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Monday, November 10, 2014

Bruins Close Out Perfect Homestand (4-0) with 5th Straight Win, 4-2 vs. Devils

Not that I was too worried about it but the Bruins are officially themselves again. Boston (10-6-0) dispatched New Jersey (6-7-2) 4-2 at TD Garden on Monday for their fifth straight win. The Bruins closed out their four-game homestand (4-0) with a much tougher schedule on the horizon namely a back-to-back in Toronto on Wednesday (8, NBCSN) and in Montreal on Thursday (7:30, NESN).

Ironically enough, the B's improved to 6-1 since Zdeno Chara went down with an injury-an indication of their weak opponents along with them finding their proverbial groove at the same time. The Devils scored the fastest goal vs. the Bruins this season as Travis Zajac finished a pass from Mike Cammalleri 1:26 into the contest after a turnover by Dougie Hamilton. It was the fifth time in the last six games that the Bruins have allowed the first goal not that it's seemed to matter at all.

In the eight games this season where Boston has allowed the first goal, they have tied it at one in seven of them including this evening. Carl Soderberg scored a power-play goal at 10:21 as he tipped in Reilly Smith's pass with the second assist to Patrice Bergeron (4-game point streak). Soderberg's fifth goal of the season tied him with Brad Marchand for the team lead.

A sloppy turnover by the Devils gave the Bruins a gift-wrapped 2-1 advantage at 17:16. Bergeron was there to slam in his third goal of the season by former BC star and Marblehead native Cory Schneider (19 saves). Former Bruins great Jaromir Jagr did something he rarely did in Boston two seasons ago-score a pretty goal or any goals for that matter. His turnaround shot beat Tuukka Rask (26 saves) low and to the far side at 13:00 of the second period for Jagr's third goal of the season and 708th all-time (tying him with Mike Gartner for 6th in NHL history).

Boston put it away with a quick pair of goals late in the second period (1:20 apart, their 9th and 10th of the season in the final two minutes of a frame). Rookie Seth Griffith scored unquestionably the prettiest goal of the season (his fourth of the season) for the B's and one of the best in the NHL. Words don't really do it justice but he had his back to Schneider but he managed to hit a shot between his legs which went through Schneider's pads. Incredible and just a taste of what Griffith can do at the ripe old age of 21. Other than Tyler Seguin (and I'm not saying he could be Seguin), when is the last time Boston had a forward with those type of eye-popping skills? Like Bergeron, his tally was unassisted.

Smith added the final strike at 19:21 as he one-timed a pass from Bergeron (3 points) by Schneider. New Jersey outshot Boston 14-3 in the third period but that was somewhat misleading since they didn't translate to many real scoring opportunities.

The Maple Leafs (8-5-2) have won their last two games but the Bruins typically own them. Conversely, the Canadiens (10-4-1) have won their last two after a poor stretch but they dominate Boston particularly at the Bell Centre. I would expect Niklas Svedberg to make his first start in November on Wednesday before Rask returns to the net on Thursday in Montreal where he has been terrible.

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