The Bruins won their fourth straight game Tuesday night with a 2-1 victory over the Ottawa Senators at TD Garden.
It was Boston’s first game back on home ice since its five-game road trip and despite falling behind 1-0 in the first period, the B’s found a way to win thanks to some timely stops from Linus Ullmark and some improvement on the power play.
Here are four takeaways from Tuesday’s win.
Linus Ullmark bailed out Bruins
We’re running out of things to say when it comes to just how dominant Ullmark has been for the Bruins this season. The goalie stopped 40 of 41 shots Tuesday night and helped kill off three Ottawa penalties. Thirty-seven of those saves came in the first 40 minutes of the game and helped hold the Senators to just one goal despite a slew of Boston turnovers.
“I thought he was outstanding,” head coach Jim Montgomery told reporters after the game. “And he needed to be. Unfortunately, we gave up a lot of good looks, a lot of odd-man rushes because of our puck management and he bailed us out like he has all year.”
Whatever message was delivered to the Bruins at second intermission worked, because the B’s tightened things up and the Sens only mustered four shots on goal in the third period. Ullmark has been the Vezina Trophy favorite essentially all season, and he continued to build his case Tuesday in his 35th win of the year.
Penalty kill strong in Derek Forbort’s absence
Montgomery announced Tuesday that the Bruins don’t expect Forbort back for the remainder of the regular season. Arguably their best penalty killer, Forbert certainly was a loss for Boston, but the team has stepped up in Forbort’s absence and looked strong against the Senators.
“Our PK forecheck was really good,” Montgomery told reporters. “And I thought our defensemen and forwards did a really good job of pressuring that next pass and we pushed them outside of the middle of the ice, above the tops and outside the dots, which makes it very easy for the next player to understand where the next pressure point is.
“… We miss Forbort because if he’s not our best penalty killer, he’s one of our best penalty killers, outside of (Patrice) Bergeron. It’s nice to see (Dmitry) Orlov and (Hampus) Lindholm doing really well, relishing those rolls there.”
The Bruins have given up just one goal over their last three games when on the kill, already a vast improvement from earlier in the year when Forbort missed a month with a broken finger.
Brad Marchand “found his groove”
The game-winning goal should be one that makes highlight reels for years to come. With the game tied at 1-1 in the first period, Jake DeBrusk and Marchand connected for a filthy goal to give the Bruins their first and only lead of the game.
“Obviously, it was all-world,” DeBrusk told reporters after the game. “It’s one of those things where I saw him, and I was trying to get open, and he threaded through a couple of guys to send me on a breakaway. … It was one of those passes where it was just all world and I was happy to finish it for him.”
The assist for Marchand marked his third straight game with a point. He’s been playing some of his best hockey of late, and Montgomery has taken notice.
“I think he’s found his groove here and he’s making a lot of plays again, which is great to see,” Montgomery told reporters. “Just the way he’s attacking defensemen’s feet, pulling up, reading off of their joints. If their ankles or knees are turned one way, he’s going the other way.
“And then I love the way that JD drove the weakside post, and what a great pass. Those are really quick hands to make that move in tight like that by JD.”
Marchand still doesn’t believe he’s quite where he wants to be, and he could take his game to a whole new level once the Stanley Cup playoffs begin next month.
Power play improved
The power play has struggled recently but it did show signs of life Tuesday when the Bruins went 1-for-3 on the night. Halfway through the first period, Montgomery called a timeout with the B’s on a 5-on-3. It helped set the tone for the power play because David Krejci, who was moved from the second to the first unit, potted a Hampus Lindholm rebound to make it a 1-1 game.
Slow and steady wins the race and seeing small improvements in an area where the Bruins struggled certainly is encouraging.
“I wanted to make sure that we got good looks,” Montgomery told reporters. “And we did get good looks. It was a real good, important goal by Krejci.”