It was an eventful final week to the 2021-22 regular season for the Boston Bruins. In this edition of Bruins Weekly, we look back at the week leading up to the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the Black and Gold against the Carolina Hurricanes and we will also look back at Game 1 from Monday night.
Game 1 Against Carolina Resembles Regular Season
The Bruins lost Game 1 Monday to the Hurricanes, 5-1, and the same struggles that appeared in the regular season reappeared in the first game. Boston was outscored 16-1 in the three regular-season meetings and held to one goal on 35 shots by Antti Raanta. The Bruins struggled with their power play against the top penalty-killing team in the regular season, while having their own defensive breakdowns.
The Bruins are as healthy as they have been in a long time with David Pastrnak and Hampus Lindholm back in the lineup, but they need to fix their offensive struggles quickly before it’s too late against Carolina.
DeBrusk Records 25th Goal
When the news broke in late November about Jake DeBrusk requesting a trade from the Bruins, it was thought that move would come in a matter of time. General manager (GM) Don Sweeney held onto the 14th overall pick in the 2015 Entry Draft through the trade deadline in March, despite making any team acquiring him easier by signing him to a two-year contract extension to avoid a $4.41 million qualifying offer this summer.
Sweeney held onto DeBrusk who is now a vital part of the Bruins’ first line with Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron. The 25-year-old collected his 25th goal of the season in a 5-2 regular-season loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs on April 29. His power-play tally in the third period cut the deficit to 4-2 before an empty-net goal in the final minute accounted for the fifth and final Toronto goal.
This was the second time in his fifth NHL season that DeBrusk has scored at least 20 goals. He first did it in the 2018-19 season, before finishing the 2019-20 shortened 70-game season with 19. There is no doubt that the talent is there for him to be a consistent 20-goal scorer and one day, he will break through to the 30-goal mark.
Foligno Still Waiting for 500th Career Point
Since picking up an assist in the Bruins’ 3-2 loss to the Ottawa Senators on April 14, Nick Foligno has been sitting on 499 career points, waiting to record that one more point to reach 500 for his career. He thought he scored against the Maple Leafs, but after review, it was called back.
In the third period, Foligno was camped out in front of the net when he was able to jam home a loose puck for the Bruins’ second goal of the game. Or so everyone thought. Linemate Curtis Lazar collected the puck from the net for his linemate, but Toronto coach Sheldon Keefe had other ideas.
Keefe challenged the goal for offsides on the Boston zone entry and after review, the linesmen determined the play to be offsides and the goal came off the board. Foligno struggled in his first season with the Black and Gold with just two goals and 11 assists, primarly playing in the bottom six.
Bruins Finally End Power Play Drought
It had to end eventually, right? Stuck in one of the worst power-play struggles in recent memory, the Bruins finally ended their drought at 0-for-39 in the third period of a 5-0 win over the Buffalo Sabres on April 28.
In the third period and after going scoreless on their previous two chances in the game, Pastrnak scored on a partial breakaway for a sense of relief heading into the playoffs. Just over two minutes later, Taylor Hall added another power-play tally, before DeBrusk potted another man-advantage goal the next night in Toronto. Fixing the struggles on the power play was a must heading into the series against the Hurricanes.
Coyle Completes Full Regular Season
Going into the season, there was some concern surrounding the health of Charlie Coyle. The veteran was coming off of offseason surgery and began the season as the second-line center, despite missing most of training camp. His durability should never be questioned after the 2021-22 season.
Despite coach Bruce Cassidy choosing to rest a lot of his top players in the regular-season final against the Maple Leafs, Coyle played and finished the season playing in all 82 games. Considering his past injury history, playing in all 82 games is quite the feat for the Massachusetts native.
The Week Ahead
- Wednesday: at Carolina Hurricanes (Game 2), 7 p.m.
- Friday: vs. Carolina Hurricanes (Game 3), 7 p.m.
- Sunday: vs. Carolina Hurricanes (Game 4), 12:30 p.m.
- Tuesday: at Carolina Hurricanes(Game 5, if necessary), 7 p.m.
Scott Roche covers the Boston Bruins for The Hockey Writers. A frequent user of the Oxford comma. Scott has been a sports writer for 25 years for different sites and daily newspapers. Writing started out as a hobby, but it has become a passion for Scott over the years.