Bruins show familiar spark, rally past Senators
It seemed like old times with the Bruins in Ottawa on Saturday night.
Not only was Tim Thomas in Vezina Trophy-worthy form between the pipes, the Bruins also regained the ability to take two points out of a game that featured less than their best all-around effort.
Last season, in amassing 116 points, the Bruins enjoyed a few of those games along the way. This one showed up just in the nick of time.
The Bruins were sleepwalking through the third period, trailing 3-1, until Mark Recchi and David Krejci scored on tip-ins in the final two minutes with Thomas pulled for an extra skater to tie the score.
Then Patrice Bergeron scored the only goal in the shootout, turning what could've been a one-point road trip into a confidence-building three-point trek. For all the worrying -- some warranted -- about the Bruins to start this season, they're right in the mix in the Northeast Division after a triumph in their first divisional game of the year.
One thing we didn't see a lot of last season was both members of the Bruins' top defensive pair starring at both ends. But on a night when the other four defensemen often looked like they were chasing a headless chicken rather than a puck, Derek Morris continued to emerge as an offensive complement to Norris Trophy winner Zdeno Chara.
Without Morris getting the puck to the net in those closing seconds of regulation, there wouldn't have been a two-goal rally. Morris created a few other scoring chances during his 24:58 of ice time against the Senators and he was instrumental in the Bruins' earning a point in Philadelphia on Thursday with a goal and an assist. All the while, he was solid in his own end as well.
It has taken a couple of weeks, but Morris is finally starting to live up to his advanced billing as a master of getting shots through from the point and making crisp passes out of his own end.
If Morris' upward trend continues, we'll finally see the improvement the Bruins thought they had created on their blue line. And if late-game heroics can create momentum that carries on even after the score goes final, the Bruins should still be on a high when they next take the ice Thursday against New Jersey.