Black Hawks invade the Garden…The action was fast paced and the hits were flying. Unfortunately on the first shift of the game, Marc Savard hit the boards awkwardly and went down with an injury. Julien showed he has a great poker face when discussing Savard's situation after the game, “Yeah, well he’s going to get an MRI tomorrow. It’s a knee injury and the severity of it, we’ll know more once we get the MRI done tomorrow.”
Just five and a half minutes in, Blake Wheeler gave the Bruins an early lead on the power play. Wheels, scoring in his third straight game, scored a goal similar to the Recchi goal in the Winter Classic. Boychuk, maybe taking a risk by pinching at the offensive blueline line, chipped a backhand pass across the line to Morris. Morris took one of his patented shot-passes from the blueline. Wheeler, moving into the slot tipped the Morris shot over Niemi's shoulder.
Miroslav Satan, in his home Bruin debut, scored a couple minutes later. On the forecheck, Satan forced the Hawk defender into a bad pass up the boards that Wheeler intercepted. Wheeler quickly moved the puck to Satan who's short side wrist shot beat Neimi over the catching glove.
Seriously, just 8:02 into the game, that was it for Bruin highlights.
I've seen this Chicago team before. From November 1, 2008 through January 1, 2009 our Bruins played like this Hawks team. They didn't care that they were in Boston. They didn't care they were down 0-2. They played fast and didn't get down and they just took over the game. They outhit, outskated and outshot the Bruins for the rest of the night. “I think everyone was just (angry), basically, getting down there, 2-0. “We just wanted to turn it around, and we did.” was what defenseman Niklas Hjarlmarsson had to say afterwards.
With goals by Duncan Keith and Tomas Kopecky the deficit was erased and the teams went to the rooms all even.
The break between periods didn't slow the Hawks down at all. Less than two minutes in, it was Andrew Ladd giving the Hawks a lead they would never relinquish. Halfway through the period, it was Duncan Keith – again – lifting a wrist shot from 65 feet past Thomas. That signaled the end of the night for Thomas as Tuukka Rask was given the task of stopping the Black Hawk machine. Julien afterwards, “Well obviously it wasn’t aimed at Timmy more than it was to probably stop the hemorrhaging, if you can put it that way, and we did. It stopped the goal scoring anyway and we came back in the third as well.”
The third period, the Bruins did have chances to get back into it but really, they never really threatened. Patrick Kane ended the scoring and Chicago took a two point lead for the President's Trophy over the San Jose Sharks. The Bruin highlight of the period had to be Johnny Boychuk's battle with Colin Fraser. He took a couple shots early but got position and drilled Fraser with a one punch knockdown. Boychuk was trying to spark the team and the crowd, “Yeah, absolutely. You could feel it in the whole building, it was just dead. So, I had to do something to spark up our team and try to get everybody back in the game. We were down 4-2 in the third period and you have to try and get something going to maybe build some momentum.” He was asked about his punch hitting the target, “Yeah, I think I caught him on the side of the jaw, right about there (points to right side of his jaw), but he was fine. He was back out there.”
The Black Hawks speed and forecheck were just too much for the black and gold to handle tonight. They were constantly sending two forwards in on the Bruin defense and time and time again, they ruined the Bruins set breakout plays.
The mood in the locker room was obviously somber. The guys are tired of the win one, lose one pattern that the seems to plague the team. Derek Morris ripped into the team and included himself during his postgame interview, “We only have a handful of guys competing every single night. They’re going out there and playing hard. I think we just have to look in the mirror. Some guys have to look in the mirror. All of us have to look in the mirror and say, ‘Did I play my best?’ I can’t remember one guy who can go in there and say the whole team played our best. Including myself. I’m not going to make an excuse and blame it on someone else. We all have to be better. [It’s as] simple as that. It’s not one guy. It’s Z (Chara). It’s me. It’s Timmy (Thomas). It’s everyone. We’re going to win a couple here. We’re going to win a couple there. We’ll probably get in the playoffs, but it’s not going to be a solid team until we all take a look in the mirror.”
No one is willing to use the injury bug as an excuse but missing your two top centers and two of your top four defensemen is going to hurt. Losing Savard tonight and going in with Bergeron, Bitz, Ference and Stuart sitting up along side me in the pressbox is going to lead to nights like this. The guys playing now, have to do a little more than tread water until some of the walking wounded get back. At least the Bruins got Milan Lucic back tonight.
I think for the first time in the two years I've covered the Bruins, none of the three stars of the night included a Bruin.
3 – Patrick Kane scored the final goal of the night extending his scoring streak to 10 consecutive games.
2 – Jonathan Toews was held off the scoresheet but was a force next to Kane all night
1 – Duncan Keith scored two goals and assisted one another. was also a +4 for the night.
Next up for the Bruins another Original Six matchup with the New York Rangers on Saturday afternoon up in Boston.
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Written by Jim Mulligan