Tuukka Rask (27 saves) earned his 4th shutout of the season as the Bruins cruised past the Atlanta Thrashers 4-0 on Tuesday night at Phillips Arena in Atlanta. The Bruins entered the night one point ahead of Atlanta for 8th place in the Eastern Conference and the boys in black and gold played with the sense of urgency that is expected in a big game. David Krejci, Milan Lucic, Miroslav Satan, and Steve Begin all scored goals for the Bruins in the 4-0 win.
The Bruins drew first blood 9:25 into the game when David Krejci shoveled home a rebound from Michael Ryder's shot to finish off a play that he started. Krejci absorbed a hit behind the net in the attacking zone and slid the puck to Ryder, who skated out front and took a shot that was partially blocked by Ron Hainsey and found its way onto Krejci's stick on the other side of the net.
Shawn Thornton and Eric Boulton dropped the gloves and swapped haymakers in a lengthy bout with 9:00 left in the opening period. Boulton landed some early punches before Thornton wrestled him to the ice, Boulton quickly got back on his skates and continued to scrap. The two both threw some big punches before Thronton lifted Boulton's jersey over his head and the linesmen intervened. This blogger scores this one a draw. Both combatants put in a good effort and the hundreds of fans in attendance must have enjoyed the spectacle.
The B's increased their lead to 2-0 when Milan Lucic's wrister from the slot beat Johan Hedberg glove-side for his 6th goal of the season at 7:59 of the second period.
Miroslav Satan gave the Bruins a 3-0 lead heading into the dressing room after 2 periods when he deflected Zdeno Chara's slapper from the point past Hedberg with 3.5 seconds remaining in the second period. Satan's 6th goal of the season was set up by a offensive zone face-off win by Patrice Bergeron.
Steve Begin scored his first goal in 28 games and first point of 2010 to make it 4-0 1:46 into the third period when he hammered home a rebound after Johan Hedberg misplayed Milan Lucic's shot and gift-wrapped a loose puck in front for Begin.
- Phillips Arena looked empty for a game that was billed as "the biggest game of the year" for the Thrashers. The crowd seemed to fill in a bit as the game progressed. I'm not sure if the staff at Phillips Arena just opened the doors or hired Atlanta's homeless population as seat-fillers with the promise of free beer and hot dogs. Official attendance was announced as 14,042.
- Patrice Bergeron visited injured Norwood High School hockey player Matt Brown at the Sheppard Center in Atlanta last night. Brown is undergoing treatment at the head and spinal cord injury rehabilitation hospital after breaking his cervical vertebra in a game earlier this year. Brown was in attendance at tonight's game. Claude Julein mentioned Matt Brown in his post-game interview with NESN's Naoko Funayama, saying that they didn't want to disappoint him tonight.
- The first period was played entirely 5 on 5. The only penalties called were the fighting majors to Thornton and Boulton.
- Steve Begin's last point came on a goal against Atlanta on 12/30/09.
- Bruins have had 10 too many men on the ice penalties this season.
- The Bruins continued to struggle on the power play tonight, going 0 for 2 with the man advantage.
- Good offensive effort by the B's tonight, but let's not get too excited about putting up 4 against a team that averages 3.11 goals against per game.
- Dennis Wideman finished the game +2, which means that Chris from Hub Hockey owes me a free t-shirt.
- Tonight was another strong game for Steve Begin, who scored a goal, recorded 6 hits, and won 7 of the 10 face-offs he took.
- Milan Lucic, Zdeno Chara, and Miroslave Satan all finished the game +3.
- The Bruins will be back at on Thursday night when they host the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Bruins have 10 games remaining in the regular season.
Quote of the Night:
"I've been in louder libraries."
- NESN play-by-play announcer Jack Edwards on the atmosphere inside Phillips Arena late in the game