Wednesday, December 29, 2010
My apologies Claude, apparently the Boston Bruins still listen to you
I can't put a finger on it as to the exact reason why (which doesn't matter) but the Boston Bruins are back to playing good hockey.
They won their third straight game, 4-3 last night over the Tampa Bay Lightning at the St. Pete Times Forum, in what will definitely go down as one of their most start-to-finish exciting contests of 2010-2011.
Three times the Bruins (20-11-4) went ahead by a goal, only to have the Lightning (21-11-5) respond each time by tying it up.
However, Mark Recchi wouldn't let Boston go to overtime for the second consecutive night as he scored a clutchtastic goal on a snap shot with 20 seconds left in regulation.
None of that would have been possible without more top-notch goaltending by Tim Thomas (31 saves). Conversely, Tampa Bay goaltender Dan Ellis (25 saves) is the weak link that will hold back one of the NHL's most dynamic, explosive teams from reaching their full potential (sound familiar Washington Capitals?).
Michael Ryder got the party started early for the Bs he notched a power-play goal 28 seconds into the game, from Recchi and Dennis Seidenberg.
Steven Stamkos, the savior of my terrible fantasy hockey team, answered with a power-play strike of his own less than seven minutes later from Brett Clark and Ryan Malone.
A nice moment occurred in the second period as Bruins rookie defenseman Steve Kampfer scored his first NHL goal, from Marc Savard and Nathan Horton.
Back from a broken hand, Vincent Lecavalier tied it at 2 at 14:02 in the second period from Sean Bergenheim and Pavel Kubina.
That set the stage for a thrilling third period as Brad Marchand (returning after missing 3 games) scored from Shawn Thornton and Gregory Campbell. Yes, it is annoying how much Julien chooses to play the fourth line at times but you have to admit that they've been great so far this season.
Thomas' old UVM teammate Martin St. Louis tied it one last time at 3 with help from Stamkos and Kubina.
Recchi's game-winner was assisted by Patrice Bergeron and Seidenberg.
Tomorrow night is the middle game of the Bruins' five-game road trip and it could be a messy one: vs. the Atlanta Thrashers, who had a wannabe MMA battle in Boston last Thursday night.
No doubt Milan Lucic will be at the center of it all after he was targeted last week and later fined for a punch on Freddy Meyer while he was held by the referees.
Don't forget to tell all your friends in Atlanta that love hockey, oh nevermind.