Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Game 39: Back In First Place

This has been a busy season for the Boston Bruins. They have felt the blunt of this condensed schedule more towards the end of the season, which leaves fans to wonder if that will haunt them in the playoffs.

Either way, the team knows that they just have to play the schedule in front of them. They were back in action on Wednesday night when they played the New Jersey Devils. This game was the front half of their final back-to-back series of the season. From this point on, they have a lighter finish to the season. 

We all have heard this before, but a victory in this contest would launch the Bruins into first place in the Northeast Division and second place in the Eastern Conference. 

This game was on the NBC Sports Network as part of the "Wednesday Night Rivalry" series of games this season. There is just something about the Devils that is boring and makes you want to yawn. Since this was the final meeting between these two teams this season, fans could deal with this match-up one more time. Would this be the night that these two teams gave us something worth talking about?

Anton Khudobin was back between the pipes in this game as he opposed Martin Brodeur. Adam McQuaid, who has missed significant time due to a shoulder strain, is getting close to making his return to the lineup. Also, it was reported that Patrice Bergeron has resumed working out. There is no word yet on when he will return to the lineup. 

That is enough of updates for now. Lets talk about the game itself.

In the first 20 minutes, it was literally a tale of two periods for the Bruins. They spent a majority of the period on the penalty kill as they got whistled for four separate minor penalties. However, they were able to turn some defense into offense when they scored two shorthanded goals. Daniel Paille and Gregory Campbell recorded the tallies for Boston. Those were two bursts of energy that the Bruins needed, but it all started when Campbell beat Brodeur just 70 seconds after puck drop.

This was the second-straight game that the Bruins jumped out to a 3-0 start. This was huge for the B's, but things kind of settled down in the second period. What did not settle down was the lack of leniency with the officials. They called the game very tight, but at least they were consistent throughout the game. The Bruins continued their scoring onslaught from all aspects when Zdeno Chara got credit for a power play goal just three minutes into the second period. 

After the Devils finally got on the board on a goal by Patrik Elias, the Bruins went on the power play for five minutes after Anton Volchenkov elbowed Brad Marchand in the head. Marchand was in and out of the locker room all night long with various ailments, but this one put him there for good. Volchenkov received a game misconduct, which will lead to a hearing from the NHL offices and that will be followed by a suspension. 

The Bruins failed to score a goal with the five minute man advantage, but the Devils pulled within two after a shorthanded goal by Travis Zajac. They used that momentum and carried it over into the third period. Andy Greene gave the Devils a fighting chance when he pulled his team within one, but Tyler Seguin silenced the crowd when he beat Brodeur to give the B's another two-goal lead. 

From that point on, Boston took control of this game. Matt D'Agostini grabbed a goal late in the game, but it was too late and time became their enemy. The Bruins knocked off the Devils by a score of 5-4. 

The Bruins will head back home on Thursday night to take on the New York Islanders.

Gold Star: Daniel Paille (1 goal, 1 assist, plus-2 rating)...He produced on the scoreboard, but what really shined was his work on the penalty kill. In this particular game, killing penalties was key.

Black Star: Johnny Boychuk...He had a couple of penalties early on in the game and he had obvious trouble in the defensive zone. He had issues standing on his skates, which is never a sign of things going your way. 

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