Thursday, October 20, 2011
Bruins Rebound, Beat Toronto 6-2
David Krejci returned and the new look top line dominated as the Bruins defeated the Maple Leafs (their first regulation loss of the season) 6-2 at the Garden tonight. It was a game that the Bruins had to have, especially given their disappointing start.
After a few minutes of back and forth action, Shawn Thornton dropped the gloves with fellow heavyweight (and former Bruin) Colton Orr. Although it was a fairly even battle, Thornton did a great job setting the tone for the B's tonight.
The Leafs got on the board first when David Steckel scored his first goal of the year off of a great feed from Nazem Kadri (great name). After falling behind yet again, it was up to the B's to bounce back and answer, something that they have struggled with in this young season. Oddly enough, it was the power play that tied the game midway through the first. After Jonas Gustavsson (37 saves) stopped a Zdeno Chara blast, Nathan Horton (2nd of the season) was able to control the rebound and beat the Leafs netminder.
On their next power play opportunity, Chara got another chance to put a laser beam on net, this time taking a nice pass from Andrew Ference (3 assists) and blasting it past Gustavsson from the left faceoff dot for his first goal of the season. All of this was set up by a slick pass from Tyler Seguin (1 goal, 2 assists) to Ference, which took the defense out of position just enough to free up Chara.
Your new first line center Chris Kelly scored his second goal of the year shortly after, taking a centering pass from Milan Lucic and burying the loose puck in the crease. It certainly wasn't the prettiest goal but it's nice to see the Bruins start to get back to their grinding, rush the net style of play.
The second period scoreless but the highlights were a pair of saves by Tim Thomas (26 saves; 3-2-0). The first came on Mikhail Grabovski breakaway attempt, where Thomas made a sprawling glove save while on his stomach. He also stopped a Steckel shot right on the doorstep, preserving the lead for the Black and Gold.
The first line had another goal early in the third when Seguin centered a pass to Lucic, which the struggling winger tapped in for his first of the year. The Bruins added another goal halfway through the third when Patrice Bergeron took a feed from Horton at center ice and skated into the high slot before lifting a wrister that beat Gustavsson high glove side for his first of the season. Just two minutes later, Lucic returned the favor to Seguin by finding him in the slot to put the B's up 6-1, bringing out the "Thank You Kessel" chants that were created last season.
* Is it any coincidence that on the Bruins two power-play goals, the man who drew the penalties was none other than Benoit Pouliot? Clearly he still has some of that Montreal philosophy in him.
* This may be getting redundant at this point but Seguin is the Bruins best player right now. I was impressed with not only his scoring but also his playmaking ability. His feed to Ference that helped set up the Chara goal was a thing of beauty that helped get the defense out of position. It seems as if he is using his skill to not only put the puck on net but also set his teammates up for success. His unselfish play is the thing that first line centers are made of.
* Jack Edwards line of the night: "I'm Peter Pan with a microphone." I could give you this quote in context but it wouldn't be nearly as funny.
* Clearly Julien's new lines were productive to say the least. Each member of the new first line scored and Horton added a goal in his debut on the second line. Steve Kampfer had a hell of a game in his season debut and will look to bring his offensive style of play to the Bruins' blueline.
*Another game, another bubble on the score sheet for Kessel against the Bruins. The NHL's leading scorer was held to just one shot, although he did inspire the Thank You Kessel chant, which I'm starting to loathe.
* I don't know who the new girl is on NESN Daily, but oh my god, she is flawless. Almost makes me forgive NESN for letting Kathryn Tappen leave for the NHL Network.
* Although NESN is owned by the Red Sox, so maybe they actually fired Tappen and made her say that she quit.