From the top to the bottom. From first to worst. Coming full circle. From one end of the spectrum to the other. Whatever cliche you want to use for this situation, you will sure be able to find one. These cliches come into play here since the Boston Bruins took on the Edmonton Oilers tonight, a team that is ranked 30th in the NHL out of 30 teams. This is one day removed from the Bruins defeating the best team in the NHL in the Vancouver Canucks.
The story before the game was "Taylor vs. Tyler." The Oilders drafted Taylor Hall number one overall in last year's draft and the Bruins drafted Tyler Seguin as the number two overall pick. Are these comparisons valid? No. They are two different players put into two different situations. Hall was put into a situation where he would carry this team. He was the only talent Edmonton had so he needed to adjust to the speed of the NHL rather quickly. As for Seguin, he got drafted to a team with a lot of talent and experience, so he has the time to study the game without all of the pressure. When it is all set and done, Seguin will have more playoff experience than Hall and that is what professional sports is all about: playoffs and championships.
Bruins fans held their breath at the beginning of this game because Edmonton jumped out to an early lead on a goal from Ales Hemsky (14th of the season). The B's looked very drained and emotionless during the first five minutes of this game. After Nathan Horton dropped the gloves with Theo Peckham, the spark was brought back. Michael Ryder evened up the score with a sensational sniper shot. Horton himself got himself on the score sheet by putting the Bruins up 2-1 just over three minutes after Ryder's goal.
The second period was dominated by Boston, in which the Bruins out shot the Oilers 32-12 by the end of that period. Edmonton had to go on the penalty kill and also had the opportunity to score a power play goal. Since they are ranked 30th (last) in both categories, Oilers fans were not expecting anything to come of it, and they were right. Just before the end of the period, Rich Peverley scored his first goal as a Bruin to put Boston up 3-1 after two. Chris Kelly had an assist on Peverley's goal, his first point as a Bruin as well.
Gilbert Brule from Edmonton put some life back into his team as he scored to pull the Oilers within one to begin the third period. Unexpectedly, Brad Marchand got into a fight with the Oilders' second line center Andrew Cogliano. It was the first fighting major of his career. Milan Lucic also dropped the gloves with Jim Vandermeer in a bout that had "fight of the year" potential. This added some much needed energy for the Bruins as the Oilders began to come on with a flurry of shots of their own.
The game came down to solid defense by the Bruins when they had to kill the rest of the clock. Goaltender Tuukka Rask made some key saves down the stretch and they hung on to win 3-2. The Bruins are 5-0-0 on this six game road trip. They will end the trip on Tuesday in the same place they began the trip: in Ottawa to take on the Senators. The Bruins finish the month of February with a record of 8-4-0.
Gold Star: Michael Ryder (1 goal, 1 assist, +2 rating, 3 shots on goal)
Black Star: Mark Recchi...very non-existent tonight. He got bumped off the puck way too easily and was not involved in any key plays.