The Bruins sure did not play great hockey, but they came away with the win. The two points are all that matters. Thursday night featured a huge, late third period comeback by the Bruins, who with 68 points are now in 6th place in the Eastern Conference standings.
In the first period, Jay Bouwmeester (who should be suspended by the NHL for a punch he threw to the back of a Bruin head) scored early to give the Panthers the lead. Knowing that the Bruins needed some firing up, Jeremy Reich decided to drop the gloves against Steve Montador. Jeremy Reich kicked his ass. Later in the period, Mark Stuart punched Gregory Campbell to the ice. Despite having two fighting victories, the Bruins trailed 1-0 at the end of the period.
Early in the second, Marco Sturm's slap shot on a breakaway went in and the game was tied. The Bruins looked as if they were going to score again and again. They took 19 shots in the second period. The BRuins, however, gave up two bad goals. 9:32 into the second, Mark Sturat and Phil Kessel blew their coverage of Steve Montador and he was wide open in front of the goal. Olesz found him and set up the easy goal. A few minutes later, Rostislav Olesz circled around the net and tucked the puck in behind Thomas. This should have been a routine save for Tim Thomas, who did not get across the pipes in time. The Bruins showed that they would not give up when five minutes later, Dennis Wideman's slap shot on the power play went in. He had recieved a pass from Savard, who was out playing near the blue line. What happened next was a shocker. Kamil Kreps with 0.8 seconds left in the second period scored over the shoulder of Tim Thomas. Thomas was hesistant about Kreps passing the puck and did not protect the near side of the net.
Claude Julien replaced Thomas with Auld in the third period. Auld was perfect, stopping every shot that he faced. Meanwhile, the Bruins were finally able to get some pucks behind Tomas Vokoun, who leads the league in saves. With under 7 minutes left to play, Marco Sturm passed the puck across the net on a power play to Zdeno Chara, who easily tipped it in. This play was very similar to Chara's goal on Tuesday night. A minute and a half later, Phil Kessel's shot went in while streaking towards the net with Krejci. All of a sudden the game was tied.
Overtime was a bit boring but the shootout was a lot of fun. Marco Sturm went first and scored five whole on Vokoun. Auld then saved Montador's shot. (Montador had a gordie howe hat trick this game) Phil Kessel's shot was saved by Vokoun. Horton's shot was stopped by Auld. David Krejci had a chance to win the game again but his shot sailed wide. Alex Auld forced Olli Jokinen's shot wide and the Bruins won the game.
The Bruins came very close to tkaing 48 shots and losing. If they keep up the shots they should have more 4 or 5 goal games. The Bruins are now 3-0-1 on this 5 game road trip. All 3 wins have been one goal wins (2 in shootout). The Bruins aren't playing spectacular hockey but they are getting the job done. Coach Julien needs to find a way to motivate a winning team to play better, which is always a tough thing to do.
By the way, this is Bruins Nation's 400th post.