Last night, the Bruins avenged their recent loss to the Lightning, in which they allowed Steven Stamkos’ 50th goal. He scored again, but he was pretty much carrying his team, and he alone wasn’t enough to beat the Bruins, who put in a great full team effort. Couch Claude Julien has been tweeking our lines and seems to have found a setup that works as they are all performing well. Pretty much everyone has point streaks, or if not streaks, at least a bunch of points in the last six or seven games. What’s more, we’ve gone 5-1 since Julien paired Zdeno Chara with Dennis Seidenberg on defense.
It definitely feels like the Bruins are getting back to the style and quality of hockey that they had in the Stanley Cup Finals last year. This game even felt like last year’s Eastern Conference Championship. The Bruins-style hockey that they’re getting back to, of course, includes stepping up their physical game.. which they have all done.. even Tyler Seguin, who usually isn’t very physical. A great example was when he pushed through some hits and gave some leading to Dennis Seidenberg’s goal.
So, they’re definitely improving and looking good going down the stretch of the regular season. All they need to do is keep it up so we can maintain our spot in the standings. This way, we get home ice advantage, and we will likely get to fight the Senators in the first round.. and they’re a team that I feel pretty confident against, though it would be a literal battle.. but that’s fun to watch and makes it all the more epic.
This section is where I put my notes from the game, with the plays that I felt were worth highlighting and ranting about. This is basically my version of a game recap, intended for those who would like to read one that tells more than just what happened on paper. So, if you just want a summarization and my thoughts on what the game means for the Bruins, just read the section above and the “Final Thoughts/Notes” section near the bottom. Following this section are some videos and links…
-A minute in, Milan Lucic with good work through the neutral zone, then a great shot by Tyler Seguin.. nice save by Dwayne Roloson with David Krejci right there to try to make sure it went in.
-Five minutes in, Lucic with a good battle to get into their zone, but then Steven Stamkos gets a break as we were pinching in to the offensive zone.. he shoots a dart and scores his league leading 54th goal of the season.
-A minute later, Brad Marchand with some nice moves and shot, then Patrice Bergeron was impeded from getting to the rebound by J.T. Wyman.. so Wyman gets a penalty for holding the stick.
-(The Bruins are 14th in the league on the power play and the Lightning are 28th on the penalty kill)
-On the power play:
–We get a nice shot from the first face-off. Then some great work.. cross-ice pass to Seguin for a nice shot.. then another nice shot and both Marchand and Bergeron jam at the rebound.. Roloson grabs it.
–With half a minute left, the Lightning clear the puck and keep us out of their zone to kill off the penalty.
-Halfway through the period, some great work by the Gregory Campbell-Shawn Thornton-Jordan Caron line.. then Zdeno Chara carries the puck through some defenders like a forward, skates to the net and shoots.. save by Roloson.. Thornton in from jams it in for his fifth goal of the season, breaking a 35 game goal drought!
-15 minutes in, Rich Peverleymakes a great pass in the neutral zone to Marchand rushing ahead.. he gets tripped, keeps going, then tripped again as he crashes the net and shoots. Keith Aulie gets a tripping penalty, but Marchand should’ve gotten a penalty shot.. we’ve seen penalty shots given for less. It’s the team-leading 23rd time he’s drawn a penalty.
-On the power play:
–Bergeron great pass to Seguin for a pretty open shot, but Roloson makes a huge save.
–Then some more good work for a bit and a nice shot by Chara as it ends.
-Then some more good work followed by Lucic knocking down Brett Connolly as he was heading to the bench.
-With a minute and a half left, Thornton makes a nice steal and gets a breakaway.. shoots it off Roloson’s arm.
-As the period ends, Johnny Boychuk shoots it all the way in on Roloson from center ice.
-The Lightning did have a bunch of good chances and Thomas did have to make some big saves. Their 1-3-1 defense has also been holding up really well.
-Peverley was looking good.
-When tied after the first period, the Bruins are 15-8-2 and the Lightning are 16-9-2.
