March 23, 2023

Welcome to the latest edition of the Boston Bruins’ 3 Up, 3 Down for the 2022-23 season. This will be a weekly column released on Mondays chronicling the highs and lows of the previous seven days.

It was a week that spanned from coast to coast for the Boston Bruins. On Jan. 2, they hosted and won the 2023 Winter Classic at Fenway Park, before heading out west for a three-game road trip. Despite three wins, there was some bad news for the Black and Gold that will have a long-lasting effect moving forward.

Boston Bruins 3 Up, 3 Down
Boston Bruins 3 Up, 3 Down (The Hockey Writers)

As the Bruins head into a three-day break before returning home, let’s look back at the last seven days with the latest Bruins’ 3 Up, 3 Down.

Plus One: Jake DeBrusk, Winter Classic Hero

Trailing 1-0 through two periods against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Jan. 2 at Fenway Park in the Winter Classic, the Bruins played two uninspired periods of hockey in front of nearly 40,000 fans. Things all changed in the third period and thanks to Jake DeBrusk, the final 20 minutes was a period that fans won’t soon forget.

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DeBrusk scored two goals in the third period, including the game-winner with 2:24 left off a pass from Taylor Hall, as once again, the Bruins rallied for a 2-1 win over the Penguins. It was the second time this season that the Black and Gold rallied from a third-period deficit to beat Pittsburgh. On Nov. 1, they rallied from a 5-2 deficit for a 6-5 overtime win. Linus Ullmark made 26 saves in the Winter Classic and was a big reason why the Bruins had a chance in the final period to pull out the victory.

Minus One: Jake DeBrusk Injury Overshadows Winter Classic

The only negative to come out of the Winter Classic was the news that DeBrusk fractured his fibula and he will be out for a while. It’s a blow to the Bruins as the 14th overall pick of the 2015 Entry Draft was on pace to shatter his career-high in goals of 27 with 16 in the first half of the season. Even more impressive is the fact that he played the third period and scored his goals despite his injury. You would have never known he was injured watching him. Boston has avoided any long-term injuries to their forwards through the first half of 2022-23, but their depth will be looked upon to carry the load in DeBrusk’s absence.

Plus Two: Linus Ullmark Headed to All-Star Game

On Jan. 5, it was announced that Ullmark will be headed to the 2023 All-Star Game to take place in Florida on Feb. 3 and 4. There should be no surprise that the Bruins’ second-year goalie got picked considering the 2022-23 season he’s having. He’s 22-1-1, with a 1.87 goals-against average (GAA) and a .938 save percentage (SV%), leading the NHL in each category. There were questions as to whether or not he could follow up his first season in Boston with a second strong one and he proved he is more than capable.

Minus Two: Bruins Defense Springing Leaks

One of the more noticeable issues that have been an issue lately for the Bruins has been the play of their defense, mainly in the neutral zone and in the defensive end. Opponents have had odd-man rushes against Ullmark and Jeremy Swayman, while turnovers in the defensive end have begun to rare their ugly heads.

Hampus Lindholm Boston Bruins
Hampus Lindholm, Boston Bruins (Photo by Steve Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images)

The biggest turnover happened against the San Jose Sharks on Jan. 7 in the second period and the Black and Gold clung to a 2-1 lead. After killing off another penalty, Connor Clifton played the puck behind the net to Hampus Lindholm, who lost control of the puck in the corner, before going out in front of the net when Mario Ferraro’s wrist shot from the point deflected off of the Bruins defenseman’s back and past a stunned Ullmark. 

Lindholm isn’t alone with the sloppy play in the defensive end, but it is something that needs to be cleaned up with the Seattle Kraken and Toronto Maple Leafs coming up and both of those teams will make the Bruins pay for any mistakes in the defensive zone.

Plus Three: Brad Marchand & David Pastrnak

It is widely known that Marchand missed the first three weeks of the season recovering from offseason hip surgery and it took the veteran some time to get his offensive game going. Through the end of November and December, the first-line left wing struggled to put the puck into the net, but in the last seven days, his offensive game is rounding into form.

Brad Marchand Boston Bruins
Brad Marchand, Boston Bruins (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

In four games last week, he had three goals and four assists. He set up DeBrusk for the game-tying goal in the Winter Classic, then had a power play goal against the Los Angeles Kings on Jan. 5 with two assists. Two nights later against the Sharks, he opened the scoring just 1:03 into the game when he went on an end-to-end rush and finished with a backhander past James Reimer for an early lead to set the tone. 

David Pastrnak had a trip he won’t soon forget. In three games, he had seven goals, including a hat trick against the Anaheim Ducks on Jan. 8. He scored in the first period, then added a power play goal in the second and his third goal just 17 seconds later on a breakaway. He is up to 32 goals and now is on the heels of Connor McDavid of the Edmonton Oilers for the league lead in goals.

Minus Three: Fabian Lysell’s 2023 WJC

Fabian Lysell was looking to take another stride in his development in the 2023 World Junior Championship (WJC), but the 21st overall pick in the 2021 Entry Draft finished with no points in seven games. Going scoreless was not the biggest news surrounding the talented forward, but it was how his tournament ended. In the Bronze Medal game against the United States, Lysell was called for a five-minute major for a hit to the head and watched the rest of the game from the locker room in Sweden’s 8-7 overtime loss on Jan. 5.

Following the tournament, the Bruins top prospect returned to the Providence Bruins in the American Hockey League (AHL) and played in the P-Bruins 2-1 loss to the Utica Comets Jan. 8 where he picked up an assist on the only goal by Providence. With DeBrusk’s injury, you have to wonder if he’s one more injury away from making his NHL debut.

After a three-game road trip, the Bruins return for a three-game homestand with the NHL’s best record. Upcoming games against the Kraken, Maple Leafs, and Philadelphia Flyers will test their 22-game home unbeaten streak at 19-0-3 and they will begin the second half of the season against two playoff teams in the Kraken and Maple Leafs, who would both love to hand the Black and Gold their first regulation loss on TD Garden ice.

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