The Bruins bounced back from a poor performance in the season opener, by beating the Phoenix Coyotes 3-0 in the second of two games in Prague.
The Bruins were the aggressors right from the opening whistle, and though the first period was scoreless, the B's were clearly the better team, and only a fine performance by Ilyz Bryzgalov kept them off the board. In the second, Milan Lucic opened the scoring in the second period, with a wrister that beat Bryzgalov below the pads. The shot may have been deflected by a Phoenix defenseman; it looked like a shot Bryzgalov should have stopped.
Late in the second, with the Coyotes attacking the net and looking to tie it up before intermission, the Bruins got it down to the corner, with Mark Recchi and Nathan Horton doing yeoman's work to keep it in the Phoenix zone. That paid off, as Recchi got it in front to Horton, who continued his hot start with his third goal.
In the third, history was made. Tyler Seguin scored his first NHL goal on a breakaway. Seguin was sprung by an incredible pass from Michael Ryder. Ryder lobbed the puck over the Coyotes, who had collapsed into the Boston zone, and Seguin was wide open in the neutral zone and slipped it by Bryzgalov.
Tim Thomas got the start in net, making 29 stops for the shutout. Nathan Horton was the first star with a goal and an assist, Mark Stuart the second, and Lucic the third, with the game-winning goal.
The Bruins are headed back to Boston right after the game, and play the Devils Saturday in New Jersey
- If you haven't seen the Seguin goal, go find a highlight somewhere. The goal is impressive, but the pass by Ryder was so awesome that I forgot, for a moment, how absurdly overpaid he is.
- The Bruins outscored the Coyotes 5-1 in the last four periods of their Prague-based "home and home". It's hard to overstate how dominant they were in this one throughout the game.
- Bryzgalov was sharp in the first, but not nearly as good in the second and third. The Lucic goal was one he might like to have another crack at. Not sure if was tired from the short turnaround, or what.
- Horton is on pace for 123 goals. That would be an NHL record. Seems unlikely he'll keep up the pace, but the early returns seem to indicate that the trade was a positive one for the B's.
- Lucic and Ed Jovanovski dropped the gloves, but it was just some clutching and grabbing, and barely worth mention.
- Jordan Caron played and Daniel Paille was a healthy scratch, along with Adam McQuaid and Nolan Schaefer. I thought McQuaid might have been activated over Matt Hunwick, if the Bruins were looking to hold guys responsible for the debacle 24 hours before, but they opted instead for Caron's offensive skill over Paille's defense and penalty killing.
- Getting Horton, Seguin and Lucic on the scoreboard was important. Any improvement in Boston's offense this year will need to be in large part due to their contributions, so getting them going early is a positive sign.