At the conclusion of Thursday's game, the Boston Bruins would have officially reached the halfway point of the 2013-14 NHL season.
Heading into Thursday night, the Bruins possessed a record 26-12-2, good for 54 points and first place in the Atlantic Division. The second half of the season will be a grind for this team, especially with the amount of road games that they have coming up on the schedule.
The B's continued their three-game homestand when they played host to the Nashville Predators. Boston put a smack on the Preds a couple of weeks ago when they last met.
Prior to the game, it was announced that both Dougie Hamilton (lower-body injury, missed 10 games) and Carl Soderberg (undisclosed, missed two games) each made their return to the lineup. Slowly but surely, the roster is starting to look like it did back in October. Also, Niklas Svedberg made his NHL debut in net for the Bruins. This kid is one of the better goaltenders in the AHL (American Hockey League) and he will soon be a staple with the "Big Club" in a year or two.
As for this game, the first period was brisk, physical, and entertaining. It was also scoreless. That would change in the second period when Viktor Stalberg (NSH) crashed the net on a fast break and beat Svedberg clean. The Bruins continue to have their struggles in the second period. They have a minus-two goal differential in second-period play this season.
In the third period, the Bruins improved significantly. After using their muscle and slick skating, the B's scored two quick goals to take the lead. Johnny Boychuk and Jarome Iginla netted the tallies for Boston. The Predators did end up tying the game with five minutes remaining in regulation on a goal by Shea Weber to send this game into overtime.
Shortly after overtime started, Brad Marchand ended the game after a nifty dangle-and-drag move to open up space for the blast home. The B's won this one by a final score of 3-2.
The Bruins will play an afternoon game on Saturday to conclude the homestand. They will take on the Winnipeg Jets.
Gold Star: Milan Lucic...He was leaps and bounds ahead of every other skater on the ice in this game. His work with AND without the puck was solid. He had an assist and four shots on goal.
Black Star: Matt Fraser: Oh man, that was rough. He had a couple of turnovers that nearly led to goals. He is usually an all-around decent skater, but not on this night.