Wednesday, December 14, 2011
Paille Scores Twice As Bruins Win 5-2 In Ottawa
You'll be hard-pressed to find a team in the NHL with more depth than the Boston Bruins.
For the second game in a row, they were without captain and defensive stalwart Zdeno Chara but it didn't seem to matter as the B's (20-9-1) beat the Senators (14-14-4) 5-2 tonight at Scotiabank Place in Ottawa.
Tim Thomas (14-5-0) made a season-high 47 saves and Daniel Paille scored a pair of third-period goals as the Bruins picked up their third consecutive win (and second in back-to-back nights). Eight players had points for Boston which didn't have a power play and killed off all five man-advantages for Ottawa.
In the first real notable action of the night, heavyweights Matt Carkner and Milan Lucic squared up for a solid bout at 11:46.
Boston survived a slow start as Thomas made some nice saves early in the first period. Rich Peverley (6th of the season) appears to have rediscovered his goal-scoring touch as he potted his second in as many games. His wrist shot at 12:10 from Andrew Ference (2 assists) and Joe Corvo beat Senators goaltender Craig Anderson (24 saves).
Ageless Daniel Alfredsson (8th of the season) tied it at 4:23 of the second period thanks to a nice feed from linemate Jason Spezza. I know Ottawa made that one random run to the Stanley Cup Finals but it's a shame that Alfredsson has never been on a consistent contender because he's a great player. His wrist shot was similar to Peverley's.
Chris Kelly (12th of the season, 3 away from his career-high) put Boston up 2-1 at 13:47. The tally put the B's ahead for good and fittingly it occurred on a classic Kelly goal-his 200th NHL point. After Johnny Boychuk's big shot from the point, Kelly was there to put the rebound in. Peverley had the second assist.
Adam McQuaid picked up a game misconduct for an ugly knee-to-knee hit on Nick Foligno. It was awkward since Foligno was about to skate by and Quaider clearly stuck his knee out at Ottawa's blue line. He's a tough but honest player so I doubt there was any intent to injure. Anyway, after skating off gingerly, it was nice to see Foligno return shortly after that.
In the third period, Patrice Bergeron (6th of the season) was the beneficiary of a bad giveaway and lucky bounce which sprung him on a partial breakaway. He scored at 4:54 to give the Bruins an insurmountable two-goal lead (3-1).
For the 11th time this season (which has to be near the top of the NHL), the B's scored a pair of goals in under a minute as 56 seconds later Paille (4th of the season) scored on a breakaway of his own. Shawn Thornton and Ference assisted.
Spezza (10th of the season) made the score a little more respectable with a goal at 15:55 but Thomas will probably never blow a three-goal lead in the third.
Paille got his second with 1:04 left, an absolute snipe over Anderson's shoulder from Bergeron.
The Bruins improved to 2-0 vs. Ottawa thus far this season with an aggregate score of 10-5 over their Northeast Division foe.
Not sure if they came home tonight or will wait until tomorrow morning to return but Boston should have a quiet couple days with some light practices before they travel to Philadelphia.
Saturday afternoon's game should be a treat as the top two teams (currently tied) in the Eastern Conference square off. As an added bonus, the Flyers are part of HBO's 24/7 with the Rangers that began airing tonight so you have to assume their cameras will be rolling for Saturday's huge matchup. It's the second of four meetings between the two powerhouses that could very likely see each other in the playoffs once again. Philly won the season opener 2-1 at TD Garden on Oct. 6.
UPDATE 12/15: McQuaid wasn't suspended for his kneeing incident, he was fined $2500 today by the NHL.