Bruins Nation, we’ve been hungry for a win. In truth, we’ve been desperate for one. We had a squad of Bruins on the ice playing with as much shock and sadness as the Nation has had. A terror attack in our backyard. Players knowing people hurt in the blast and the chaos. As much as want to be annoyed by the four game slide, we can’t hold it against them. Did anyone see Shawn Thornton in the locker room interview after the Penguins loss? This is a man who took up martial arts because he thought his ground game wasn’t good enough, and he was on the verge of tears.
The Bruins sent an early message to the Florida Panthers, courtesy of living legend Jaromir Jagr. 3:03 in the game, steals the puck and vaults a missile past Panthers’ goaltender Jacob Markstrom giving the Bruins a very early 1-0 lead. Jagr later gave up his jersey to a first responder as part of the ‘shirts of our backs’ campaign. (The recipient was one of the flight crew that spotted “suspect #2″ in the boat at Watertown.) He commented later on the gift. “It’s part of our job to somehow help people – somehow make them happy,” Jagr said. “It’s a small help, but at least it’s a help we can do. Hopefully they appreciate it and they are happy.”
Carl Soderberg earned his first career NHL point with an assist on the Jagr score. Welcome to Beantown Yeti!
The Bruins kept the pressure up for the majority of the game, and for sixty minutes we got to see the Bruins we’ve been dying see these last few weeks. We saw that same intensity in the second period. Dougie Hamilton put in his fifth of the season with an assist from Shawn Thornton. The Bruins out shot the Panthers 39-28, and out hit Florida 33-20. Every time the Panthers attempted to rally Tuukka Rask was there to shut the door and guarantee the shutout. Today was the flying Finn’s fourth shutout of the season, and the fifteenth of his career. (Got to love Tuukka. He was still upset about the goals that got passed him from the Pittsburgh lost.)
Brad Marchand put an empty netter in the third period to finish the game at 3-0. The next message had been delivered. The Bruins could and would rally at home to get a win back to Boston.
The Bruins not only got rid of the shirts on their backs today. They got rid of the monkey that was plaguing them before the tragedy occurred. Before this latest losing streak, they were playing mediocre hockey and still getting the win. These last few games, they were playing far better hockey but not getting the chances they needed to connect and to score. The Bruins played for themselves and the city, and they did everybody proud.
As of now, the Bruins have once again found themselves in front in the Northeast Division, and have reclaimed the number two seed in the Eastern Conference. Thankfully for us, Montreal has been playing some truly abysmal hockey as of late, and their short comings allowed the B’s to reclaim the top spot. It’s still anyone’s seed to win though, and the Bruins will need to maintain this level of intensity and scoring for the remainder of the regular season.