Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Game Sixty One: Northeast Division Getting Tighter?

Did anyone have to rub their eyes and shake their heads prior to Tuesday's Bruins game? Was it slightly weird seeing the B's wearing black and gold? That is what being away from home for six games will do to you.

In case that lead was not detailed enough, the Bruins were back at the TD Garden with their new roster. Brian Rolston, a former Bruin, and Mike Mottau were acquired Monday before the trade deadline in exchange for two prospects. Both made their debuts in this game.

This game was the second game of a home-and-home-series against the Ottawa Senators. Sure there were going to be some tempers flaring in this one after what happened in Saturday's game between Joe Corvo and Kyle Turris (OTT). The primary concern, however, was trying to come out of Tuesday's game with a win.

Tim Thomas got the start in goal for Boston. Shawn Thornton made his return to the lineup after missing the last game with the flu. As expected, Johnny Boychuk was ruled out for Tuesday after suffering a mild concussion on a big hit from Chris Neil.

The first period was rough for Boston. They could not really get a good flow going at any point during the opening 20 minutes. Ottawa exposed that by being aggressive in the neutral zone. Tyler Seguin got whistled for a questionable interference penalty, which killed the little momentum the B's were gaining at that time.

The Sens grabbed a 1-0 lead on the ensuing power play. Erik Karlsson scored his 15th goal of the season on assists from Milan Michalek and Jason Spezza.

The second period was not much different unfortunately. They did not show much offense against a team that they were undefeated against coming into the game. Thomas made some nice saves in his end to keep it a one-goal game. Although the B's outhit the Sens 20-10 through two, all that matters is the final score. Sound familiar?

The Bruins got three power plays in the third period, which really got the offense going for the first time all game long. Senators' goaltender Robin Lehner made great saves down the stretch to record his first career shutout. The Sens knocked off the B's by a score of 1-0 and move within one point of first place in the Northeast Division.

Now I have always said I hate fighting in hockey. With that being said, the Bruins needed something like a fight to spark them. To everyone's surprise, it never happened.

Boston will be back in action Thursday night against the New Jersey Devils.

Gold Star: Tim Thomas (37 saves on 38 shots, 1 goal allowed, .974 save percentage).

Black Star: Tyler Seguin...Once he took that interference penalty early on, it clearly disrupted his game.

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