By: Jeff Playdon | Follow me on Twitter @PlaydonJeff
Coming off a dramatic 2-1 win over the Philadelphia Flyers, the Bruins eyed a two-game winning streak when they faced the Chicago Blackhawks back at T.D Garden. It would not be an easy contest for the Bruins since Chicago was in the playoff hunt and, they still had most of the talent from the year prior when they won the Stanley Cup. This would be the first game out of a three-game homestand for the B’s, so these were some crucial games with the playoffs just around the corner.
The Bruins defense had been on a tear as of late, only allowing three goals in the past four games, impressive if you ask me. Tim Thomas would get the starting gig for Boston, and Corey Crawford would be the starting goaltender for Chicago. Boston was still without Steven Kampfer and Michael Ryder, while Chicago was without Dave Bolland, Jordan Hendry, John Scott, and Patrick Sharp.
Scoreless after One
The Bruins started the first period playing aggressively and getting pucks on net. Throughout the first seven minutes of the period, Daniel Paille clobbered Niklas Hjalmarsson against the boards, Tyler Seguin and Chris Kelly had a breakaway chance, and Patrice Bergeron had his lightning-quick wrist shot stuffed by Corey Crawford’s pad. At 7:37 of the first, the first penalty was called when Milan Lucic was called for holding, Chicago was on the first powerplay of the night.
The Bruins penalty kill unit was able to stop the league’s leading powerplay unit and the period continued. Other than a flareup between Shawn Thornton and Fernando Pisani at the 13:15 mark, there weren’t any other highlights in the period. Despite the scoreboard showing 0-0 after one, the Bruins had a 12-5 shot advantage and looked hungry. If the Bruins kept this same effort in the next two periods, they would probably have a very good chance of winning this contest.
The B’s Start Buzzin
Chicago started the second period just like the Bruins ended the first period, and that was getting quality shots on net. At 1:46 of the second, Tim Thomas covered up a quality chance by Michal Frolik. At the 3:31 mark, Shawn Thornton was sent to the dressing room after receiving a cut on the forehead. It appeared to have happened from a Chicago player’s skate after a collision. Before heading to the locker room, Thornton made a stop in front of Chicago’s bench and barked some words for them. Seconds after the incident, Boston was shorthanded again but ended up getting a quality shorthanded chance from Patrice Bergeron.
The Bruins were able to kill off the penalty and were back to even strength. As the period progressed, tempers began to flare, one including a scuffle in front of Tim Thomas after a Tomas Kopecky shot. Both goaltenders continued to make tremendous stops keeping it a scoreless game. Finally, at the 12:02 mark of the second, Zdeno Chara wristed in a shot from the left circle and it was 1-0 Boston. As Boston rode the momentum, just a little over two minutes later, Johnny Boychuk sent a “Johnny Rocket” from the right point past Corey Crawford that caught him in surprise, and it was now 2-0 Boston.
Mark Recchi was credited with the assist and was now 12th on the all-time scoring list. During the TV timeout, his teammates along with the 17,565 in attendance gave Recchi a standing ovation. Soon enough, the period ended, and Boston was up by two after two. The Bruins were demolishing the Blackhawks defense and if it wasn’t for Corey Crawford, this would be a blowout.
Bruins win 3-0, Up Next, Toronto
As the third period started, there was still no sight of Shawn Thornton, so he was most likely done for the night. Nathan Horton ended up taking up Thornton’s spot on the fourth line and took advantage of it. At 5:20 of the third period, Nathan Horton tucked the puck behind Corey Crawford and Boston was up 3-0. Chicago desperately tried making up ground on the Bruins, firing shots left and right on Tim Thomas. However, Thomas was on his mark tonight and didn’t let a shot by him. With no more penalties or goals occurring in the third period, the game quickly ended, and the Bruins held on for a 3-0 win.
A dominating performance for the Bruins was exactly what they needed to start this critical homestand. Throughout most of this game, the B’s looked nothing short of excellent and like a team that couldn’t be stopped. They outshot the Blackhawks 34-32, but the shots on net don’t show exactly how dominant the Bruins really were in this game. The three stars of the game were Zdeno Chara (1 goal, +3), Patrice Bergeron (1 assist, +2), and Tim Thomas (32 saves and ninth shutout of the season). The Bruins looked to continue their winning streak when they faced their division foe Toronto Maple Leafs on March 31st.