Well, here we are. The second half of the 2011-12 NHL season is upon us as 26 of the 30 teams were back in action on Tuesday night. Among them were the Boston Bruins who were back at home to kick off a three-game homestand.
Even though most of the players enjoyed the All-Star break, they were eager to get back to business. Speaking of the All-Star break, the two captains from the All-Star game were reunited at the TD Garden on this night. Daniel Alfredsson and his Ottawa Senators looked to get their first win this season against Zdeno Chara and the B's.
Nathan Horton was ruled out for this game due to lingering concussion symptoms. Rich Peverley took his place on the top line. Andrew Ference served the final game of his three-game suspension on Tuesday night as well. He was replaced in the lineup by Steven Kampfer
The Senators are a team that has been a pleasant surprise for the league. They were picked by some experts to finish last in the Eastern Conference. Currently, they hold on to sixth place and sit only four points out of first place in the Northeast Division heading into this game. They are a contender, not a spoiler.
Now lets get to the game. Ottawa came out strong in the opening minutes, controlling much of the possession and producing better scoring chances. As the period went on, the Bruins began to find their rhythm. Benoit Pouliot had two near misses and Tyler Seguin set up Brad Marchand twice with some nifty passing.
Chara put Boston on top while they were on the power play by blasting a slap shot from the top of the zone. Colin Greening tied the game after Milan Michalek centered the puck on goal and he tapped it past Tim Thomas.
There were two fights in the opening twenty minutes. Shawn Thornton and Adam McQuaid dropped the gloves with Chris Neil and Zenon Konopka respectively. Did anyone miss hockey during the break? All of the energy in the opening period made everyone remember what they had missed.
The Senators netted two goals in the second period. Kyle Turris and Erik Karlsson were the goal scorers. Both of the tallies came as a result of a couple of Bruins players cheating too far up ice in the offensive zone. At the same time, Boston had several good chances on Sens goaltender Craig Anderson. They just could not find the back of the net until Milan Lucic scored with less than a minute remaining in the period.
Marchand and Dennis Seidenberg each recorded a goal for the B's in the final 20 minutes. From that point on it was all Boston. Thomas finished the game with 27 saves on 30 shots and Joe Corvo had two assists, just a couple of the bright spots in the Bruins first game back from the break. Boston defeated Ottawa by a final score of 4-3.
The Bruins will be back in action on Thursday night when they take on the Carolina Hurricanes.
Gold Star: Milan Lucic (1 goal, 1 assist, 3 shots on goal, 2 hits)...He was a force along the boards and provided the scoring touch to cap off the game.
Black Star: Zach Hamill...He was not strong when he had the puck, hence why his minutes dropped as the game went along.