Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Bruins Finally Win ... Milestone Night for Chara and Lucic

Good God the Bruins have been bad. Nope, scratch that. Watching the Bruins as of late has been brutal. 1-3-3 in their last seven? That is certainly not the way you want your team to be playing as the regular season dwindles. This is especially true going in to last night’s game, as the B’s hosted (arguably) the conference’s most dangerous team: the NJ Devils. Allow me to explain that statement. The Devils were riding high on a late season surge (23-3-2 in their last 28) and knew that the playoffs, while a long shot, were not unattainable. It was a must-win scenario and they truly had nothing to lose.

Thornton scores his 9th goal of
the season, a career high
As expected, NJ came in to the game guns blazing. They dominated the first half of the period, out-shooting the Bruins 14-1 and recording the first goal at 11:05. Fortunately for Boston fans, the Bs were quickly able turn things around. They took 16 of the period’s final 22 shots and tied the game on Shawn Thornton’s 9th goal of the season. This is a career high for #22.

After Thornton’s goal, the Bruins settled down and began to play like a team that is headed for the post-season. They fought for loose pucks, controlled play in the neutral zone and even – if you can believe it – capitalized on the power play.

Zdeno Chara scored his 13th goal of the season on a power play at 8:17 in the second. This goal, which would be the game winner, marked the Captain’s 400th career point. Prior to Chara’s goal, the Bruins power play unit had scored just twice on 34 opportunities.

Lucic reaches 30-goal milestone
Milan Lucic had a big moment last night, lighting the lamp at 16:31 in the 3rd period on a shot from the left circle. It marked Looch’s 30th of the season, making him the first 30-goal scorer since Phil Kessel in 2008-09 (36 goals). "It feels great I was able to get that 30th, but the biggest thing here today is it felt like we played Bruins hockey again," Lucic said post-game.

Mark Recchi made it 4-1 on an empty-netter with under a minute until the final horn.

With the win over the Devils, Boston has extended the division lead over Montreal to 3 points (90 points total). The Bruins have ten regular season games left, seven of which will be played on home ice. Considering their home versus away records (17-12-5 H, 23-10-5 A), I am not sure if this is a good thing. The Canadiens, who have eight regular season games remaining, travel to Boston tomorrow night. This game should be considered a must-see, not only for the playoff implications, but also for the Chara/Pacioretty/crazy Canadians drama that is sure to ensue.

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