Bruins Notes: Boston ‘Capitalizing’ On Line Changes, Hope To Keep It Rolling

The Bruins defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning 5-2

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The tone was set early, and there was no way the Boston Bruins were losing Saturday night.

Even in the third period where Tampa Bay added a pair of goals to cut their deficit in half, Boston’s aggressive play from puck drop helped the team close out a 5-2 win.

“A lot of our goals are generated winning pucks in the wall, playing north, minimizing mistakes in terms of them getting easy chances,” coach Bruce Cassidy said after the game. “I guess that’s what I like best about our game. We played a hard-to-play-against type of style tonight.”

David Pastrnak helped the Bruins get that early jolt, putting a puck on net within the first minute and getting a lucky tip. Within another five minutes, the right wing had made it 2-0.

Both goals were assisted by new linemate Taylor Hall, making for Pastrnak’s third goal this month since Cassidy split up the traditional top line of him, Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand.

So far, so good.

“It just throws different looks at different teams,” Marchand said. “All of our lines, it just adds depth throughout our lineup and it’s great for us to be able to play against different lines, you know? (Pasta) and Hallsy together (with Erik Haula), and then our group. I think it spreads that the talent level over multiple lines where it’s harder to control. Then one night when you know one line is gone and another line is not, you know, we’re able to kind of pick it up for one another. So it just gives our team a lot more options and opportunities and different situations and we’re capitalizing on it right now.”

Saturday was a nice night to execute, too, against the second-best team in the Eastern Conference.

Marchand didn’t think Tampa played its best game, but a good win can keep momentum in their favor. Boston has won four of its last five since the break.

“It’s definitely something we can continue to build on. We’ve been a lot better recently, ever since the Christmas break, we’ve been playing really good hockey and we’ve been in every game so I think that it’s another step in the right direction,” Marchand said after scoring twice.

“As long as we get the points then we’re gonna continue to put ourselves in good position. But this is a big win for our group and it’s another game that we can continue to build on.”

Here are more takeaways from Bruins-Lightning:

— A productive offensive effort was also balanced, with 10 players recording at least a point for Boston.

— Oskar Steen has been on a tear lately, making it impossible to take ice time away. He now has five points in seven games this season thanks to an assist on Anton Blidh’s goal in the second frame.

— Nick Foligno was injured in the first period. It did not look great, and he was ruled out the remainder of the game. Foligno was on the attack when Callan Foote tried to get between him and the net, but the Lightning defender fell and landed on Foligno’s leg, trapping it awkwardly. Here’s the play where it all went down.

“A lower body (injury) obviously, you saw his leg kind of buckle there. So I suspect we’ll have a better update tomorrow,” Cassidy said. “We knew right away he wouldn’t return, how bad it is, I think you give us a couple days but my guess is we’ll probably rule him out for Monday.”

— Charlie McAvoy has missed two-straight games, and while Cassidy anticipates he’ll be back Monday, the coach didn’t seem entirely convinced.

“I suspect Charlie will go back in Monday but maybe one of those injuries that might extend itself a little longer, a little bit of the swelling in that area that just doesn’t allow him to be comfortable enough to play so we’ll see, but we’re aiming for Monday again.”

— Boston honored Teddy Balkind, a 10th-grade high school hockey player who was tragically killed after an on-ice collision during a game, before puck drop.

— Next up the Bruins head to Washington D.C. where they’ll take on the Capitals on Monday at 7 p.m. ET. As always, there will be an hour of pregame and postgame coverage on NESN.

Boston Bruins forward Brad Marchand
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