What we learned from the Bruins' overtime win over Ottawa

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Here’s What We Learned in the Bruins 2-1 overtime victory over the Senators at the Canadian Tire Centre that gave them a clean sweep of Toronto and Ottawa last weekend

1. Some of the other offensive providers for the Bruins are beginning to step up, and it’s giving them the offensive punch they need to win. Sunday’s win over the Senators was much more in line with so many games during this period without Zdeno Chara and Patrice Bergeron, and was a one-goal game featuring solid defense, superior goaltending and just enough offense to earn the two points. This time it was Torey Krug finally stepping up and providing some goal-scoring punch this weekend with a long bomb point shot for a goal on Saturday against Toronto for his first goal of the season, and then crashing down low to cash in on the overtime game-winner on Sunday against the Senators. For a player that’s pretty regularly in double-digits in goals every season, it was a long time coming and much needed among a defensemen group that’s been lacking in the offensive punch with Krug, Charlie McAvoy and  Chara all missing chunks of time at points this season. Krug tends to provide big offense in bunches (2 goals and five points in two games this weekend), so this could be a welcome hot streak with the B’s needing all the offense they can muster these days.  

2. Tuukka Rask has traditionally been lights out in December, and he’s doing it again this holiday season with a stellar performance in Ottawa where he stopped 27-of-28 shots in the overtime victory. One misstep by Rask would have been the difference between winning and losing, but instead he held strong in the third period with a couple of excellent saves while the Bruins began tilting the ice and building toward the overtime game-winner. Rask is 1-2 so far in December, but has a 2.34 goals against average and .917 save percentage that isn’t bad, and will likely get even better if he has a few more games like he did on Sunday night in Ottawa. His best stop in the third period, mostly controlled by Boston, was a flashy glove save on a 2-on-1 with Mark Stone firing at the Boston net after a David Pastrnak turnover. There was no hesitation or flinching in Rask’s game and he instead played it calm until the B’s finally finished an offensive chance and solved Mike McKenna in overtime. In their weakened state the Bruins need superb goaltending right now and they are 100 percent getting it from both Rask and Jaroslav Halak.

3.  Sean Kuraly might not be the traditional tough guy as a former college player now making his living as a fourth line center. But he showed plenty of courage and willingness to take one for the team when he tangled with the mammoth defenseman Ben Harpur, broke his nose after a big uppercut connected with his face, then watched as the Bruins were awarded a power play for Harpur quick-punching Kuraly after rapidly dropping his gloves in the fracas. The Bruins scored the game-tying goal with Brad Marchand on the ensuing power play, and made the entire sequence worth it for Kuraly as it directly helped build to the OT victory. These are the kinds of things the B’s can manufacture when they’re a little more aggressive in the scrapping and nastiness department. Kuraly was certainly on the receiving end this time around, but he showed a much more aggressive demeanor on the ice this weekend. That’s exactly what the Bruins need out of their energy line guys.

PLUS

--Brad Marchand scored the power play goal in the second period that tied the game, and led the Bruins with nine shots on net while playing an extremely active game in his 23 minutes of ice time. This is the Marchand the B’s need to see with some of their other big guns out.

--Torey Krug factored into both goals as he had the secondary assist on the PP goal for Marchand, and then scored the overtime game-winner while jumping to the front of the net. Krug finished with two goals and five points over the weekend and is clearly beginning to feel it offensively.

--Sean Kuraly mixed it up with huge D-man Ben Harpur, ended up getting bloodied big time when he caught a right-handed uppercut, but also drew an instigator penalty that led to the game-tying goal. In his 11:48 of ice time he also finished with three shots on net, one hit and won 3-of-4 face-offs. Solid night.  

MINUS

--Chris Tierney has been a solid player for the Senators on offense this season, but he had zero shots on net in over 22 minutes of ice time and really wasn’t much of a factor beyond playing a solid center position on draws and the two-way game.

--Brad Marchand was excellent, but also took an elbowing penalty while stick-handling in the offensive zone when the Bruins were already killing a penalty. The Bruins killed the 5-on-3 but it wasn’t a good decision considering how closely the refs watch No. 63’s every move.

--It was kind of a weak-sauce move by Ben Harpur to quickly drop the gloves before Sean Kuraly was ready to go, and then hammer him with an uppercut that stopped the center right in his tracks. When you’re a 6-foot-6 defenseman you need to at least give an opponent the chance to drop their stick, gloves and at least prepare themselves to be punched. That’s why he got the instigator.

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