Monday, March 25, 2013
Rapid Reaction: Bruins 3, Leafs 2 (SO)
By James Murphy
BOSTON -- The Bruins took over first place in the Northeast Division with a 3-2 shootout win over the Maple Leafs at TD Garden on Monday night.
Boston erased a 2-0 deficit on goals by Milan Lucic and Patrice Bergeron, who tied the game at 10:36 of the third period and then won it in the shootout. Tyler Seguin also scored for the Bruins in the shootout and Tuukka Rask (23 saves) stopped two of three shots in the shootout.
Nikolai Kulemin and Joffrey Lupul scored for Toronto and James Reimer made 27 saves.
Bergeron makes up for rare penalty -- It's rare that Bergeron puts the opponent on the power play, but 30 seconds into the third period, the Bruins' best penalty killer did just that. The Bruins killed off the penalty, but Bergeron wasn't about to let his teammates' hard work go unrewarded and he repaid them with the game-tying goal at 10:36 of the period. Bergeron helped start the play with some good defense, then finished with a brilliant goal as he continues to show why he is one of the best two-way players in the NHL.
Lucic answers critics again -- Mired in a 15-game scoreless streak and coming off possibly his worst game of the season Saturday, Lucic looked more motivated Monday and, as he has in the past, answered his critics. He had that physical presence back in his game and he was driving to the net, which with his size he should be doing more often than he has lately. Some will say that being demoted to the third line lit a fire under Lucic, and that may have been the case, but this performance was proof that Lucic can be an effective power forward when he wants to be. But he shouldn't need a 15-game scoreless streak and demotion to do so.
Rask being Rask -- This scribe is still trying to figure out why Julien called out Rask for not making "timely" saves following the Bruins' third-period collapse in a 3-1 loss at Winnipeg last Tuesday considering Rask's teammates were the ones who fell apart in front of him. But as he's done all season, Rask again gave his team a chance to win Monday. The Bruins were completely flat until Lucic's goal at 8:49 of the second period and Rask prevented them from falling too far behind. As the game went on, he continued to make the saves he should and was a main reason the Bruins were able to get their game going.
Julien shuffles and reshuffles forward lines -- In an attempt to jump-start his offense, Bruins coach Claude Julien shuffled his lines in practice Sunday and kept the new groupings to start Monday's game. The new lines had Marchand skating with David Krejci and Nathan Horton, Daniel Paille with Bergeron and Seguin, Lucic with Rich Peverley and Jordan Caron, and Jay Pandolfo with Gregory Campbell and Shawn Thornton. The moves worked as the Bruins gave a much more spirited performance. That resulted in Julien rewarding them in the third period and putting his normal lines back together, most notably slotting Lucic back with Krejci and Horton and reuniting the team's best line this season, Marchand, Bergeron and Seguin.
Defense better but transition game still lacking -- Julien's critique of Rask may have been better served for the Bruins' defense, which at many times this season has not looked like the air-tight fortress it has been for most of Julien's tenure in Boston. The Bruins' blue line looked better on Monday, but their transition game both ways still needs to improve. The Kulemin goal resulted from a breakdown in the neutral zone as the Leafs winger was sent alone on a pass by Nazem Kadri that found its way through a group of Bruins. The Bruins also continued to struggle when they were trying to carry the puck through the neutral zone. There are still too many forced plays and turnovers.
Boychuk still hurt -- Johnny Boychuk missed his second straight game after taking a puck off his foot Friday in practice. That meant Matt Bartkowski was in the lineup again and the recent call-up from Providence played a solid game, logging 15:51 of ice time.