Boston Bruins

Boston Bruins

Boston Bruins

  • The Boston Bruins are so good right now that the only way to beat them is with your goaltender doing a headstand.

    Logan Thompson put the Vegas Golden Knights on his shoulders for much of the runtime in Monday night’s game against the Bruins at TD Garden, which they started strong and won 4-3 in a shootout, mainly on the strength of 40 saves from Thompson on 43 shots. That’s good for an excellent .930 save percentage.

    Boston out-shot Vegas 43-24 in the game, including 35-16 in the final two periods and overtime. It took a power play for the Bruins to complete their comeback from down 3-0, then Thompson closed the door in both OT and the shootout. Thompson was the reason the Golden Knights were able to build their lead, and also the reason they didn’t blow the win.

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  • Goaltending has been the reason for the Bruins’ four losses, for the most part. Since the Ottawa Senators handed them their first defeat in a decidedly goaltending-needy 7-5 game, the B’s have run into opposing goalies with a combined .942 save percentage (97 saves on 103 shots), and gone 0-2-1 despite out-shooting opponents a combined 103-82.

    The Bruins have found a forward mix that is tiring to play against for even the deepest opponents, particularly since pairing Taylor Hall with Charlie Coyle on the third line. Hall scored the game-tying goal Monday night, while that line (Hall-Coyle-Trent Frederic) out-shot the Knights 7-1 and out-chanced them 6-0 in the high-danger areas at 5-on-5. That group is playing winning hockey at the moment. As it stands right now, it takes a heroic effort in net to upend that effort.

    “I guess that’s probably the way our streak was going to end,” Hall said after the game. “You know, we battled back, we do everything we can to try and win the game, and ultimately a good team won against us.”

  • Bruins goalie Jeremy Swayman, meanwhile, had the one slip-up it took for Vegas to stay out of reach. The third goal was a stoppable puck against Knights left wing Paul Cotter, who fired it past Swayman’s glove side from the high slot, despite a wide-open look at the shot.

    However, Swayman’s night qualifies more as “up-and-down” because he also rescued the B’s from certain disaster. He was forced to stop a Mark Stone backhand on an odd-man rush less than 30 seconds after Brad Marchand had scored the Bruins’ first goal to make it 3-1. He also stopped four shots during a Knights power play that came just over a minute after Hall’s tying goal.

    The Marchand goal-Swayman save sequence appeared to give the Bruins the momentum they needed to come back to tie it. From that point on through overtime, the Bruins out-shot the Golden Knights 24-11 and outscored them 2-0. But when it came down to the shootout, the better goalie on this night edged out the second point by stopping three of five Bruins shots.

  • Vegas may have earned that extra point in Bruce Cassidy’s return to Boston, but the team still got a dose of the reality of playing the 2022-23 Bruins. Their forwards come at you in waves and wear you out, and when you do get your chances against them, there’s always going to be a talented goalie at the end to challenge you. With that potent mix, the Bruins are establishing themselves as the toughest out in the league.

    It’s a long season, and health will only become more important as the season goes on. We’re still waiting for the Bruins to face real adversity, and how they respond when it arrives. But we have to cover the team today, right?

    Today, the Bruins are the hardest team to beat in hockey.

    “That’s leadership and teamwork, depth,” Swayman said. “Every line hounds teams down. We’re not easy to play against and everyone knows that. So, we’re going to keep doing that for the rest of the year.”

    Matt Dolloff is a writer and podcaster for Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Yell at him on Twitter @mattdolloff and follow him on Instagram @realmattdolloff. Check out all of Matt’s content here.

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