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Saturday, November 15, 2014

There's No Place Like Home for the Bruins, Especially When It Comes to Garbage Opponents

Right after two horrific losses (6-1 at Toronto and 5-1 at Montreal), that were so bad that I didn't feel like writing about them, the Bruins returned to TD Garden aka their comfort zone. Boston (11-8-0) did what they had to do to beat Carolina (5-8-3) 2-1 this afternoon. Like most of their victories this season, it wasn't an artistic masterpiece by any means but for a team that played so poorly on back-to-back nights, at least this was much more indicative of who they are (or rather who they should be).

The Hurricanes scored first, something which has happened to Boston in five of their last six contests, as Jiri Tlusty tipped in Justin Faulk's shot from the point at 7:05 of the first period and Eric Staal had the second assist. Tuukka Rask (33 saves) earned the first star of the game but there was nothing he could do about that high shot that went even higher off the deflection for Tlusty's team-leading seventh goal of the season.

Fortune was smiling on Boston during their fifth-straight win at the Garden as Seth Griffith tied it at 14:24 on one of the flukiest goals I have ever seen. It started with Andrej Sekera fumbling the puck backwards on some sort of ill-fated pass, that ended up going off Griffith then back off Sekera again and past Cam Ward (23 saves). You'll probably never see a goal like that in the NHL, at least not for many years. Griffith's fifth goal of the season (tying him with Carl Soderberg and Brad Marchand for the team lead) was unassisted but we all know that Sekera deserved something special for that monumental fail.

The Bruins got the game-winner on their own accord. A strong forecheck led to Brad Marchand stealing the puck and feeding Patrice Bergeron for one of his patented quick shots after a turnover. Dennis Seidenberg had the second assist on Bergeron's fourth goal of the season and Reilly Smith did his part by screening Ward.

All that stuff happened in the first period with basically nothing to write home about or remember about the second or third periods. Yay afternoon games! Boston outshot Carolina 14-3 in the second and the Hurricanes returned the favor by outshooting the B's 15-4 in the third but it didn't matter. The key sequence of the game also took place in the first when Boston killed a 5-on-3 for 1:43 just 12 seconds after Tlusty's goal. If Carolina had added another goal or two then, who knows what would have happened?

Finally, the Bruins play another quality team at the Garden on Tuesday (7, NESN)-those have been so few and far between. St. Louis (11-4-1) currently leads the very difficult Central division in the Western Conference and they are 9-1-0 in their last 10 games entering tonight's game vs. Washington.

David Krejci and Zach Trotman were the scratches today, meaning that Matt Bartkowski played for the first time in eight games. He finished +1 with four shots, two hits and a blocked shot which for him is a highlight reel game. Milan Lucic also looked like himself with a game-high six hits, he was way more active than he's been in weeks.

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