Talking Points: DeBrusk makes huge statement vs. Islanders


GOLD STAR: A huge night for Jake DeBrusk, who steps up to help protect a teammate and then scores the game-winning goal. Unfortunately, he came up one assist short of the Gordie Howe hat trick, but it was great to see the 21-year-old make a huge statement in a game where much of the talk was around Mathew Barzal instead of him. DeBrusk started his night by watching Charlie McAvoy get taken out with a big hit in front of the Islanders bench, and his first response was to step in for his fallen teammate. DeBrusk got 17 minutes in penalties for his troubles in a really weak sauce instigator call, but then scored on his very first shift after coming out of the penalty box in the third period for the game-winner. DeBrusk finished with four shots on net, a hit, a goal and a plus-1 rating in 7:52 of ice time while showing his teammates what kind of character he has inside. That’s good stuff.

BLACK EYE: I’m going with Steve Kozari, Graham Skilliter, Matt MacPherson and Brian Murphy as the weight that was dragging this game down as they tossed three different five-minute major penalties at the Bruins in one game. One was obviously for a very weak instigator call where Jake DeBrusk waited for Casey Cizikas to drop the gloves before engaging him after his hit on Charlie McAvoy, and it continued in the second period with a late Brad Marchand hit on John Tavares. Marchand was aggravated by Tavares earlier in the shift and it was definitely a penalty, but it’s hard to understand why the refs went with a five-minute major then. Then David Backes was tangling with Andrew Ladd in the third period, and it looked like the two players were going to drop the gloves. Instead, the refs step in and they somehow whistle David Backes for a game misconduct and five-minute major for headbutting. It’s the first time I’ve ever seen that call in my almost 15 years covering the league, and I didn’t see anything that warranted that type of book being thrown at him.This was a real head-scratcher of a game as far as officiating.

TURNING POINT: The Islanders outshot the Bruins by a 13-10 margin in the third period, but that was to be expected as the B’s were whistled for two different five-minute majors while trying to protect a fairly slim two-goal lead. It eventually became a one-goal lead, but they were able to kill off both extended Islander power plays in the final period, and also kicked in their own empty net insurance goal at the very end for good measure. The Bruins won the game by scoring goals in the second and third period, but they also won the game by successfully protecting that small lead against an Islanders team looking to get at least a point out of them.

HONORABLE MENTION: Tuukka Rask was excellent for the Bruins stopping 30-of-31 shots and continues to take his game in an upward trend after starting the year so shakily. Rask is riding a four-game winning streak, sporting a .946 save percentage in his last six games dating back to the end of his four-game exile while Anton Khudobin stepped in for starting duties. The Bruins are playing better, more concerted defense in front of him, but Rask is also playing confident and calm hockey between the pipes while turning away nearly everything he sees. The Bruins are a better team when Rask has his best game going, and he’s getting into that zone with his goaltending right now.

BY THE NUMBERS: 8 – The number of consecutive games where David Pastrnak has a point after racking up two assists in the win over the Isles.

QUOTE TO NOTE: “It’s hard to say if it’s the best but it’s been, it was really good. I thought tonight we talked about the one thing that we had to really take care of was our D [defensive] zone tonight. We definitely did that, especially against an offensive-minded team like the Islanders.” – Patrice Bergeron, on holding down the Islanders to a single goal despite three different five-minute major penalties for the B’s. 


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