The Boston Bruins took on the Detroit Red Wings tonight at the TD Garden. There were still some questions and concerns that nagged in the backs of minds for a lot of people in Bruins Nation. Did the Bruins power play have what it took to climb out of the gutter from last year? Could Chris Kelly and the latest variation of the third line rise up and make a solid case for itself? Well, I think both questions got a firm answer tonight, and that answer was a resounding ‘yes’.
The new special teams layout has been impressive so far for the Black and Gold. The Bruins pulled off two short handed goals on against the Lightning, and they earned two power play goals on four opportunities tonight. The big difference in the power play has been the inclusion of Zdeno Chara. Chara, the biggest man in the NHL at 6’9″ makes an imposing screen that most shooters could drive a car through, much less a puck. Red Wings goaltender Jimmy Howard had trouble with Chara in front of him.
“It’s not easy when there’s someone that’s 6-foot-9 standing in front of you,” Howard said. “It’s something that you’ve got to figure out, and find a way to try and find the puck. But it’s extremely difficult with him in front.”
The Bruins returned to the traditional form out shooting (37-26) and out-hitting (23-16) a more experienced Detroit squad. Torey Krug started the night off for Boston, putting the first power play goal in halfway through the first. A missed call by the refs later in the period allowed Detroit to creep back into the game and tie the game up. The second period got the engine fired up for Boston, and they never looked back. Brad Marchand put in his first of the year with a little help from Johnny Boychuk just thirty six seconds into the second.
Jordan Caron should have earned his first goal of the season against the Lightning, and the hockey gods saw that he got his due tonight. A good third line connection between Reilly Smith and Adam McQuaid got Caron his first goal, and the validation of the fans. I’ll admit I was wrong, Caron is earning his place on the roster. (That’s why I blog about hockey, and Peter Chiarelli runs the Bruins.)
The captain brought the second power play goal of the night on a well timed move on Howard. It also put the game completely out of reach for a tired looking Detroit team. The Bruins beat the Detroit Red Wings 4-1. They improve to 2-0-0, thanks to the Flying Finn in net, Tuukka Rask. Rask went twenty five for twenty six tonight.(.961%) He was there when the team needed him, and the Bruins didn’t let Rask down by offering far less opportunities for shots than they did against the Lightning.
The Bruins claimed all three of the night’s stars. Jordan Caron’s goal and determination earned him the third. The power play goal and towering net presence of Zdeno Chara netted him the second. The first star of the night went to Torey Krug. He had a goal, an assist, and made some fantastic defensive plays using his speed to be a solid presence throughout the game.
The Bruins play again Thursday night, wrapping up their three game home open series against the undefeated Colorado Avalanche.