On Friday, Jan. 31, the Boston Bruins defeated the Winnipeg Jets 2-1 behind stalwart goalie Tuukka Rask’s 37 saves.
Jets forward Patrik Laine managed to poke one past Rask just over five minutes in the first, sitting on his blindside and taking a loose feed from forward Nikolaj Ehler. Bruins forward Patrice Bergeron and Jake DeBrusk had several opportunities against Jets goaltender Laurent Brossoit, efficiently notching a tally each for Boston on a combined seven shots on goal. Laine scored the lone goal for the Jets as they fall to 25-23-4 on the season.
On Saturday, Feb. 1, the Bruins blew out the Minnesota Wild by a final score of 6-1, winning their fourth straight game. Defenseman Torey Krug had two goals and two assists on the night, and forward David Pastrnak also scored a goal and picked up two assists. Goaltender Jaroslav Halak made 25 saves on 26 shots for the Bruins. Boston’s goaltender rotation continues to be a strength for the Atlantic Division’s first-place team. The Boston Bruins are second in the overall standings with 74 points, only one point behind first place. The Bruins have won three straight games and have a 7-3-0 record in the last ten games. Boston has a 31-10-12 record and is first in the Atlantic Division.
Staring the Bruins down from across the Eastern Conference, the looming Washington Capitals are continuing to soar following the all-star break. They are currently in first place in the Eastern Conference and in the Metropolitan Division. Their record is 35-12-5 and they are currently 7-3-0 in the last ten games. Left winger Alex Ovechkin and defenseman John Carlson continue to propel this team forward with strong leadership upfront, while a strong veteran nucleus surrounding them will make this team a nightmare moving forward.
Over in the Western Conference, the Vancouver Canucks have been riding a five-game win streak following a devastating loss to the Winnipeg Jets 4-0 on Jan. 14. Vancouver has routed the Arizona Coyotes, St. Louis Blues and New York Islanders, as well as the San Jose Sharks twice. Forwards Elias Pettersson and Brock Boeser, both under the age of 22, continue to develop and improve for the Canucks, providing Vancouver a young pair of talented players to build around. Goaltender Jacob Markstrom sits at a 20-13 record, allowing 2.7 goals per game with a 91.7% save percentage.
The St. Louis Blues are in first place in the Western Conference with a record of 31-14-8 and 70 points, holding a six-point lead over the Canucks. They are 5-4-1 in their last ten games, looking to improve that after the All-Star break. On Saturday, Feb. 1, the Blues fell to the Winnipeg Jets 5-2, though not without a close contest. The game featured intense play, especially in front of the goals, but once the Jets grabbed the lead, they ran away with the game. St. Louis played smart in their zone despite being down, but effective offensive formations and man advantages gave Winnipeg the edge in the contest. With a loss such as this and their already deteriorating lead over the rest of the conference, it may be time for coach Craig Berube to hit the drawing board for some new formations in the defensive zone.