BOSTON, MA – After a dramatic 5-3 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes less than twenty-four hours ago in Raleigh, the Boston Bruins were back on the ice at TD Garden on Tuesday against the New Jersey Devils in a battle of the two most recent Eastern Conference representatives in the Stanley Cup Final. For the Bruins, it was another solid night at the office as they were able to pull through with a 2-1 shootout win after coming from behind late in the third period.
Fans in attendance were treated to what was a fairly entertaining first frame, despite the game remaining scoreless for the balance of the period. The highlight of the opening period came when Shawn Thornton and Krys Barch squared off in a lengthy battle of the heavyweights.
In the second period, one Bruins’ streak of epic proportions came to an unfortunate end. After the first of three Boston penalties in the period, a point shot from veteran defenseman Marek Zidlicky would be deflected by David Clarkson and sent past Bruins’ goaltender Tuukka Rask into the net to give the Devils a 1-0 lead. With the goal, New Jersey snapped Boston’s amazing season-opening stretch of 24-consecutive penalties killed.
New Jersey alternate captain Patrik Elias was excited about his team’s ability to break the Bruins’ penalty-killing streak, but recognized that his team could have done a lot better than their 1/5 showing with the man-advantage.
“We knew that they hadn’t been scored on, on the power-play. I thought we did a great job on our entries and moving the puck around. Not enough shots. We scored because we shot the puck. After that, we just tried to make plays and hold on to it a little too much. We should have kept it simple.” – Patrik Elias
It would take until the 15:55 mark of the game’s third period for the Bruins to finally snap Johan Hedberg’s shutout bid. A brilliant play through the neutral zone by top-line pivot David Krejci was enough to let Nathan Horton walk into the slot uncontested. No 18’s seeing-eye wrist shot made it through Hedberg’s five-hole to tie the score and send the game into overtime. For Boston’s 2011 playoff hero, it is the third goal of the season and the second in the last two games. Getting Nathan Horton back on track could be a huge factor for a Bruins team that boasts two legitimate number one lines, when everyone is healthy.
“We know he’s got good strength, he’s a great skater, great shot and he’s utilizing all his tools right now. Doesn’t seem to be anything holding him back. That’s pretty impressive, because sometimes guys come back a little tentative. That’s not the case with Nathan, he’s been pretty poised and I think right now you’re seeing him at his best. We all know that he’s a machine. Doesn’t seem like he’s skipped a beat, he’s right back in great form and we’re feeding off him, no doubt.” – Claude Julien
After an entertaining five minutes of overtime saw neither team net the game-winner, we were off to a shootout at the TD Garden for the second time this season.
In the shootout, the sensationally skilled Tyler Seguin was forced to score not once but twice to put the Bruins ahead in the first round. After beating Hedberg on the forehand, Seguin was forced to re-try his attempt because a fan had thrown something onto the ice.
“That’s a first. I’m still not sure what it was, maybe a hot dog. I’m hoping that there was a New Jersey Devil logo on the guy’s jersey who threw it, unless you’re one of the Bruins fans doing that, but I guess I’m glad it worked out in the end.” – Tyler Seguin
Luckily for the Bruins (and that fan), No. 19 was able to make another slick move to the back-hand and score again, rendering the incident meaningless when it comes to the outcome of the game. After four straight saves made by Hedberg, the Bruins were finally able to break through when Brad Marchand’s wrist shot slipped through the New Jersey netminder and into the goal. With a chance to tie the game, Devils’ defenseman Marek Zidlicky was stopped by Tuukka Rask as the Bruins held on for a hard fought 2-1 home-ice victory.
On a night when they didn’t have their best legs during the second half of a back-to-back, it’d of been easy for the Bruins to pack it in when down by a goal late in the third period. However, the Bruins were able to steal victory from the jaws of defeat after displaying the same type of resiliency that helped win them the Stanley Cup less than two years ago.
“That’s what it’s all about. That’s what we talked about, you’re not always going to be at your best, but we pull through. You’re down a goal, you’re down two goals, it doesn’t matter you just work hard and fight back. That’s the kind of team we are and the kind of guys we are on our team. We all know we can come back when we’re down and I think that’s what makes us so good.” – Nathan Horton
Stat of the Night: After Tuesday’s one-goal victory, the Bruins now boast an amazing 9-1-0 record in their last ten games against the Devils. New Jersey’s last win against Boston came in April of 2011 at the conclusion of that year’s regular season.
Ben’s Three Stars:
2) Nathan Horton (1 Goal/2 Shots)
3) David Krejci (1 Assist/70% Face-offs)
Next Game: Thursday January 31, 2013 – 7:00 PM – vs. Buffalo Sabres
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About the Author: Boston Bruins writer for Hockey Independent. 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.