Looking back at the 2011 Boston Bruins: March 22nd, 2011

(Photo Credit: The MetroWest Daily News)

By: Jeff Playdon | Follow Me On Twitter @PlaydonJeff

Following an embarrassing loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Boston Bruins looked to bounce back when they returned home to TD Garden and the 17,565 Boston faithful. Boston had been struggling as of late and have only won one out of their last seven games, so this was an important night to bounce back. New Jersey, on the other hand, was coming off a 3-0 against the Columbus Blue Jackets and were looking to make a late-season run to make the playoffs. Tim Thomas would be the starting goaltender despite getting pulled in the last game against Toronto. New Jersey’s starting goaltender would be veteran Martin Brodeur in his 18th season. Boston would still be without Daniel Paille and Steven Kampfer, while New Jersey would be without Mark Fraser and Vladimir Zharkov.  

1st Period Struggles Continue for Boston

The first period started, and things were not looking good for Boston. Throughout the game’s first six minutes, New Jersey was firing shots left and right, and the Bruins defense couldn’t stop them. As a result, Claude Julien was forced to take a timeout and straighten his players out. The timeout did allow Boston to recuperate for a few minutes, but at the 11:05 mark, New Jersey’s Ilya Kovalchuk put them on the board with a power-play goal. The goal was scored just 12 seconds after Mark Recchi was whistled off for hooking. 

Four minutes later, Boston was finally finding their rhythm, and with five minutes left in the period, Shawn Thornton deflected in a blistering slapshot from Dennis Seidenberg, and the game was tied at one. It was Shawn Thornton’s ninth goal of the season. The period would shortly be over, and the game was tied at one, heading into the intermission. Even though the score showed that it looked like this was an even game, it was not. The Devils were outshooting the Bruins 16-6, and Boston definitely needed to get more shots on Brodeur if they wanted to win this game.

Chara Puts Boston Ahead

Boston started the second period with a great chance to take the lead when New Jersey’s Mark Fayne was whistled off for hooking just 23 seconds into the period. Boston’s powerplay couldn’t get anything going, and the game was still tied at one. Boston started the second period better than the first as they were actually getting more shots on the net than New Jersey. At the 8:08 mark of the period, New Jersey’s Nick Palmieri was sent to the penalty box for tripping. Boston would get another chance to take the lead while on the powerplay. Nine seconds into the powerplay, Captain Zdeno Chara netted what would be the game-winning goal and put Boston ahead 2-1.

This was a milestone goal for Chara as this was the 400th point of his career. Other than Boston taking a 2-1 lead, Boston would have two more chances on the powerplay to extend their lead, but they couldn’t convert, and the period was over. Unlike the first period where Boston was marginally outshot, the Bruins dominated the shot department in the second period as they outshot New Jersey 17-8. The Bruins were 20 minutes away from notching their 40th win of the season. However, two-goal games were not so nice for Boston, as they were just 9-10 on the season when they scored two goals before the third period.  

(Photo Credit: The Toronto Star)

Bruins Pull Away

The third period started, and unlike the first and second period, where we saw either team dominate the other team in the shot department, both teams were evenly split so far in the period. It wasn’t until the 8:51 mark where we saw some action. Bruins Gregory Campbell was sent to the box for tripping, and New Jersey would get its second powerplay opportunity of the night. They also had a superb opportunity to tie the game. The Bruins were able to kill off the penalty and looked to put New Jersey further in the rear-view mirror. 

As the game quickly reached the final five minutes of the game, Milan Lucic netted his 30th goal of the season from the right circle, and Boston had a two-goal lead over the Devils. Lucic was able to get the goal thanks to a beautiful reverse pivot pass from Patrice Bergeron. After Lucic put in the dagger, the Devils eagerly tried to claw back, and with 40 seconds to go in the game, veteran Mark Recchi netted the empty netter and helped Boston secure a 4-1 win over the Devils.  

This was a much-needed win for Boston as this was just their second win in eight games. With the playoffs just around the corner, the Bruins wanted to get a winning streak going and try to catch the Philadelphia Flyers for first place in the conference. The three stars of the game were Tim Thomas, who had 30 saves on 31 shots, Zdeno Chara, and Milan Lucic, who got his 30th goal of the season. Milan Lucic would be the first Bruin to get 30 goals in a season since Phil Kessel, who had 36 goals in the 2008-2009 season. The Bruins would face the Montreal Canadiens on March 24th and look to get some revenge on their much-hated rivals.   

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