It wasn’t pretty at times, the ice surface and the Florida Panthers made sure of it wasn’t, but the Boston Bruins managed to do just enough to get by the Panthers in regulation by a score of 3-2.
The Bruins dominated much of the first period and after some timely saves by B’s goalie Tuukka Rask, they were able to take a two a 2-0 lead against former teammate and constant lightning rod, Tim Thomas, thanks to goals by Daniel Paille and Dougie Hamilton. I’m not talking much about Thomas and his past because I was tired of hearing about it before the game and I’m even more over it after the game.
Paille’s first of the year came on a quick breakaway after a slick pass by Dennis Seidenberg and Hamilton’s came on a shot from the blueline while the B’s were on the power play (if you can actually believe they scored a PP goal) and a massive screen by Zdeno Chara on Thomas had a lot to do with it.
However things got a little sloppy in the second and the Panthers were able to get on the scoresheet when Kris Versteeg beat Tuukka Rask high glove side. Thomas got a little sharper in net for the Panthers and the Bruins weren’t able to capitalize on any of the rebounds Thomas was kicking out and the score was 2-1 Boston headed to the third.
After some more sloppy play, the Panthers were able to tie it up with just over 5 minutes left in the game on an ugly goal by some guy with the last name Winchester that Rask was none-too-pleased with. The game stayed tied until ewcomer Reilly Smith, acquired in the blockbuster Tyler Seguin/ Loui Eriksson deal, was able to finally get his first goal of the season with a backhander that beat Thomas (even though it probably shouldn’t have).
Again, it wasn’t pretty but it doesn’t have to be. A regulation win against a divisional opponent, especially one backstopped by Thomas, is always huge.
Smith has played well in his short stint as Bruin but seems even more confident now that he’s on a line with Patrice Bergeron and Eriksson. A move that was prompted by Brad Marchand and his lack of offensive production so far this season. Hopefully the return of Carl Soderberg to the lineup can get the third line going and spark a slumping Marchand. If the Swedish Yeti can indeed get himself back to where he was before the injury and get the Little Ball of Hate going, the Bruins will have four very solid lines that all could contribute. Combine that with Tuukka Rask, seven solid defensemen and Claude Julien, and you’ve got yourself one heck of a hockey club.
The Bruins don’t have to travel far for their next game as they’ll be taking on the white-hot Tampa Bay Lightning in Tampa this Saturday night.