While still not decided, the Bruins’ race against Ottawa for the Northeast Division title lacks for drama now that Boston leads the Senators by six points and needs just clinch a tie to repeat as division champion.
However, a better race is brewing with just four games remaining in the Bruins’ season. Tyler Seguin and Brad Marchand, who both scored in the Bruins’ 6-3 win over the New York Islanders today, are all tied up for the team goal lead.
Marchand briefly took the lead on Seguin, with an assist from Seguin, at 3:13 of the third period. That goal put the Bruins ahead, 3-2. But at 10:37, Seguin evened up the race with a goal of his own. Marchand earned the second assist on that score.
Seguin’s goal wound up as the game-winner.
While Milan Lucic (24 goals) has a chance to come from behind and win this race, watching Marchand and Seguin, who are now on the same line again, battle to the finish should add some juice to Boston’s pre-playoff tune-up games.
For more on Marchand’s sophomore season, read my CBSBoston.com column.
▪Without bogging this blog down with math, the Bruins’ win and Ottawa’s shootout win means the Bruins need two points to clinch the divisional crown. Ottawa plays at Long Island Sunday afternoon, a few hours before the Bruins and New York Rangers play. So a regulation loss by the Senators would give the Bruins the division without playing. Boston has the same situation with Florida in terms of the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference.
▪David Krejci scored two goals to run his season’s total to a career-high 23. Krejci scored 22 back in 2008-09. Amazingly, he’s posted that total while averaging just 1.85 shots on net per game. Krejci averaged 2.09 shots per night last season and scored just 13 goals. He averaged 1.78 shots per game during that 22-goal season three years ago. So, so much for shooting more to score more.
▪Goaltender Marty Turco was serviceable in his third start with 19 saves on 22 shots. He made a great poke check on a Michael Grabner breakaway after the Bruins had gone up 6-3. With the playoffs one week away, the Bruins are going to have to consider giving Anton Khudobin at least one NHL tune-up unless they think Tuukka Rask can get a game in before the postseason. If this was Turco’s last game for the Bruins, he earned his keep during his brief stint.
▪Chris Kelly reached 20 goals to give the Bruins six players with that many this season. It’s the most since they had seven 20-goal scorers in the 2008-09 season.
▪Mike Mottau got back in the lineup with both Dennis Seidenberg and Adam McQuaid sidelined by injury. The veteran logged 16:57 and fired one shot on net. In fact, the defensemen’s ice time was so well-balanced, no one played more than Andrew Ference’s 22:05. Zdeno Chara played just 21:27.
▪Chara recorded two assists and reached 50 points on the season for the third time in his career.