When the Bruins signed Erik Haula in the offseason, not much was thought of, as he was projected to be a bottom-six forward. Fast forward to this point in the season, and Haula has been quite the revelation for Boston this season. Haula was never known to be a steady point producer throughout his career, with his one season in Vegas being an outlier. But this season, the second-line center has settled in nicely as he’s elevated his game playing alongside Taylor Hall and David Pastrnak.
On Sunday night, Haula continued his resurgent season but netting his 16th and 17th goals of the season, which is the second-highest total of his nine-year career behind his career-high 29 goals in 2017-2018. Haula has also tied his career-high in assists with 26, and his 43 points are second-best behind his career-best of 55. What started as a slow start has seen Haula rebound and help the second line find balance as he anchors it for head coach Bruce Cassidy.
Haula’s first goal of the night made heads turn not just because of how it went but what the goal meant. Erik Haula became just the fourth Bruins player to ever score on a penalty shot against the Canadiens, thanks to his rather unusual goal. In almost 25 years, it was the first time that a Boston player netted a penalty shot against the rival Habs.
Haula joins a list of Bruins players that have scored on a penalty shot against the Canadiens, including Tim Taylor on April 15th of 1998, Leo Boivin on January 4th of 1964, and Woody Dumart on January 14th of 1940.
To add to the specialty of the goal, it also marks the second penalty shot to be scored this season for Boston, as Brad Marchand scored one earlier in the season on October 16ht against the Dallas Stars. Boston is now tied for first in the NHL for penalty shot goals as their two goals match none other than the Montreal Canadiens for the lead.
The Bruins look to keep Haula hot as they march into the playoffs looking to make a deep run. If Haula can continue to produce more than expected, the Bruins have a good chance of making some noise as they seek their first Stanley Cup Championship since 2011.