Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Game Thirty: Thomas Bounces Back

Oh how we all love a good divisional game. The Bruins took on the Ottawa Senators Wednesday night and this was a game between two teams who are at opposite ends of the Northeast Division (Bruins 1st, Senators 5th). The Bruins held a divisional record of 8-2-0 coming into the game.

Both teams are going through injury problems at this point of the season. Zdeno Chara (knee) and Gregory Campbell (foot) were ruled out for this game. Chara participated in the morning skate so it is now a possibility that Chara will return to the line-up for the next game. The injury of Campbell has prevented him from making the team trip to Ottawa as his injury is a bit more serious.

For the Senators, Milan Michalek did not play due to an upper-body injury. He had to leave the game on Tuesday against the Buffalo Sabres after colliding with teammate Erik Karlsson. He currently leads the NHL in goals with 19.

Tim Thomas was back in goal for the B's to try and bounce back from a shaky outing this past Saturday. Zach Hamill and Steven Kampfer also played in their second consecutive game.

Boston had a rough start to the opening period. They clearly had some trouble getting the puck out of their own defensive zone and that forced Thomas to make saves on shots that should not have even happened in the first place. As the period went on, the Bruins started to settle in.

Rich Peverley scored the opening goal for the second straight game. The goal was assisted by Andrew Ference and Joe Corvo. The six defenders all had a great opening period since they contributed in all three zones of the ice.

The second period was a different story. The Sens skated right up the middle at will to get some good scoring chances on Thomas. Daniel Alfredsson tied the game up after Jason Spezza used good puck movement to find Alfredsson near the dot. The Sens captain now has 15 points in the last 15 games he has played against Boston.

Chris Kelly put Boston back on top by scoring his 12th goal of the season. He was just in the right spot in front of the net after a shot by Johnny Boychuk produced a rebound for Kelly to tap in. That goal was Kelly's 200th career NHL point.

Adam McQuaid received a five minute kneeing major and a game misconduct toward the end of the period, forcing the B's to kill off a five minute power play. There was no need for him to extend his leg the way he did. A suspension could very well be coming his way.

Both teams actually ended up skating four-on-four to begin the third period because Zenon Konopka got whistled for goaltender interference. It looked rough but the B's and their fourth best penalty kill in the league were able to kill it off.

Daniel Paille scored two goals and Patrice Bergeron scored one goal in the final period. All three goals came from sloppy play by the Senators. Spezza gave a little bit of life to Ottawa by scoring the team's second goal. In the end, a solid goaltender and great penalty killing is what won this game for the Bruins. The final score was Boston 5, Ottawa 2.

Thomas made 47 saves on 49 shots. That is way too many shots to stop even if you are the two-time Vezina Trophy winner. The Bruins defense need to work on that but that is nothing a practice or two could not fix.

The Bruins will play the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday afternoon in a game that could have first place implications on the line. It should be a good one.

Gold Star: Daniel Paille (2 goals, plus-2 rating, 4 shots on goal)...A great offensive game along with good work on the penalty kill.

Black Star: Nathan Horton...Does it seem like sometimes the first-line wingers refuse to play hard? In this game, Horton was the guilty one.

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