Zoey Yanco ’25
The month of February brought a swing of adversity for Boston’s beloved Bruins, who faced the loss of two key players: one temporarily and one forever. Following Brad Marchand’s Feb. 9 glove-dropping performance where he punched and high-sticked Penguins goalie Tristan Jerry, the infamous left winger faced a six game suspension. On that same day, former Bruins goalie Tuuka Rask hung up the skates and announced his retirement from the league. At the time, the Bruins were in a rocky stretch, unable to win two consecutive games at any point.
But as all sports fans know, the month of March brings a new wave of energy, which the Bruins seem to be riding. Since Marchand’s return to play on Feb. 24, the Bruins have won seven of nine games, putting the Black and Gold atop the Eastern Wild Card standings. With rookie goalie Jeremy Swayman stepping up and splitting time with fellow netminder Linus Ullmark, the Bruins seem to be hitting their stride at just the right time.
As ESPN focused their attention on March Madness mania this past weekend, the Bruins added to their winning streak with a 3-2 victory over the Arizona Coyotes last Saturday. The Coyotes’ season-high four game winning streak was snapped as the Black and Gold fought until the very last minutes, when hometown hero Charlie Coyle sniped a backhanded shot on a breakaway with 3:21 left in the third period. Coyle, a Weymouth, MA native, kept spirits high in the Garden, adding to teammate Craig Smith’s pair of goals that he netted earlier in the game.
Following Smith’s early points, the Coyotes fought hard to cut into the Bruins lead, and found the back of the net in the second period when Arizona winger Clayton Keller fired the puck past Swayman to make the score 2-1. The timing of Keller’s goal made the Bruins’ bench question its legitimacy, as the shot went off with only 0.6 seconds remaining before the second intermission. With the Bruins’ challenge of the goal unsuccessful, the Black and Gold looked to the third period to make an aggressive push towards another goal.
Early in the third period, bruiser Brad Marchand looked to a wide open Coyotes net to fire the puck, but with his shot unsuccessful, the Coyotes capitalized on the Bruins angst with another goal. Former Bruin Nick Ritchie took a rebound and pushed it past Swayman to make the score even, at 2-2 late in the final period. It only took a few minutes for Coyle to break away and bring victory to the Garden, with his late goal setting the standard for the next few games of Bruins play.
Following the win, Bruins Head Coach Bruce Cassidy emphasized the team’s need to stay hungry, as the league remains competitive. Maintaining his even demeanor, Cassidy said in a press conference after the game that any team could beat any team, and his squad would need to continue playing the right way if they wanted their success to persist.
With ol’ faithful captain Patrice Bergeon posting only one goal in the last five games, the latter half of the Bruins lineup will need to continue stepping up. Fan favorite David Pastrnak continues to stay hot with four goals and two assists in the past five games, but the Black and Gold will need depth in their roster if they want to secure the wild card spot in the 2022 playoffs.
Photo courtesy of NHL
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