The roller coaster ride of a season continues.
Coming off of a ‘meh’ performance against the Calgary Flames, the Bruins put together one of their best games of the season, defeating the Western Conference-leading Chicago Blackhawks, 4-2, at the Garden. That is two straight wins at home; do you believe in miracles!?
The Bruins currently sit two points behind the Lightning and Panthers in the Atlantic, both of who have a game in hand. Next week’s games against both Floridian teams just got a whole lot more significant.
Just 1:18 into Thursday’s game, none other than the Perfect One opened up the scoring on a turnaround wrister from the bottom of the right face-off circle.
This marks Bergy’s 25th goal of the season, as he is closing in on becoming Boston’s second 30-goal scorer of the season. Newly acquired Bruin Lee Stempniak assisted on the tally, picking up his first point in Black and Gold.
The B’s controlled play for the majority of the period, but then Jonathan Toews got the Blackhawks right back into it with a power play goal, tying it up at one.
It seemed like that would be the point when the ‘Hawks flip the switch and start shifting momentum in their favor, but Brad Marchand, aka the mayor of Snipe City, had other plans. He fired a laser over the glove of Scott Darling to regain the lead in the final minute of the opening frame.
Marchand now has 33 goals on the season, good for THIRD in the entire NHL, behind only Alex Ovechkin and Patrick Kane. Stempniak assisted on this goal as well, earning himself a two-point night.
Ryan Spooner kept the wheels turning early in the second, ripping home a slap shot on the power play to give the boys a two-goal lead.
The Bruins really put things out of reach with under five minutes to go in the second period. As time ran out on a penalty kill, David Krejci, Loui Eriksson and John-Michael Liles rushed up ice and executed a perfect passing play.
Krejci found Eriksson at the blue line, who dished it off to Liles, and the newest addition to the defense corps sauced a PERFECT pass onto Loui’s tape for the tip-in.
Liles showed off his playmaking abilities here, and quickly won over a lot of B’s fans. It’s only been two games, but so far, so good for the 35-year-old who many were quick to doubt.
Scoring a goal immediately following a penalty kill tends to be a backbreaker for teams, and tonight was no different. The Blackhawks added on another goal late in the second, but the B’s took care of business in the third and walked away with the win.
I don’t care that Chicago had played the night before, started its backup and was without Marian Hossa. This is still a huge win over a team that is going to make yet another serious push for the Cup, and it should inject plenty of confidence into the Bruins moving forward.
They passed this test, but are in store for another one Saturday night, when the league-leading, dominant, terrifying Washington Capitals come to town. The Caps are a team that has given the B’s trouble in the past, never mind now that they have a 13-point lead on the rest of the league.
If the Bruins continue to play the way they did on Thursday, anything is possible. All you have to do is get in.
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[Photo via bruins.nhl.com]