 73rd point of the season, which ties his career high, which he set in his second year with the B’s.
With seven games still to go in the regular season, it seems likely the 33-year-old will set a career high.
— The Bruins have been able to lean on Tuukka Rask and Jaroslav Halak all season long, to the point where they’ve become one of the most successful tandems in franchise history.
Halak turned away 31 shots in Saturday’s game, giving him his 20th win of the season. He and Rask now are just the fifth Bruins goaltending duo since 1970 to each have 20 wins. The last combo to do it was Andy Moog and Rejean Lemelin in the 1989-90 season.
— Connor Clifton recorded his first NHL point Saturday night, assisting on Acciari’s first-period goal.
— Karson Kuhlman, called up from Providence on Saturday morning, scored against the Panthers. It was the second goal of his NHL career.
Thumbnail photo via Robert Mayer/USA TODAY Sports Images
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