The Boston Bruins weren’t counting on goalie Dan Vladar to be a vital piece of the puzzle when the season started back in January. But now they’re counting on him to stay ready down the stretch.
B’s head coach Bruce Cassidy clearly has faith in the 23-year-old rookie from Prague, who gets his third start of the campaign Thursday night against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Vladar (2-0, 1.50 GAA) already beat the Pens at their barn two weeks ago and now he gets another crack on Causeway Street.
“All in all, he’s had two really strong games,” Cassidy told reporters.
Sometimes, you’ve just gotta roll with the young goalie that’s playing well.
I know, I know. Two games is too small of a sample size to get super excited, but there’s something to be said about a kid that has allowed only three goals in two games in the middle of a playoff push.
Urgency is everything at this point for the Bruins, who currently reside in fourth place in the East Division. The next six weeks of hockey are going to be packed with pressure and it’s not like the B’s have any room to be complacent. I believe we get a strong effort at TD Garden against a Penguins team without Evgeni Malkin and likely still without Brandon Tanev (gametime decision).
Pittsburgh has been gangbusters at home with a 16-3-1 record, but they’ve been extremely mediocre away from the Land of Steel. Sidney Crosby and Co. are just 7-8-1 on the road this year. Those numbers make me feel even better about the Bruins as a short home favorite.
I’ll bet Boston has enough offense against backup goalie Casey DeSmith and the B’s should have some momentum left in the tank from Tuesday’s comeback win over the New Jersey Devils. Their structure has been extra crisp in front of Vladar and the song should remain the same Thursday night.
If the B’s get off to a strong start, they’ll be just fine for 60 minutes.
RECORD: (27-19, +6.5)
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