The game between the Boston Bruins and the Winnipeg Jets went 48:16 before either team got on the board. Torey Krug notched the first goal of the game 8:16 of the third unassisted, managing to get the puck top shelf on Connor Hellebuyck. However, before the Bruins could truly appreciate the lead, the Jets responded. It was just 57 seconds later that Patrik Laine put the Jets on the score board. Given how long it took for either team to score, it was not too surprising that the game required extra time, ultimately going to the shootout.
For Tuukka Rask, he would face 38 shots, saving 37. On the opposite end of the ice, Hellebuyck would deny 32 of 33 shots. It was a night for the goalies, to be sure. And for Hellebuyck, it was a homecoming of sorts, having spent two years with the University of Massachusetts-Lowell, including the first year UML won the Hockey East Championship in 2014, which is played at TD Garden.
“I like this arena. The ice is a little bit soft and it’s kind of good for my edges and I don’t know, I seem to find a liking here,” Hellebuyck shared after the game.
While the Jets took a point, which is always a good thing, the 24-year-old netminder doesn’t want it to become a habit.
“We always feel good about a point, but it’s happening a little too much to my liking, especially in the shootout,” he stated. “I take shootouts personally and I don’t like losing them so we got a point but we want more.”
And indeed, Hellebuyck did take losing the shootout personally.
“Well I could have made two saves but that’s being hard on myself,” he continued. “You know I want those and I’ve been working hard at it and I’ve been practicing pretty hard on my breakaways and sometimes they make a good shot and sometimes they get a little bit of luck.”
When the game came down to the shootout, that is when goalies needed to be at their best. The Jets Bryan Little got his shot past Rask in the first round, while Hellebuyck denied Brad Marchand’s wrist shot. Laine was second up for the Jets, but he lost the puck off his stick. David Pastrnak got his past the Jets goaltender and just like everything else in the game, the shootout would not be solved in three rounds. As they went to the fourth, Rask stopped Nikolaj Ehlers, however, Charlie McAvoy—celebrating his 20th birthday—would thread the puck between Hellebuyck’s blocker and pad to give the Bruins the win.
“Cherry on top of a great effort by our team,” McAvoy modestly said about his winning goal on his birthday. “You know, no matter who’s in the lineup we look at our chart and we say that’s the winning lineup. Regardless of who’s hurt or who’s sick or what’s happening in our room, we always feel like we can win if we play the right way, and tonight we did for 65 minutes and played good, and we were trying to stick to our identity there and, you know, it goes all the way there, the distance, and we were able to come out on top.”
Birthday noogies. pic.twitter.com/f7nnnB3azN
— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) December 22, 2017
The Bruins have now put three wins together and have a 7-2-1 in their last ten games. They have one more on Saturday as the Detroit Red Wings come to Boston before the Christmas break. Obviously they would like to take a win into that break.