The Boston Bruins earned themselves two more points tonight as they beat the Hurricanes on their home ice. It came down to one of those maxims: What would win tonight: Speed or Strength. Tyler Seguin‘s hands finally seem to have arrived from Switzerland as fired a very nice shot on goal only sixteen seconds into the game. Seguin, who had yet to score a goal coming into tonight had something to prove to himself and the fans. Seguin’s hands were here and his dancing on the ice made a big difference in tonight’s win.
The Bruins put Anton Khudobin in net tonight for his first game. Khudobin, who has had only a handful of starts for NHL teams played a solid game tonight stopping twenty nine of thirty two. (.906 save %) His acrobatic playing style and aggressive nature reminded me an awful lot of Tim Thomas. Khudobin got himself his first NHL win of the season, and has proved to the Bruins organization and the fan base that he is the right choice to back up Tuukka Rask in net this year. He did make a silly error, getting called for a puck over glass(delay of game) penalty, but it did work out for the best.
When Patrice Bergeron is on the penalty kill, magic usually happens. Bergeron was his usual beast on the PK, being part of a great combination with captain Zdeno Chara to give Brad Marchand a shot that got the Bruins up early 1-0. It was also the first short handed goal of the season for the B’s. Marchand was amazing as always, making a lot of quick moves and keeping the Hurricanes off balance. Chara went stick-side high against Cam Ward a little later on the power play to increase the lead to 2-0.
The last time the Bruins were able to get a power play and short handed goal in the same game was February 11, 2012.
Players were playing to the strengths. Milan Lucic was dominant on the ice and in the ring. He squared off against Tim Gleason. It was clear Gleason was doing right by his team by squaring off against Lucic to get the Hurricanes and their fans in the game. Gleason was going shot for shot with Looch, but at the end, the more experienced Lucic was able to get the sweater up over Gleason and the linesman stepped in to keep it from getting ugly. To his credit, it did energize the Hurricanes. The ‘Canes were moving quicker and finding more room to get shots in. Jamie McBain was able to squeeze one past Khudobin (14:50) to get Carolina back within one.
The Bruins took two penalties early in the second. It briefly gave Carolina a 5-on-3 advantage. The Bruins worked through that penalty, and remain the only team that is flawless on the penalty kill. Nathan Horton put another one past Ward (15:52) to give us a 3-1 lead. The Hurricanes weren’t done though, and simple mistakes caused turnovers that they could take advantage of. Two quick scores by Jeff Skinner (17:55) and Eric Staal (18:45) to get the game tied at three going into the second intermission.
The Bruins were committed to getting a win tonight. They had been blanked all last season by Carolina, and were looking to prove the ghosts of the past were indeed buried. “We really just wanted to get revenge.” said Brad Marchand to Naoko Funayama during one of the breaks. “We wanted to send a message.” In the third period, the Bruins were indeed sending that message. Chris Kelly who had made a bad turnover earlier in the game redeemed himself by playing his heart out in the third period. The pressure the third line placed on the ‘Canes was relentless, and it started openings that other shifts could capitalize on.
Dougie Hamilton. It’s getting to the point where you can’t talk about players in the game without mentioning him. Just this morning, GM Peter Chiarelli told #27 that he would be staying in Boston, and not going back to the OHL. Hamilton had already had four shots on goal tonight, and instead of making it a fifth one, he read the screen like a veteran and sent the puck to David Krejci. Krejci had been scoreless up to now, and his goal made it 4-3 with just under two minutes remaining. Carolina tried to come back by a slashing call on Eric Staal(18:29) put Carolina behind the eight ball for the last ninety seconds of the game. The Hurricanes pulled their goalie to keep five men on the attack, but a turnover led to two odd moments. The first was Tyler Seguin finally getting an empty net, power play goal for Boston, and the other was Patrice Bergeron getting into a fight with Jeff Skinner.
The Bruins are 4-0-1, and are still leading in the Northeast division. They’ve got another game tomorrow, and it’s going to be at home. So, bring on the Devils. The Black-n-Gold brigade stands ready.