Well, so much for my line about the "recently improved Ottawa Senators." The Bruins dominated the Senators in all phases of the game for a 7-2 victory in today's matinee game at TD Garden, effectively finishing the pre-Olympic schedule on a high note despite the (completely justified) absence of Zdeno Chara.
The Bruins got things started with Bergeron converting on the Power Play after Erik Condra tripped Reilly Smith at the bottom of the right ciricle. Bergeron took a lovely feed from Carl Soderberg (yes, you could use that passing, Team Sweden, don't lie) as he split between two Ottawa defensemen and put it past Craig Anderson. It was a sign of things to come for both teams, as the Bergeron line dominated the Senators, and Anderson was bombarded all day until he was mercifully pulled early in the third.
Chris Kelly added a second marker, tipping home a beautiful pass from David Warsofsky at 16:26 of the first. Kelly hadn't scored for awhile, so good to see him off the 'schneid. The Bruins finished the first period up 2-0, and got a huge ovation from the Beantown faithfull as they skated to the locker room.
It kept going in the second period, which has been the Bruins achilles heel of sorts this season. Bergeron scored a second goal of a filthy rounding-the-goalie move where he scored on the backhand after drawing Anderson out of his net. It was Perfect Patrice's 16th of the season, and it had the crowd cheering in anticipation when Brad Marchand undressed two Senators to set Bergy up for a potential hat trick. Anderson made the save on that bid though, and (somewhat) sadly Bergeron never did get a third.
Bobby Ryan temporarily interrupted the Bruins Olympic Send-off Goalfest by whipping a wrist shot by Chad Johnson on the rush for his 21st of the season, but the Bruins answered so quickly that the TD Garden PA had barely announced the goal as Ryan's before Jarome Iginla tapped home a pass from David Krejci to make it 4-1. Iginla was completely uncovered in front, summing up the Senators defense for the day nicely. It wasn't a good day for Erik Karlsson, and that'll take the headlines because of his status, but the Sens other defensemen--Jared Cowen in particular--were bad in coverage all day long. To be completely fair, Marc Methot played decently in his own zone, but he didn't have much company on the Ottawa club.
Erik Condra, a winger but also a Sen who didn't particularly distinguish himself, was guilty of a particularly bad pass behind Kyle Turris that ended up being passed around by the Bruins until Milan Lucic beat Anderson for his own 17th goal of the year early in the 3rd period. That made it 5-1, essentially icing the game, and Anderson was pulled in favor of designated Bruins-playing goalie Robin Lehner. Brad Marchand made sure that Lehner didn't feel left out of the Goal Allowed party, tipping a Reilly Smith net-drive him eight minutes into the period for the Quota tally.
Well into garbage time, the Senators converted on the Power Play on a goal by Patrick Wiercoch, making it 6-2.Not to be outdone, Carl Soderberg kicked the extra point with a wrister with three minutes left to round out the scoring at seven for the Bruins.
- Most of the guys in Bruins uniforms today were good, but the discussion has got to start with the Bergeron line. Patrice had two goals and an assist, Marchand took over the team lead in goals and had two helpers, and Smith also had two assists. That doesn't even adequately express how much they dominated play when they were on.
- The Krejci line also looked good, as Milan Lucic and Jarome Iginla scored as well, and Krejci had two assists. By CF%, they actually trapped Ottawa in their own zone more than the Bergeron line, and The Matrix was on the ice for 20 events for and only 5 against. The Bruins Top 6 was in top form today, to say the least.
- Chad Johnson continues to be establish himself as a more-than serviceable back-up goalie, saving 25 of 27 shots faced. The only goals he allowed were to sniper Bobby Ryan and Wiercoch on the Power Play. While Ryan's looked ugly, it's really hard to fault a guy who gives you a .926 performance.
- While there's been plenty of concerned over the inexperienced D with Chara in Sochi, the Bruins didn't have a single defensemen in the red when it came to shot attempts for. Johnny Boychuk played like a man possessed, on ice for 22 attempts for and only 7 against.
- Chris Kelly scored! That's not a typo -- it was his first goal since returning, and first overall since October 19th.
- Carl Soderberg continues to impress, especially with his passing ability. There are other talented players going for Sweden, but there's not much question that Caaaarrrrll could help that team. There's always 2018, I guess.
- The Power Play, particularly the second unit, continues to generate good chances even without Chara's net presence.
- Loui Eriksson once again got hit in the face, appearing to take a shoulder to the mouth. He did return though, and let's hope he doesn't need another dental visit.
- Merlot stunk until Marchand started double-shifting with them. Against a team that played a better game and manipulated match-ups, that might've mattered. Today, it really didn't.
- Daniel Paille was injured at the end of the second period and did not return. I didn't hear anything definitive about his injury yet. (ED:
Paille was kept out from the third for cautionary reasons. Julien said he should be fine ^CS— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) February 8, 2014
- Clarke MacArthur also left with an injury. You never like to see guys get hurt, and MacArthur is a pretty big contributor for Ottawa. Luckily for everyone who was banged up, there's a pretty long break to get healthy.
- Matt Bartkowski once again led the B's in ice time. I've noticed some positive developments in his game, but I still don't think his play warrants him being in the Top 4 come playoff time. In his pre-game interviews, it appears Peter Chiarelli disagrees with me.
- David Warsofsky also logged a lot of time, and it's fair to wonder if one of these two might be part of a trade package if the Bruins decide to make a move at the deadline.
- Brad Marchand has gone from exiled to the third line early in the season to the team's leading goal scorer while logging more TOI than either of his linemates, including double-shifting a couple times. I guess he stopped pissing in the coaching staff's cornflakes.
- The whole game for the Senators. I'm not trying to trash on them here, they're certainly better than they showed today (hard to not be), but that team looked about as bad as you can without getting shutout. I would not be at all surprised to see them buying defense at the deadline. That said, they're 12-6-4 in their last 22, so maybe the Bruins were just THAT good today.
Tweet of the Night:
Tonight's Boychuk performance was 75.9% Corsi with exactly one offensive zone start— TomServo42 (@tservo42) February 8, 2014
There were a lot of great performance today, but I'm going to give Tom's tweet the nod in recognition of Boychuk's superb game. Guy really stepped in playing the Chara role today.