It was a special night for many Boston Bruins players as they took on the Buffalo Sabers last night for game 81 and the final home game of the regular season. The main focus of last night was for the Bruins to just stay healthy as they gear up for a first-round playoff matchup next week. The Bruins got the job and more as they skated to a 5-0 win over Buffalo that saw Bergeron, Ullmark, and Hall reach some milestones.
The night started with Jeremey Swayman being honored with the NESN Seventh Player award as the rookie goalie has been a considerable part of the Bruin’s success all season.
Bergeron Makes History
Heading into the game, Captain Patrice Bergeron was sitting at 397 career goals as he was closing in on career milestone 400. Bergeron was able to get the job done last night as he notched his eighth career hat trick for his 398th, 399th, and 400th goals of his storied NHL career. Bergeron became just the fourth Bruins player to reach 400 career goals with the Franchise.
Bergeron got the scoring going early and often as he scored two goals in the second period to put Boston up 2-0, as they never looked back.
As the third period was coming to a close, it looked like Bergeron would have to wait till the next game to reach the remarkable feat. On his last shift of the night with the Bruins holding a commanding 4-0 lead, Bergeron took an offensive zone faceoff.
Bergeron did what he does best, and he won the faceoff, which blueliner Hampus Lindholm received. Bergeron then went into the slot, positioning himself for the milestone marker. He quickly took the feed from Charlie McAvoy and promptly fired home for his third of the night as he beat Sabers netminder Dustin Tokarski.
It was a special moment as his teammates gathered around, hugging and celebrating the 18-year veteran for his milestone. Linemate and longtime teammate Brad Marchand skated over to the net to retrieve the puck to ensure his close friend had number 400 to add to his trophy case.
The next accolade on the list for Bergeron is the 1,000-career points milestone which he is now 18 points shy of and will have to wait till next season to achieve.
Ullmark Continues Hot Streak
When joining a new team, getting comfortable and adjusting always takes some time. For Linus Ullmark, that time has finally come as the Bruins goaltender is now 9-1-0 over his last ten games. With his recent success over the second half of the season, Ullmark has solidified himself as the number goaltender for Boston as they head into the playoffs.
Last night Ullmark added another memorable moment to his Boston tenure as he recorded his first shutout as a Bruin. With the Bruin’s 5-0 win against Ullmark’s former team, the Buffalo Sabers, he checked off that box to further show his improvements since arriving in the offseason.
Ullmark was electric for Boston as he stopped all 37 shots he faced, with some being routine and some impressive. Ullmark will now get some much-needed rest over the next few days as he gears up for what many hope will be a deep playoff run.
This will be Ullmark’s first postseason after spending his first six seasons in hockey purgatory, and he couldn’t be more excited.
“I am excited. Whenever the thought has come into my head, I’m excited about the opportunity to play for the Cup. That’s what everybody strives for, to have the opportunity. It means a lot that my hard work and lady luck has been on my side as well. To end up in a place like Boston with great teammates and a great organization that brings its A-game every single game, it’s been great. And it can only be better from now on as well.”
Power Play Drought Comes to an End
For almost a month, it was a concern without taking advantage of the power play, especially with the playoffs starting next week. The Bruins hadn’t scored a power-play goal since April 2nd, when Erik Haula scored the go-ahead goal against the Columbus Blue Jackets. The drought saw them go 0-for-39 as many fans had flashbacks to the woes of 2011 and remembered they won a Stanley Cup that year.
Missing David Pastrnak due to injuries over that stretch certainly contributed to the downfall of the power-play unit, but with his return, things have looked up.
Last night, the drought ended as David Pastrnak was able to find the back of the net for his 40th goal of the season for a 3-0 lead 2:11 minutes into the third period.
The good news for the Bruins is that the power play kept the momentum as, again, in the third, they scored their second PPG of the night. This time was coming at the hands of Taylor Hall for his 20th goal of the season to give Boston a 4-0 cushion at 4:16 of the third.
This is the seventh time in his career that Hall has reached the 20-goal threshold as he becomes the Bruin’s fifth player this season to reach the mark.
Hall is enjoying his best season since 2017 when he won the Hart Memorial Trophy thanks to career highs in goals (39), assists (54), and points (93). The 30-year-old former first-round pick now has 20 goals and 41 assists for 61 points this season as he continues to be a steal for the Bruins, who acquired him at last season’s trade deadline from the Buffalo Sabers.
Bruins Turn Focus to Playoffs
The Bruins will now take on the Toronto Maple Leafs on the road to close out the season tonight. For the Bruins, tonight’s matchup will determine who they will play in the first round of this year’s playoffs.
If the Bruins walk away with a point or two and the Tampa Bay Lightning lose, Boston would leapfrog them for the third spot in the Atlantic, setting up a first-round matchup with Toronto. If the Lightning wins, the Bruins will stay where they are and take on the Carolina Hurricanes to kick off the first round.
No matter who they play, the Bruins are fully healthy and look ready to make some noise as they chase Stanley Cup glory yet again. The Bruins could be poised for a deep run with the power-play looking to be fixed and Linus Ullmark playing at the top of his game.