Tuesday, November 15, 2011
Bruins' Productive 3rd and 4th Line Helps Them Beat Devils 4-3 In 6th Straight Win
On Military Appreciation Night, the Bruins and Devils threw down like two prizefighters, going back and forth until Benoit Pouliot (2nd of the season) scored the game-winner with three minutes and change left in the game for Boston's (9-7-0) sixth win in a row.
Leading the way for the Bruins was the third and fourth line, as those players combined for seven points. Pouliot, Chris Kelly (5th of the season) and Shawn Thornton (1st of the season) all scored, while Gregory Campbell added two assists. Ten different B's had points.
The first period was relatively quiet, save for a couple of quality scoring chances (by David Krejci and Brad Marchand) for the B's even though they got outshot 12-8 by the Devils.
New Jersey (8-7-1) backup goalie Johan Hedberg (33 saves) made a few nifty stops, especially near the end of the period, when most of the play was in the Devils' zone. The Devils also stood toe to toe with the Bruins physically, as Cam Jannsen absolutely crushed Zdeno Chara in the corner. Milan Lucic and Marchand had a few checks as well and helped the Bruins finish with 16 hits in the period.
The Devils got on the board midway through the second as David Clarkson (5th of the season) scored on the power play, snapping an 0-for-22 skid. Most of the period saw New Jersey control the action thanks to lax defense by the Bruins. The one-timer came right after an insane save by B's goaltender Tim Thomas (7-4-0; 27 saves) off a redirection. Marchand's ill-advised roughing penalty is what gave the Devils the man advantage and after a timeout they were able to break the scoreless tie.
The Bruins responded quickly, as Campbell's forecheck behind the Devils net produced a wide open chance for Kelly, who buried the loose puck. The tying goal woke up the Garden crowd, which had been rather quiet early on.
The first two periods didn't create tons of excitement but the third period turned the game into a barnburner.
Just six seconds into the third, Marchand finished a breakaway, taking a gorgeous two-line pass from Chara and atoning for his silly penalty in the second. The designed play right off the face-off worked like a charm, as Marchand got behind the defense to set up the breakaway. It was similar to the play that Lucic scored on last week I think.
The lead didn't last long, as just two minutes later Nick Palmeiri (2nd of the season) tapped in a one-timer to Thomas' glove side to knot the game at two.
Never quitting, it was Campbell once again, setting up Thornton on the doorstep, backhanding the loose puck past Hedberg. Just four minutes into the third and both teams had combined for three goals.
Showing some testicular fortitude themselves, the Devils once again evened the score when Palmeiri scored his second of the night. The play started off of on a Bruins turnover and thanks to some nasty stickhandling by Adam Henrique. He tore Kampfer up and took it to the net, where Palmeiri was there to clean up the loose puck and bang home the rebound.
Pouliot then poked the game-winner by Hedberg to put the Bruins on top for good at 16:59. Joe Corvo and Rich Peverley assisted on the goal. Pouliot didn't get much on it but it went in so who cares.
Boston wraps up its five-game homestand (six out of its last seven) by facing the NHL's worst team on Thursday: the Columbus Blue Jackets. It'll be funny to see the line on this game, the B's could be one of the heaviest favorites of the entire season.
*It looked like Claude Julien benched Marchand towards the end of the second after his careless roughing penalty. It certainly makes him look good when Marchand ended up scoring in the third.
*The Bruins are undefeated when scoring three or more goals.
*Nathan Horton was snakebitten tonight, hitting a crossbar and getting absolutely stoned by Hedberg, both in the third. He also had a few chances in the first as well. Easily more scoring chances than anyone on the ice.
*Wait, so Ernie Boch is putting a concert together on Sunday? And tickets are still available? I'm stunned.
*Tyler Seguin is maturing as more than just a pure scorer this season. His play without the puck has improved exponentially. Perhaps it's because of his new linemate (and future Selke Winner) Patrice Bergeron. Whatever the inspiration, his newfound aggressive skating is helping the star winger create opportunities for himself and others.
*For example, Seguin carried the puck over the Devils blueline in the first and was met by Devils defenseman (and Former Friar) Mark Fayne. Clearly undersized, Seguin used his body and was able to maintain control of the puck through the zone, helping the B's get another scoring chance. That was a turnover 10 out of 10 times last year.
*Most hilarious moment occurred in the second when Jack Edwards alluded to "wrasslin" at the Garden last night as a possible cause of the wobbly ice conditions. Come on Jack, the place is still recovering from "The Most Electrifying Man In Sports Entertainment" being there last night.
*Lucic has to be healthy by now right? I mean the change in his game over the past two weeks couldnt be any clearer. He's hitting more, skating harder and helping others create opportunities. Some people think he is overrated, I just think that he has motivation issues at times. Whatever the ailment may be, I like this Lucic way better than sluggish, invisible Lucic.