Long breaks from game action is a plus for the players and coaches, especially around the holiday season. Being able to get a few days off to heal nagging injuries is also on the minds of the players. On the other hand, a long break could get a team off of a hot streak.
Breaks can cause someone like myself to get restless about when I can blog again. Besides Brad Marchand receiving the honor of the NHL's First Star of the Week following his three goal, five point performance last Friday night, not much to discuss or write about as a member of the media. It is frustrating sometimes but it happens. Enough about me.
Back to the point of teams riding streaks. The Bruins resumed their schedule Wednesday night after having the last three days off. They took on the Phoenix Coyotes for the first time since the two-game series that opened up the 2010-2011 season over in Prague.
Boston had a six-game win streak coming into the game. Bruins head coach Claude Julien elected to continue riding another streak by starting Tuukka Rask in goal. Rask has posted back-to-back shutouts in his last two starts.
Rich Peverley did not play in this game in order to rest up a lingering injury. He was replaced by Zach Hamill. Jordan Caron was sent back down to Providence (AHL), signifying that the organization sees Hamill as a better fit for this team than Caron.
Judging from what we witnessed in the opening period, one would never have thought that the B's had an extended break. Less than a minute into the game, David Krejci put Boston on the board first by scoring his seventh goal of the season. The goal was assisted by Nathan Horton and Marchand. A great extended shift by Marchand led to the opening for Krejci to shoot the puck.
There was tight play from all four lines in the opening twenty minutes that kept the Coyotes off their game. The only mental breakdown for the Bruins occurred when Ray Whitney skated right past Zdeno Chara and Johnny Boychuk to put the puck past Rask to tie the game. Basically a gimme goal since there was no man power down the center of the ice.
Adam McQuaid put a beating on Raffi Torres after he laid a high elbow to the face of Andrew Ference. McQuaid did receive an instigator penalty and ten minute misconduct, but he left the power forward with a bloody eye and that is something Bruins fans were hoping for. Keep in mind that Torres is a former Vancouver Canuck. Zing.
Anyway, back to the game. Both teams started to experience problems with the ice. Players started to slip and they had a difficult time trying to make accurate passes. Boston and Phoenix battled the sloppy ice to deliver a hard-fought period of hockey.
The only power play of the game belonged to the Coyotes in the second period but Rask and Chara made great plays to keep the puck out of the net. Boychuk skated off the ice in pain during the period after getting hit in the lower body with a slap shot. He did not miss any ice time after the hit, showing no sign of an immediate injury.
After a scoreless third period, both teams headed into overtime with a goal each. The Bruins were lucky to even get to overtime since the Coyotes put heavy pressure on the B's in the closing two minutes of regulation. Rask again came up with some big stops. He finished the game with 21 saves.
Just 58 seconds into the overtime period, Dennis Seidenberg scored on a shot from the top of the point. It deflected off of the stick of Coyotes defenseman Derek Morris and into the goal. Benoit Pouliot and Chris Kelly had the assists. The Bruins won their seventh game in a row by defeating the Coyotes 2-1.
Their next game will be this Saturday night against the Dallas Stars.
Gold Star: Dennis Seidenberg (1 goal, plus-2 rating, 3 shots on goal)...He was on the ice for both goals and he was solid defending the blue line.
Black Star: Gregory Campbell...Although it was a sloppy game, he was not aggressive enough and he was pushed around rather easily in this game.