Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Game 72: Devil's Advocate

Finally some justice around the NHL. Pittsburgh Penguins' forward Matt Cooke will be suspended for the rest of the regular season and the first round of the playoffs. This came as a result of his high elbow to the face of New York Rangers' defenseman Ryan McDonagh. Cooke is the same man who delivered a similar hit to the head of Boston Bruins' center Marc Savard. Savard may never play hockey again.

The Bruins face the New Jersey Devils tonight, a team that was once a joke of a team has turned the table into a team that is playing some of the best hockey in the league. However, Boston outscored the Devils 7-1 in their previous two meetings that both resulted in wins. Led by the 100 million dollar man Ilya Kovalchuk, New Jersey was out to prove that this was a different squad that is fighting for a potential playoff spot.

The Bruins fell behind early in the game when Kovalchuk scored his 27th of the season. This was a power play goal that resulted when Mark Recchi got called for hooking Dainius Zubrus. Minutes later, Shawn Thornton scored his ninth of the season after shielding future Hall of Fame goaltender Martin Brodeur as he deflected a shot from Bruins' defenseman Dennis Seidenberg into the net. The period would end in a 1-1 tie.

Once New Jersey scored that opening goal, the momentum had quickly shifted to Boston and that continued into the second period. Even all of the calls were going their way since they had five opportunities to score on the power play at this point of the game. With some crisp passing from Tomas Kaberle and Milan Lucic, Zdeno Chara put the puck into the net to give Boston a 2-1 lead. That was the score heading into the third period. Boston out shot New Jersey 16 to 8 in the second period after being out shot 16 to 6 in the first period.

In the third period, the Devils put some pressure on Boston, forcing the Bruins to just dump the puck instead of making plays out of their zone. They had some decent shots but Tim Thomas (BOS) kept the puck out of the net. Late in the third period, Milan Lucic scored his 30th of the season. Lucic is Boston's first 30 goal scorer since Phil Kessel did it in 2009. Mark Recchi added an empty net goal and they went on to win the game by a score of 4-1.

Gold Star: Zdeno Chara (1 goal, 2 assists, 4 shots on goal, +2 rating)

Black Star: Gregory Campbell...he only had four shifts in the second period because the Bruins had four power plays. He is normally a huge part of the penalty kill, not the power play. It is not like he had a bad game. He just lacked the playing time due to circumstances beyond his control.

The Bruins will take on the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday night at the TD Garden...enough said.

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