Saturday, April 3, 2010
This time, Satan has hot hand
By Matt Kalman
With just four games left in the regular season, the Bruins are out of time to become an offensive juggernaut.
But with goaltender Tuukka Rask (two goals allowed in his last three games) playing not only like a Calder Trophy candidate but a Vezina Trophy contender, it seems that Boston needs just one of its bunch of streaky scorers to get hot in order to provide enough offense to earn wins.
In Toronto Saturday night, Miroslav Satan emerged from his doldrums to score twice -- a regular offensive eruption in Bruins terms -- including the overtime game-winner in Boston’s 2-1 victory.
The win pushes the Bruins into seventh in the Eastern Conference and keeps Boston two points ahead of the New York Rangers for a playoff berth.
Sometimes Satan -- because he was a midseason addition and is making a measly sum compared with some of his unproductive teammates -- gets overlooked on the list of players not pulling their weight. But the 35-year-old winger has been as inconsistent as the likes of Michael Ryder, Marco Sturm and Blake Wheeler. He hadn’t scored in five games before he tied the score Saturday by banging in a rebound 8:01 into the second period.
And then after a David Krejci faceoff win in the extra session, Satan from the right hash mark redirected a Zdeno Chara shot past Jonas Gustavsson for the ever-important bonus point in the standings.
Head coach Claude Julien’s new forward alignment played out to mixed results. Boston as a team managed just five shots on net in the first period. But Satan and Marco Sturm proved more of a threat on Krejci’s wings, and Milan Lucic created space for Patrice Bergeron and Mark Recchi. In the end, Sturm, Ryder and Wheeler failed to end their respective droughts, but Satan took the heat off and made sure that Rask’s 28 saves and Boston’s tightened defense, led by Zdeno Chara and Johnny Boychuk (in the absence of Mark Stuart and Dennis Seidenberg), stood up.
Whether Satan can continue his hot hand will be a question answered Monday in Washington. However, he might not have to carry the load. Maybe Sturm and Ryder’s signs of life will pay off in two days. And if the Bruins can just get their inconsistent forwards to be ineffective on different nights, and pot a goal or three, they just might have enough offense to punch their playoff ticket.