Rapid reaction: Bruins 4, Devils 1
March, 22, 2011
By James Murphy | ESPNBoston.com
BOSTON -- The Bruins returned home mired in a 1-3-3 slump looking for some home cooking as they began a three-game homestand. That’s exactly what they got as Zdeno Chara had a goal and two assists, Milan Lucic had a goal and assist, and Tim Thomas earned his first win in four starts with a 30-save performance for a 4-1 win.
Shawn Thornton and Mark Recchi also scored for the Bruins, and Patrice Bergeron got two helpers as Boston now prepares for the much anticipated rematch with Montreal on Thursday.
Lucic becomes Bruins' first 30-goal scorer in two seasons. With his goal 16:13 into the third period, Lucic became the Bruins' first 30-goal scorer since Phil Kessel lit the lamp 36 times in 2008-09. Lucic added an assist on Chara’s second-period game-winner and has three points in his last three games and 55 on the season, pulling within one point of team leader David Krejci.
Thomas bounces back. After going winless in his last four starts and being pulled in his last game, Thomas finally looked like the Vezina Trophy candidate he has been for most of the season, making 30 saves and getting his 30th win of the season. Thomas was huge in a first period that saw the Bruins come out flat and get outshot 16-6. If not for Thomas, the Bruins probably wouldn't have come out of the period tied. Later in the game, Thomas made some crucial saves to preserve the lead and allow the Bruins to pull away with two third-period goals.
Chara moves on from controversy with points. With the Canadiens coming to town, there is going to be plenty of talk surrounding Chara's hit on Max Pacioretty on March 8 that left the Habs winger in the hospital with a concussion and broken neck. But the controversy surrounding that game hasn't hurt Chara's production. With his three-point effort (goal, two asissts), Chara has seven points in the six games since that difficult night. Chara has been doing a great job of getting his shot off and knowing when to pinch down low. The goal was the 400th point of his career.
Kaberle helping out. There has been some criticism as of late that Tomas Kaberle hasn’t lived up to his billing as the puck-moving defenseman the Bruins needed when they acquired him on Feb. 18. On Tuesday night, fans got a glimpse of why the Bruins sent a first-round pick and prospect Joe Colborne to Toronto for Kaberle as the slick passer had two assists, with one coming on the power play, where Kaberle has been known to work most of his magic. Kaberle has five points with the Bruins and three assists in his last three games.
Power play finally connects. Chara’s second-period power-play goal was the Bruins' first 5-on-4 goal since Feb. 18 at Ottawa. They have scored one other power-play goal during that stretch, a 5-on-3 goal on March 11 during a 4-2 win over the Islanders. While they only went 1-for-5 on the man-advantage on Tuesday, they looked much better, creating plenty of chances and being effective in front of the net. The problem lately hasn’t really been puck movement, but rather the forwards not getting to the net to create havoc, screen the goalie and get the dirty goals. On Tuesday, they were doing just that and it paid off on Chara’s goal.
Thornton finds twine for first time in 20 games. It had been 20 games since Thornton found the back of the net and the hard-working Thornton was finally rewarded for the little things he does every game when he tipped in a Dennis Seidenberg shot from the point 15:39 into the opening period. Thornton has nine goals this season, and if he can start to chip in offensively as he did early this season, he may find himself with more playing time in the playoffs.
Marchand returns from suspension. After serving a two-game suspension for a blindside elbow to the head of Blue Jackets forward RJ Umberger a week ago, Brad Marchand returned to the Bruins lineup and played on a line with Patrice Bergeron and Mark Recchi. Marchand had a solid game, skating hard and creating chances for both his teammates and himself. Here’s what the rest of the forward lines and defensive pairings looked like to start the game:
Milan Lucic-David Krejci-Nathan Horton
Michael Ryder-Patrice Bergeron-Mark Recchi
Tyler Seguin-Chris Kelly-Rich Peverley
Brad Marchand-Gregory Campbell-Shawn Thornton
Zdeno Chara-Johnny Boychuk
Tomas Kaberle-Dennis Seidenberg
Andrew Ference-Adam McQuaid