The struggles of the Boston Bruins so far this season have been well documented. A change, or several, needed to be made. Head coach Claude Julien made some drastic changes yesterday at practice that carried over to tonight's game.
David Krejci made his return to the lineup as the third-line center, a position he has not been in since the early part of the 2010 season. Krejci normally centers the first line between Milan Lucic and Nathan Horton. Ironically, none of those three players started the game on the same line. For this game, Horton played on the same line with Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand while Lucic played with Chris Kelly and Tyler Seguin. The way Boston rotates their top three lines there really is no distinguishable first line because of their depth.
Also, defenseman Steve Kampfer made his season debut tonight as Adam McQuaid was once again unable to play due to his head injury.
Now we can get to their opponent for tonight. The B's took on the Toronto Maple Leafs in their first divisional game this season. Every time Toronto makes the trip to the Garden, we all hear the talk about Phil Kessel. I recently thanked him for giving us the option to trade him out of here and get the draft pick that produced Tyler Seguin.
With that being said, we all need to let the issue with Kessel drop. Obviously the way he left Boston was not the most flattering. However, should we just ignore that he racked up 66 goals and 60 assists for 126 points in three seasons with the B's? Oh how we all forget so quickly.
The Bruins were ranked dead last in the NHL in goals scored coming into tonight, so they needed to come out with some offense quickly. The first period belonged to the Bruins as they controlled much of the possession and had the better scoring chances. The Maple Leafs did get on the board first when David Steckel shot the puck on Tim Thomas and it deflected into the goal. From there, the Bruins went on to score three unanswered goals, two of which were power play goals.
Nathan Horton and Zdeno Chara had the goals when the B's had the man advantage. Chris Kelly scored his second goal of the season after a hustling Milan Lucic charged to the puck and sent it in front of the net for Kelly to put it home. Andrew Ference had an assist on all three first period goals. Kudos to Shawn Thornton for getting into his first fight of the season with Colton Orr to get the team going and to Benoit Pouliot for drawing the two penalties that led to power play goals.
The second period consisted mostly of both teams trading minor penalties. As a result, both teams began to settle down and neither team could not really get any good momentum going. I'm not saying that there were no good scoring chances because that was not the case. Both goaltenders, Thomas for Boston and Jonas Gustavsson for Toronto, just came up with some huge saves.
The Bruins went on another scoring spree in the third period. Lucic and Seguin each scored and they each assisted on the other teammate's goal. Patrice Bergeron picked up his first goal of the season as he skated in uncontested and blasted the puck past Gustavsson. Mikhail Grabovski added a goal for Toronto, but it was not enough at that point.
The Bruins went on to win this game by a score of 6-2. They will welcome in the San Jose Sharks on Saturday night.
Gold Star: Milan Lucic (1 goal, 2 assists, +2 rating, 3 shots on goal)...He found his game for sure tonight playing with Chris Kelly and Tyler Seguin. His physicality led to him being productive offensively.
Black Star: Johnny Boychuk...If you watched him play, you would see that he struggled. He made bad passes that led to turnovers and he had trouble controlling the puck in the offensive zone.