Boston Bruins

Boston Bruins

Boston Bruins

  • Back in Boston after a three-game trip out West, which ended with Sunday’s showdown with Vegas and a Monday flight home, the Bruins were always worried about their first game back. This was not a new concern for the Black and Gold that popped into frame during the flight home.

    In fact, Bruins head coach Jim Montgomery’s concerns over Tuesday’s head-to-head with the Islanders dated back to the summer.

    “I remember in the summer when Don Sweeney and I sat down, this is the game that we looked like we were set up to fail,” Montgomery offered. “And everybody goes through it. There’s a couple of games every year where you look like you should have success and there’s games where it looks like it’s going to be a real battle.”

    But the Bruins were ready for battle — even as it went beyond regulation play and a five-minute overtime — and snatched two points from the Islanders in a night that got better as it went along.

    “In the second period, we started getting our legs going because your core temperature elevates when you’re around 7:30, 8:30 p.m. and that’s when you’re at your best,” Montgomery noted. “And I think that’s when we got our legs because we’re used to West Coast time where you really you gain an hour a day. So our bodies are on Mountain Time today. So it’s an incredible effort. It’s such a gutsy effort by that group to will themselves against a really good hockey team.”

    Here are the 98.5 The Sports Hub (dot com) 3 Stars of the game from a shootout win over New York

  • No. 3 Star: Pavel Zacha

    BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - OCTOBER 17: Pavel Zacha #18 of the Boston Bruins looks on during the first period against the Florida Panthers at TD Garden on October 17, 2022 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

    BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS – OCTOBER 17: Pavel Zacha #18 of the Boston Bruins looks on during the first period against the Florida Panthers at TD Garden on October 17, 2022 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

  • There’s a lot to love about the Bruins playing it safe with David Krejci and his lower-body injury. It’s a long, long season (especially if the Bruins have their say), and Krejci’s not getting any younger. Oh, and the Bruins have amassed points better than anybody else in the league through the first two months and change of hockey.

    But your comfort with that simply isn’t possible without the strong play of Pavel Zacha, who centered Jake DeBrusk and Taylor Hall once again, in place of Krejci in a second-line center role.

    After coming through with an absolute beauty of an assist on DeBrusk’s game-winning goal last Sunday in Vegas, Zacha once again brought his passing hands to the rink Tuesday and added two assists in the win.

    The assist on the Derek Forbort shorthanded goal was another absolute beauty, too, as Zacha hit the brakes and funneled the pass through two New York sticks on the way to Forbort’s tape.

    “I did not know that,” Montgomery admitted when asked if he knew Zacha was this kind of passer when the Bruins went out and acquired him from New Jersey. “But having spoken to a couple of coaches that have coached him, they told me that his hockey sense and his vision were really good.”

    Zacha, acquired in a one-for-one trade involving Erik Haula this past summer, is up to 19 points in 28 games with the Bruins, and his 16 assists are second-most on the team.

  • No. 2 Star: Derek Forbort

    Dec 13, 2022; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Bruins defenseman Derek Forbort (28) celebrates his shorthanded goal against the New York Islanders during the second period at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

    Dec 13, 2022; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Bruins defenseman Derek Forbort (28) celebrates his shorthanded goal against the New York Islanders during the second period at TD Garden. (Winslow Townson/USA TODAY Sports)

  • Listen, whenever Bruins defenseman Derek Forbort directly factors into a pair of goals on the way to a victory, the chances of him making the 3 Stars for that night sit somewhere between 97 and 100 percent.

    File Forbort’s Tuesday performance under the 100 percent category.

    With the Bruins out to a 1-0 lead, the B’s quick strike to make it 2-0 just moments later came with some big help from the 6-foot-4 Forbort driving towards Semyon Varlamov’s crease. It outright created the goal for Jake DeBrusk, actually, as Forbort’s drive forced Josh Bailey to get on his horse and try to deny Forbort what would’ve been a clean look on Varlamov. Bailey got back in time, but he also knocked the puck off his stick and through Varlamov in his bid to deny Forbort from going full Scorebort on the Islanders.

    But in the second period, Forbort did go full Scorebort on the Isles with a sweet shorthanded snipe to put the Bruins up by a 3-2 score with under two minutes remaining in the period.

  • “I think it was kind of like a three-on-three, so I wasn’t really too much ready to get up,” Forbort said when asked to break down his shorthanded marker. “And then Zacha’s got the puck and he’s such a good passer that I was like, ‘Screw it, may as well keep going’ and he found me and I shot it.”

    The shorthanded goal was the first shorty of Forbort’s NHL career, and made Forbort the first Bruins defenseman to score a shorthanded goal this season. He’s also the fourth different Bruins defenseman to score a shorthanded goal since the start of the 2021-22 season, making the B’s the only team to have four different defensemen to score a shorty over that timeframe (the Kraken entered Tuesday as the leader, with three).

    Forbort actually had a shot at a rarity of sorts prior to the third-period equalizer from Casey Cizikas, too, as his goal was shaping up to be the game-winning goal. Had it held, Forbort would’ve been the first Bruins defenseman to score a game-winning, shorthanded goal since Don Sweeney in February 1994.

  • No. 1 Star: Jake DeBrusk

    Dec 13, 2022; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Bruins left wing Jake DeBrusk (74) smiles at center Patrice Bergeron (37) after their shootout win over the New York Islanders at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson/USA TODAY Sports

    Dec 13, 2022; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Bruins left wing Jake DeBrusk (74) smiles at center Patrice Bergeron (37) after their shootout win over the New York Islanders at TD Garden. (Winslow Townson/USA TODAY Sports)

  • Even away from the top line, Jake DeBrusk is heating up.

    In his first outing since his game-winning goal in Vegas, No. 74 opened the scoring for the Bruins, added a second goal just 19 seconds later, assisted on Forbort’s shorthanded goal, and scored in the shootout.

    Just a high-impact night across the board, and even when he didn’t have the production to show for it, this game felt like a DeBrusk game from start to finish with his ability to attack the Islanders at will.

    “I think that’s his entire game,” Montgomery said of DeBrusk’s drives with the puck. “When he has the puck, he has the ability to put defensemen on their heels and I thought he was attacking defenseman. Like that rush in the overtime, I mean, wow. You know I thought he was ending it. I thought that was going to be the hat trick goal.”

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