5 things we learned as Frank Vatrano's hat trick leads Bruins past Penguins

DJ Bean
December 18, 2015 - 4:44 pm
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[caption id="attachment_54650" align="alignright" width="150"] Frank Vatrano[/caption] Frank Vatrano had gone nine straight games without a goal. He now has three in his last 10 games. Vatrano busted out of his scoring slump with the first hat trick of his career as the Bruins separated in the third period to enjoy a 6-2 victory at the Penguins at CONSOL Energy Center. The victory saw the Bruins sweep this week'€™s home-and-home series with the Penguins. Patrice Bergeron also had a multi-goal game, as he netted a shorthanded tally in the second and added an even-strength goal early in the third to extend Boston'€™s lead. The goals brought his season total to 11, putting him behind only Brad Marchand (15) and Loui Eriksson (12) on the Bruins this season. He is also at over a point-per-game pace this season with 32 points in 31 games. As for Tuukka Rask, the Bruins'€™ top netminder stood tall against a struggling Penguins offense for his eighth win in his last 10 appearances (8-0-2). With 29 saves on Friday, Rask has a .959 save percentage over his last 10 games. The Bruins would have another goal in the third period, but a goal from Landon Ferraro was not allowed due to what the officials found to be goaltender interference committed by Max Talbot. Here are four more things we learned Friday night: UMASS NIGHT Vatrano wasn'€™t the only UMass product with a couple of points Friday, as his former teammate in Conor Sheary had both a goal and an assist for the first two points of his career. Sheary'€™s goal came on a bit of bad luck for the Bruins, as Bergeron fanned on a puck behind the net, leading Sidney Crosby to send it in front for Sheary. The Melrose native had the secondary helper on a second-period goal from Trevor Daley. SHORTHANDED MAGIC Bergeron took a holding penalty in the first period to put him at 20 penalty minutes on the season, which puts him on pace to set a new career-high for the third straight year. With the Bruins managing to kill off the ensuing Penguins power play without their best penalty-killing forward, Bergeron made up for it the following period. With Kevan Miller in the box for tripping Sheary early in the second, Brad Marchand won a puck high in the Penguins zone and fed it to his penalty-killing partner. Bergeron rewarded Marchand for his work by flicking the puck past Jeff Zatkoff for the Bruins'€™ sixth shorthanded goal of the season.

While the Bruins'€™ penalty kill was technically a perfect 5-for-5 on the night, a point shot from Daley made its way through traffic and past Rask just seconds after rate expiration of Miller'€™s penalty. POINTS KEEP COMING FOR SPOONER After a two-point night for Ryan Spooner Wednesday (two assists; what appeared to be a second-period Spooner goal was credited to Jimmy Hayes, as it apparently hit the shaft of his stick), the young Bruins center doubled that production on Friday with a career-best four-assist night. Spooner took the puck from the wall after some strong work along the wall from Ferraro, walked it over to the faceoff dot and fed it back to Vatrano, who snapped the puck past Zatkoff to tie the game at one goal apiece. Spooner assisted all three of Vatrano's goals and Loui Eriksson's power play goal. With Spooner'€™s four assist on Friday, he now has 10 points (three goals, seven assists) over his last six games. Another point wasn'€™t the only thing Spooner dropped on Friday. Following a big hit from Patric Hornqvist on Dennis Seidenberg in the second period, Spooner threw his gloves down and went after the Penguins forward. Hornqvist was not interesting in fighting, resulting in an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on Spooner. The fight would have been the first of Spooner'€™s professional career and quite possibly of his life, as Spooner did not fight at the OHL level either. THREE STRAIGHT FOR ERIKSSON Eriksson was relentless in trying to jam a loose puck past Zatkoff during a second-period Bruins power play, eventually doing so for his 12th goal of the year. The tally also made it three straight games with a goal for Eriksson, who will easily surpass the 22 goals he scored last season as long as he stays healthy. Eriksson could have had two power play goals on the night, but he couldn'€™t control a slap pass from Krug at the right circle despite having a wide open net.
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