-We have been playing well so far, as the tally shows.. All favoring the Bruins, the faceoffs won: 14-6, scoring chances: 9-1, and shots on goal: 11-5. But it’s only tied because the Lightning are just a good team.. well mostly Stamkos.. and Roloson recently.. and they seem to play better against us.. maybe they still have a bitter taste in their mouths from when we beat them in the Eastern Conference Championship last year.
-30 seconds in, Stamkos gets another break and Thomas comes way out of the net to stop make a save. The play goes end to end a few times in the first minute.
-About three minutes in, great work to break through their 1-3-1 and some great scoring chances and spots by the Campbell-Thornton-Caron line.. then Campbell with a bunch of shots real quick as he jams at the puck.
-Almost a minute later, Marchand knocks down Tom Pyatt and ends up getting a somewhat bullshit cross-checking penalty.
-On the penalty kill:
–We do great work to kill of the penalty with the help of a few big saves by Thomas.
-Seven minutes in, we get a nice stand.. then Roloson loses his stick, but we can’t get a clean shot.
-About halfway through, we get a bunch of offensive time, but then as the Lightning do so well, they rush right back the other way and get a shot off post.. then Thomas makes a huge save. Then Stamkos takes a shot at Marchand on the way to the bench.. ya, Marchand’s been getting under his skin.. as he does so well.
-Then 13 minutes in, some nice work and chances, then things get a bit nasty after the whistle.. Campbell and one of them get penalties and it’s 4-on-4.
-Chara and Stamkos get a bit nasty. Then we get into their end.. great one-timer by Chara.. then Seguin and Lucic’s amazing skating and puck work leads to another great one-timer by Chara, then Dennis Seidenberg scores with a great shot off the rebound! With this goal, he broke a 28 game goal drought.
-As the 4-on-4 is ending, Marchand draws a tripping penalty on Mike Commodore as he rushes in.
-On the power play:
–(We’re 0-2 on the power play tonight, but got some good looks with 5 shots on goal)
–We get into their end and work it well for a bit, then they clear it. At the end, Lucic with great backchecking, then we rush in and get a nice chance.
-18 minutes in, Adam McQuaid with a big hit. Shots on goal so far are a rediculous 22-7 in favor of the Bruins.
-Near the end, we get some great shots, then back in our end, Seguin tried to take the puck from Stamkos, but ends up getting his stick between his legs.. Stamkos falls right away to sell it.. Seguin gets a tripping penalty.
-The Bruins have been dominating with 23 shots on goal and 13 scoring chances this period.. The Lightning only have 3 shots on goal in this period, and only 8 in the whole game.
-Bergeron has won 18 faceoffs, the Lighting all together have only won 8.
-We start on the penalty kill.. A minute in, Campbell gets a great shorthanded chance. We kill off the penalty.
-Then Lucic steals the puck in their end and hits the top corner post with a great shot. Then he passes to Seguin driving in front.. he gets tripped.. we go on the power play.
-On the power play, Caron and Lucic both hit Victor Hedman and sandwich him.. then Caron with a big check on Brian Lee, then a great chance.. it ends with no shots on goal.
-Then back in our end, Boychuk gets his stick accidentally caught in one of their legs and he gets a tripping penalty.
-On the penalty kill, the Lightning had some good puck work.. then Stamkos scores again. That was their one and only shot on the power play tonight.. and his league-leading 55th goal of the season.
-Soon after, McQuaid loses his balance and hits the boards hard and gets up slowly holding his head.. Bruins fans cringe. He ended up being alright.
-Almost eight minutes in, Peverley with a great pass to Marchand rushing ahead.. he gets a great shot off. Then we get some more good chances, then Seguin gets his 10th high-sticking penalty of the season.. he only barely hit they guy’s chest.. lame call!
-On the penalty kill:
–In the first minute and a half, we do good work to keep them from getting established.
–Then Boychuk with a big hit. Then a big save by Thomas on Stamkos.. then repeat the hit and save again.
-Right after, 12 minutes in, the crowd roars the “Lets Go Bruins” chant.. we get into their end, Chara with a big drive.. then Rolston with a wrap-around chance that deflects to Benoit Pouliot.. he scores! They go to review if Roloson was impeded from getting back into the crease as he had left it on the other side.. we get it!
