Chalk up two more points for the Boston Bruins. They just fought off a surprisingly good Winnipeg team and a last minute horrible penalty call to remain undefeated in the 2012(well, not really)-2013 season. The Bruins were 14-3-1 against the Jets in their last series of encounters and expectations were high for another win today. The Winnipeg’s goalie Ondrej Pavelec has had a miserable time here in Boston (0-5-1, 4.75GAA, .865 save%) but came out ready to play today.
The Bruins were no less aggressive with David Krejci getting off an early shot on goal at 1:01. The Bruins got a little sloppy early though and it cost them. Chris Thorburn was able to make a play with the help of Paul Postma, and Jim Slater to get the Jets out to an early 1-0 lead. Sorry Jets, but that was all the goal action you were going to see today. Tuukka Rask once again proved his case to be the chief of the crease police today. Rask put up twenty six saves, only allowed the one goal, and put up an obscene .962 save percentage today (His season average is .958)
I argued in an earlier piece that the ‘Bruins Bromance’ between forwards Brad Marchand and Tyler Seguin would lead to Bruins goals and headaches. They did not disappoint today. Seguin showing his amazing speed found Marchand with a quick pass to Marchand and an easy stuff past Pavalec to tie it up at one all at 14:12 in the game. “It’s about staying consistent, no matter who you’re playing.” said Seguin to NESN’s Naoko Fukayama. “I saw Marchy yelling at the top of his lungs.” Seguin offered with a smile. Brad Marchand proved he was still the ‘Little Ball of Hate’. On several occasions, the 5’9″(on a good day) Marchand was out muscling a 6’5″, 265 Dustin Byfuglien. He was even chirping with him throughout the game.
Patrice Bergeron showed off his genius level hockey IQ, and proved why he was deserving of last year’s Selkie. When Andrew Ference was called for tripping at 5:44 in the second, #37 began a series of holding actions that literally tied up four members of the Winnipeg team. He was bouncing, weaving, and keeping the puck tied up for nearly a minute by himself making any attempt of an offensive explosion from the Jets impossible. It was(in my humble opinion) some of the best ice dancing I’ve ever seen in a game.
The Bruins had some great opportunities in the game that sort of got away from them. When Mark Stuart(former Bruin) was called for interference at 18:20, the Jets were on penalty kill. In the middle of the PK, the Jets began a very sloppy line change that left Ron Hainsey and Pavalec out there alone against the Bruins for a few seconds. The hockey gods were batting for Winnipeg most of the game, with a half dozen post hits. Only Pavalec bringing his “A” game is what kept the Jets in this game.
Dougie Hamilton played very well this game. He was everywhere today. Guarding his zone as needed, and he was up front making plays and taking shots when the opportunity presented itself. Hamilton also spent shifts with Zdeno Chara forming a very big wall for the Bruins. With Dennis Seidenberg hurt, Aaron Johnson got to play his first game as a Boston Bruin. He also impressed showing skill and helped make plays that kept the Jets from scoring.
The final period had a lot of highs and lows. Evander Kane got called for goaltending interference at 12:31, and the Bruins attempted to capitalize on the power play. They got three shots on goal, but nothing connected. (The Bruins have yet to score on the power play, but they have not been hit while in penalty kill either.) Boychuck got called for a hi-stick penalty, and the Bruins had to ride the penalty kill into overtime. The Bruins were holding their own, until the refs decided to make an extremely poor call against Zdeno Chara at 3:32 into OT. It forced the B’s to play defensively for the remainder of the game. (The fans at the TD Garden were right along with me chanting, well let’s just say it rhymes with bull-spit.)
So, it had to go to a shootout. Tyler Seguin and the Jet’s Blake Wheeler(also former Bruin) went first. Both scored. Then it was Bergeron (who scored), and Jokinen(stuffed by Rask). Chris Bourque got his first chance to score a shoot out goal and a game winner for Boston, but couldn’t connect against Pavalec. It was then up to Winnipeg’s Bryan Little who attempted to get past Tuukka, but couldn’t. Looks like the Tuukka clocks will also need to be set to Winnipeg time as well.
The three stars of the game were Tuukka Rask (for his goaltending), Patrice Bergeron(for his genius defensive-offensive plays), and David Krejci (for being everywhere tonight) Tune in tomorrow when the Causeway Crowd staff shoots off its three stars of the game.