BOSTON, MA- In yet another edition of what’s become a great Boston hockey tradition, the Black and Gold were back on the ice Monday afternoon for a Martin Luther King Day matinee contest against the Winnipeg Jets.
Much to the dismay of the sell-out crowd of 17, 565 at TD Garden, the unfortunate side effect of a daytime puck drop reared its ugly head again on Monday as we didn’t exactly see the most exciting of contests. However, the home-standing Bruins would send their fans home happy with a 2-1 shootout victory over the Jets.
It didn’t take long for the Jets to anger what was sure to be a disgruntled Boston crowd that was undoubtedly still reeling from the Patriots’ AFC Championship Game defeat less than 24 hours ago. At the 1:58 mark of the opening period, fourth line winger Chris Thorburn would corral a rebound and fire it past Bruins’ goaltender Tuukka Rask to give the visiting Jets an early 1-0 lead.
Boston would even the score at one later in the first period when Tyler Seguin made a beautiful play in the offensive zone to set up linemate Brad Marchand for his first goal of the season. The former No. 2 overall draft pick first stripped the puck from a Winnipeg defender before slipping it in front to Marchand who was all alone in front of Jet’s netminder Ondrej Pavelec.
Spectacular play at each end of the ice by both team’s goaltenders would keep the score deadlocked at one for the remainder of the first frame as well as both the second and third periods and we would head to overtime at the TD Garden for the first time this season. Overtime would see much of the same as neither team was able to cash in on one of their many prime scoring opportunities. In the shootout, tallies from both Tyler Seguin and Patrice Bergeron were enough to trump Winnipeg’s one goal from former Bruin Blake Wheeler as Boston took home the 2-1 victory. Seguin’s tally was of particular elegance as he went against his traditional speed rush and instead slowed the play down before beating Pavelec on the forehand.
“I’ve done a lot of shootouts since I’ve come here and most of them, I usually like to use my speed but got mix it up, because there’s video these days and people looking around so, got a few more that I’m willing to try.” – Tyler Seguin
At the tail end of both regulation and overtime, Bruins’ defensemen Johnny Boychuk (high-sticking) and Zdeno Chara (holding) were slapped with rather questionable penalty calls, putting the B’s a man down with the game on the line during both occasions. However, the penalty-killing unit remained perfect on the year, shutting down the Jets’ power-play to pave the way to an eventual Bruins’ victory. Defenseman Andrew Ference attributes much of Boston’s success on the PK to their outstanding core of two-way forwards.
“We’ve had a good penalty kill for a number of years now. Our forwards probably don’t get as much credit as they deserve either. Whether it’s Kelly or Bergeron up front, especially in those situations, they make our life (as defensemen) really easy. I think there’s just that confidence going into those situations where it’s the same personnel a lot of the times, or a combination of just a couple.” – Andrew Ference
It wasn’t the prettiest of victories, but in the end, the Bruins will take the two points as they prepare for another showdown with the New York Rangers on Wednesday at Madison Square Garden.
Stat of the Night: Milan Lucic’s ten hits were the most of anyone on the ice on Monday as No. 17 was a one-man demolition crew for the Bruins.
Ben’s Three Stars:
2) Tuukka Rask (26 Saves)
3) Milan Lucic (1 Shot/10 Hits)
Next Game: Wednesday January 23, 2013 – 7:30 PM – AT New York Rangers
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About the Author: Boston Bruins writer for Hockey Independent. Contributor to the New England Hockey Journal. Have written for The Hockey Guys and SB Nation Boston. Follow me on Twitter @_BWoodward or shoot me an email at BWoodward.HI@gmail.com.