-In the next minutes, we stay hot and get some amazing chances.
-Almost 15 minutes in, Stamkos is half an inch from a hat-trick as he hits post and Thomas grabs the puck to keep it from trickling in at the last second.
-Almost a minute later, some great work by Bergeron to break into their end, then screen for Marchand to shoot and score his 26th goal of the season! Roloson gets pissed and whacks his water bottle so hard it goes into the audience. We now have a whopping 33 shots on goal while the Lightning have 14. When leading by 2 goals at any point in a game this season, the Bruins are 35-0-0.
-Then Lee tries to clear the puck but gets a delay of game penalty for hitting it into the crowd without hitting glass.
-On the power play, we do some great work.. Chara with a good decision to not shoot a bomb, but rather a wrist shot intended for Pouliot to redirect it.. they do, but Roloson makes the stop. Then we get a bunch more great chances.
-With a minute left, Caron with nice moves to get the puck into their end then give a big hit and cause them to ice the puck.
-Then the Lightning pull Roloson for the extra attacker.. we do good defensive work.. Peverley steals the puck.. scores an empty-netter to end the game. We win 5-2.
Final Thoughts / Notes
-In a pregame ceremony, Zdeno Chara was honored and recognized for having played 1,000 games in the NHL (his 1,000th game was against the Kings over the weekend, but this was the first home game since). He was given a commemorative crystal from the league, a silver hockey stick and a portrait from the team, and an all-expenses-paid trip to anywhere in the world from his teammates (showing just how much they love and appreciate him). The silver hockey stick was an actual-size replica of his, which is the longest in the league (he needed a waiver to be allowed to use a stick longer than regulation allows). That thing must be really heavy.. and expensive! I’m very glad we got to honor such a great player. He always puts in 110% and truly appreciates being a team player. He is also a huge part of this team, having played 70 or more games for 11 straight years. Plus, he’s just huge in general and it’s great because he can pretty much shut down any opponents’ offensive rushes alone. Ray Bourque even said Chara was a better defensive player than him or Bobby Orr.. Yes he was being humble, but it still says a lot. In this game, Chara had three assists, tying his career-high. On a side-note, if he wasn’t playing hockey, I heard that he would’ve been a pretty close to world class bicyclist.. that’s his other passion.
-Brian Rolston continues to fit in well, increasing his point streak to 7 games with 3 goals, 9 assists and a +/- rating of +9!
-Dwayne Roloson had a crappy Save Percentage at .885 before the last few games, but was great in this one.. until the end that is. This was the first time Roloson has played twice in a row all year.. he is 42 years old and isn’t quite what he used to be.
-Tim Thomas in his last 10 games is 7-2-0 with one non-decision, 2.05 Goals Against Average, and a .937 Save Percentage. He has only faces 31 shots in our last 2 home games.
-Rich Peverley, even in our last game when he first came back, is already playing his average time on ice including his usual special teams work.
-Marchand hit the 50-point mark for the season (and has 26 goals).
-Joe Corvo remains a healthy scratch since Greg Zanon has been playing well.
-Daniel Paille is also a healthy scratch since Jordan Caron has earned his ice time.
-The Bruins are now 36-0-0 when they’re up by 2 goals at any point in a game this season. They’re also officially on a win streak with 3 in a row.. and 5 out of the last 6. This was, however, our first 3 game win streak in 41 games.
-Even though the Senators won their game, we’re still 5 points ahead with a game in hand.
Here’s a video of the ceremony recognizing Zdeno Chara’s 1,000th NHL game: http://www.nesn.com/2012/03/bruins-honor-captain-zdeno-chara-for-logging-1000-games-in-nhl.html
Here’s NESN’s game preview (with Bruins/Lightning history & build-up):
Here’s a video of Tim Thomas’ huge save to deny Steven Stamkos a hat-trick:
Here’s a video recap of the goals and big saves in the game:
Here’s the NHL’s video recap of the game:
Here’s the NHL’s page of video clips of the goals and some saves and hits: http://bruins.nhl.com/club/gamevideo.htm?id=2011021140
Here’s the NHL’s photos from the game:
Thanks for reading,