It was a good news/bad news kind of day. On my way into Boston today, I was informed that Peter Chiarelli called an early press conference about the health and status of Milan Lucic. Looch went down awkwardly late in the Minnesota game Wednesday night and it immediately reminded me of Marco Sturm's devastating knee injury last December. The circumstances for both players were eerily similar too as Sturm was returning from an injury when he went down. Lucic, as we all know, was returning from a broken finger and had played great on the road trip scoring a couple of goals and throwing his weight around on the oppositions defense. Both players fell to the ice with their toes “locked” into a rut on the ice a fell backwards putting the pressure on their knee while falling on their backs.
The first thing I thought was why would the G.M. call a press conference unless Lucic blew out a ligament (or multiple ligaments) and was done for an extended period of time. Surely the media wouldn't be assembled on the third floor of the TD Garden to say he twisted his ankle and while it was still swollen, all would be all right.
Boy was I wrong. Like I said, it was good news/bad news. The good news – he didn't blow out his knee. The bad news is the rugged winger is out for about four weeks. As Chiarelli pointed out during his press conference when asked if he thought Lucic would be lost for months instead of weeks, “You do that by nature as a General Manager. You also learn to wait. Usually the report on the injury initially is really, really bad. That applies every time. You learn to wait until the next morning, then the following morning. As is the case it got better this morning.”
As for the game itself, it too was good news/bad news. The good news is the Bruins continued to play great team defense, giving up only one goal but the bad news is they are still offensively challenged – scoring only one goal themselves.
The first period was like the start of a heavyweight fight with the teams kind of tossing jabs at one another. Each team landed a solid shot against the other's defense. Patrice Bergeron had a deflection beat Brodeur but trickle wide for Boston while Travis Zajac had a goal called back because the net was off the pegs and he missed an open net as a puck bounced over his stick during a goal mouth scramble.
Midway through the game, the Devils opened the scoring. First, it was a three on one break the Tuukka Rask made a solid save on. No rebound and off the ensuing draw, the Devils attacked the Bruin net. Finally, while Rask was trying to cover the puck with his leg, it was Zach Parise literally pushing Rask's leg into the net. With the puck under Tuukka's pad and his pad in the net, the Bruins were down to the Devils 1-0. Both teams combined for a parade of penalties and the second half of the second period was all about the special teams. Both teams went 0-2 to end the period on the power play and there was plenty of four on four time where each team tried to add to the scoring.
With the third period coming up, we were given the following stats:
Devils lead the Bruins 1-0 after two periods at the Garden.
Bruins are 1-7-1 when trailing after two periods this season.
Devils are 9-0-0 when leading after two periods.
The joke was that a Jacques Lemaire team was going to trap away the day and Zach Parise would score an empty net goal to seal it. Well, twelve seconds into the third period, the B's tied it at one and the trap jokes went away. Off the draw, the puck was dumped into the Devils zone. Martin Brodeur went behind the net and flicked the puck along the glass but it hit one of the supports for the glass and dropped to Marc Savard's stick. Savard's pass to Byron Bitz near the crease was immediatley fed to an open Blake Wheeler at the bottom of his left wing circle. Wheeler wasted no time and buried the puck to tie the game for the Bruins.
The game ended in a 1-1 draw with nothing being settled in overtime. In the shootout, the Bruins shot first. Patrice Bergeron was stopped by Brodeur. Patrick Elias deked Rask and while Rask made the save, he admitted, “Like that first stop, I had no business stopping that it was just like my back, but there’s some talented players in this league and they can really make those moves and there’s nothing much you can do and just try and be big.”
Blake Wheeler scored for the B's on their second shot. He shot low glove side figuring that the NHL goalies were figuring out his moves. Zach Parise all but undressed Rask to tie the shootout at one.
Patrice Bergeron was stopped by Brodeur setting up the final shooter. Jamie Langenbrunner against Tuukka Rask. The Devil forward took a quick wrist shot and beat Rask to earn the extra point for the Devils.
With the point, the Bruins sit atop the division tied with tomorrow's villian – the Ottawa Senators. The Sens come to Boston with two games in hand so it's imperative the Bruins take two points and not let the game go to OT, giving the Sens anything at all.
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Written by Jim Mulligan