With this shortened season we all assumed some sloppy hockey was going to be played this year. Well, we certainly weren’t wrong. We got to see two different Boston Bruins teams tonight. The Bruins in the first period was a team we could be proud of. The Merlot men got things started for the Bruins tonight. A combo pass from Hamilton went through the entire fourth line before Shawn Thornton got a backhand shot off on Islander’s goalie Rick DiPietro. (The official assist went to Daniel Paille and Dougie Hamilton.) Milan Lucic was his usually pugilistic self. The leader of Loochy Looch and the Punchy Bunch put his first fighting major(and his 41st for his career) against Matt Carkner. The two exchanged blows until Lucic planted an excellent right cross on Carkner that send him to the ice.
Things sort of went kind of odd from there. Brad Marchand was doing his bit for the team, dancing and chirping with the Islanders. A minute later in the period, Daniel Paille drilled Brian Strait into the boards. His teammate Matt Martin came in from behind after the play and looked like he was going to sucker punch Paille. Paille, sensing the trouble came around and dropped the gloves.(and got himself two minutes) Yup, the one Merlot Man who usually keeps his fellow linesmen from killing other people was about to throw down. Paille in a fight? Really? No. Shawn Thornton wraps up Martin and gets himself a ten minute penalty for a game misconduct. (BS call ref!)
Keith Aucoin scored a goal in the middle of the first, and an unassisted one early in the second to move the Islanders ahead 2-1. The second period showed a completly different Boston team on the ice. There was some extremely sloppy play by the Black and Gold. The fans had even begun cat-calling the B’s. The only thing that was keeping the Bruins in the game in the second period was the Merlot Line(sans Thornton), Dougie Hamilton, and Tuukka Rask.
This is Hamilton’s fourth game in the NHL. You wouldn’t have known it by watching that big blond kid on the ice tonight. He got two assists tonight (and his first multi point NHL performance). It’s a little scary to think that he’s still just a kid and he’s going to get bigger. (Oh, before I forget…Thank you Kessel!) He was firing shots he was making plays, he fell in on Bergeron’s wing on a penalty kill and played like a forward. This kid is going to be a star for us this year, a big one!
The Merlot Men proved their two way effectiveness throughout the game tonight. A pass through Krejci and Kelly found Campbell, and he was able to get it past DiPietro to get the Bruins tied at 2-2(13:42). The commentators at the game Andy Brickley and Jack Edwards commented on how the Bruins fourth line was the best line for the team up to that point. At that point, they bloody were. The Bruins were saved once again by their ability on the penalty kill. Their PK is still 100%. (That was briefly challenged by a Matt Moulson goal that was waived off after review.)
The third period had the Bruins at their best. Playing with the five-on-five. After engaging in a penalty kill where Campbell, Paille, and Hamilton were aggressive and very effective, (We can also toss in a line on how dangerous Patrice Bergeron is. Bergy can play a 1-on-3 and still score. Once again, on the PK, Bergy tied up an entire offensive line.) the momentum swung back to Boston. Bruins captain Zdeno Chara vaulted the puck like a missile through the crease to give the Bruins back the lead. (3-2, 7:07). The Bruins started to keep the Islanders in the zone, and the offense really swung into form. Six minutes later, Hamilton fired a pass to Marchand who fed it to Bergeron and put the game out of reach for New York. The crowd began chanting “Doug-ie!”.
Tuukka Rask did his usually effective job as crease police tonight. He stopped twenty four of twenty six and maintains his .922 save percentage, with his third win tonight. Tuukka time seems to be in sync with the Boston clocks and he has given the team and the Nation little cause to worry to this point. Dennis Seidenberg was back in the line, and he made his presence felt again. The solid defenseman was making sure the Islanders remembered their first trip to Boston.
Well, the Bruins got themselves two more points tonight, and played two solid periods of hockey. As long as they can maintain that momentum, the rest of the teams in the division will be hard pressed to challenge them this year.
Good win team, and let’s go BRUINS!