Coach Julien made a few big changes in order to prepare for the Toronto Maple Leafs coming to the Garden. The line changes were a big ‘left wing shuffle’ as Julien went to promote producers (Daniel Paille and Brad Marchand)and single out disappointments (Milan Lucic). The Bruins were also playing in the away whites. (Personally, I don’t buy the lost jersey answer. I think Coach CJ was trying to exorcise a demon or two tonight.) The coach was fueling that effort with his words as well.
“What is disappointing right now is that we are not playing the type of game that we should,” he said. “Tonight if we are mad, we’ve got to be mad at ourselves; for not playing our game and going out there and being a bit more hungry. Hopefully our work ethic and the talent we feel we have will take over.”
The first period was scoreless, but the Bruins were making a serious effort to push on the net. The second period had a lot of us groaning though. Joffrey Lupul, who had just came back from a two-game suspension after a head hit, converted a power play pass from defenseman Jake Gardiner just two minutes into the second period. Six minutes later, Nazem Kadri, kept his own point streak alive by lining up Nikolai Kulemin with a breakaway pass. He was able to split the difference between defensemen Andrew Ference and Aaron Johnson and get an easy shot off on Tuukka Rask.
This was starting to look like deja vu. It was Toronto’s ninth shot of the game, and they already had a two goal lead. In the previous game, the Leafs scored three goals on just 13 shots. The Garden was getting quiet. Fans did not want to see a repeat and disappointment.
Milan Lucic didn’t want to see it either. Jack Edwards called him “the emotional bellweather of the Bruins.” Lucic got 17,000 fans back into this game. Halfway through the second, he found his afterburners, outpaced three Leafs and got one past James Reimer. The Bruins were still down by one going into the third. The Bruins started shifting back to their more conventional lines in the third period. Why?
Coach said he put 17 back on line w/46, 18 bc he was skating well; “you hope that little bit of chemistry is going to make a difference”^CS
— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) March 26, 2013
It did the trick. Brad Marchand sent a pass to Dougie Hamilton who lined it up just right for Bruins alternate captain Patrice Bergeron to sail it past Reimer to tie it up at two. The Bruins couldn’t put it ahead in the final minutes of regulation, and overtime yielded no result either.
It was going to be decided by a shootout. Tyler Seguin and Patrice Bergeron got shots past Reimer, and of the three Leafs players, only Tyler Bozak was able to slip one past Rask. Tuukka is now 4-1 in shootout situations, and Reimer is still locked out after four attempts.
This win puts the Boston Bruins into second place in the Eastern Conference, and first in the Northeast Division. The Bruins will have no time to rest on their laurels for they will see the Montreal Canadiens in the Garden Wednesday night.(and I got tickets!)