Thursday night, I didn't have many good things to say about the Bruins. If I remember correctly, I used adjectives like lethargic and uninspired. The third period against Phoenix was their best period of the night but even still, their offense was chaotic and even disorganized.
They never really threatened to score against the Yotes. I don't know what coach Julien said before today's matchup with the Chicago Black Hawks but for the most part – he should bottle it up and have the boys drink it before every game. The Bruins came out and pressed the Hawks with their forecheck. It's been awhile since their forecheck was this good.
Newcomer, Mark Recchi, potted a pair in his second game as a Bruin. He did all the “dirty” things today that the B's offense hasn't been doing lately. His career has been based in the trapezoid that isÂ the faceoff dots in to the crease and that's where he scored both of his goals today. On his first goal, he led the forecheck andÂ hit Brian Campbell. As the puck moved behind the net, heÂ then hit Matt Walker before moving to the front of the crease. Because of the hit on Walker, his passÂ whipped past Campbell aroundÂ behind the netÂ where Patrice Bergeron fed Chuck Kobasew in the slot.Â Kobasew's back hand shot was slowed by Recchi and his wrist shot beat Christobal Huet for an early lead halfway through the first period.
His second goal was scored just three feet from the net. As Aaron Ward said afterwards, “…They call him “The Wrecking Ball” because he gets his rear end in there, gets his body in a position where heâ€™s still getting an opportunity off a rebound or tip or something. He gets dirty goals; he gets gritty positions and gets those tough to get goals. Thatâ€™s not skill, thatâ€™s part of your personality.” Well this goal symbolized this point to a “T”. After starting the rush from his left wing, Recchi barreled down his wing right to the top of the crease. Once he settled in there, he waited for Dennis Wideman's point shot to get through for him toÂ tip it home.
Today's effort was much, much better than Thurday nights but at the same time, Chicago took the play to the Bruins a couple of times. It was mostly due to penalties the Bruins took as the Haws were 2 for 3 with the man advantage. Chicago finally broke through the Thomas wall with only 4:49 to go in the second period. The first Bruin penalty kill went going great with P.J. Axelsson taking the body and knocking down Brian Campbell. P.J. attacked the net but Huet got the better of him. The second power play wasn't as good for the Bruins. Patrick Kane passed the puck down low to Jonathan Toews who attacked the net knocking a shot off of Aaron Ward and in behing Thomas. Just 30 seconds after the game was tied at one, David Krejci scored a fluke goal that had Huet looking at the net as if he were looking for a tear in the net and the puck found the hole. With Wideman and Ference trading passes, Ference passed to Krejci at the goal line to the right of Huet. Once he had control of the puck, Krejci whipped a shot on goal that found some opening to immediately give the Bruins the lead back. Recchi's second goal came 35 seconds after Krejci's.
The third period started out good for Boston. Just a minute and a half in the Bruins were having one of those great forechecking moments. Milan Lucic was hitting everyone in a white sweater. When the puck finally started to come out of the zone, Lucic stepped up to confront Brian Cambell. Campbell lost an edge, Lucic took the puck, fed Marc Savard who quickly found Phil Kessel who quickly beat Huet for a 4-1 Boston lead.Â The Hawks scored two goals to cut the lead down to 4-3. With 33 seconds to go, P.J. scored an empty net goal but the thing to take away from this one was his relentless forecheck. (there's that word again) PJ laid his stick down at the right time as Campbell was making a pass, stole the puck and fired away into the empty net.
It was good to see the team respond quickly afte the PhoenixÂ game. As Shawn Thornton said afterward, “Itâ€™s a step in the right direction, I hope so. Weâ€™re righting the ship. I guess in about 20 hours weâ€™ll find out when we get after it again.” The Bruins travel to New York to face the Rangers Sunday afternoon. Shawn hasn't lost his sense of humor either. When asked what was different between today and Thursday night he deadpanned, “We scored more goals than the other team.”
So the team is relaxed. They finished a six game homestand with a record of 3-2-1 where they were lucky to score a point last week against Wahington.
Marc Savard assisted on Bostonâ€™s fourth goal, giving him five assists in three of his last four games with nine helpers in five of his last seven contests.Patrice Bergeron had two assists today, extending his point streak to a season-best four straight games with 1-4=5 totals in that span.
The Bruins went 0 for 3 on the power play today â€¦ They have scored at least one power play goal in five of their last seven games (7 for 23, 30.4%) and they are now 9 for 35 (25.7%) in their last nine games.
The Blackhawks have killed off 21 of their last 26 times short (80.8%) over their last six contests and have killed off 31 of their last 38 times short (81.6%) over their last ten contests.
The Blackhawks went 2 for 3 on the power play today â€¦ They are now 7 for 34 (20.6%) over their last seven games and are 9 for 42 (21.4%) over their last 11 contests.
The Bruins have now killed off 34 of their last 40 times short (85.0%) over their last 11 games.
It was 15 years ago (March 7, 1994) that Cam Neely scored his 50th goal in 44 games played. Only Wayne Gretzky scored 50 goals faster in only 39 games.
Tonightâ€™s Three Starsâ€¦
1 – Mark Recchi with a pair of goals. His first as a Bruin. As I said, he did it all.
2 – Phil Kessel with one goal that happened to be the game winner. His line was reunited and a force all afternoon long.
3- Patrice Bergeron with a pair of assists. His play has been improving steadily lately.Â
Next up -Â the New York RangersÂ in New York on Sunday afternoon.
As always, you can reach me here by sending me an email at email@example.com
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Written by Jim Mulligan