Tim Thomas didn't have to work too hard tonight, but stopped all 20 pucks that came his way to record his second shutout and fifth win of the season in a 2-0 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Milt Schmidt Night at TD Garden. Patrice Bergeron's 100th career goal and Tyler Seguin's 1st Garden goal accounted for the scoring for the Bruins.
The Bruins shutdown Toronto's offense limiting the Leafs to just 20 shots (most of which were on the perimeter). Phil Kessel led the Maple Leafs with 6 shots on goal, but once again failed to score against his former team. Kessel has recorded one point (an assist) in 7 games and is a -6 against the B's.
Patrice Bergeron's 100th career NHL goal and first of the season gave the Bruins a 1-0 on the power play with 41 seconds left in the game's opening period. The B's cycled the puck well on the man advantage and Zdeno Chara found Bergeron at the top of the left circle before Bergy fired a half-slapper one-timer that beat Leafs' goalie Jonas Gustavsson. Milan Lucic also picked up a helper on Bergeron's milestone marker.
Patrice Bergeron did not realize that the goal was his 100th, but has more excited about being able to find the back on the net with Milt Schmidt in attendance, "To be honest, I’m more happy I think to get that win for Mr. Schmidt for everything that he’s done, that he’s accomplished throughout his life. I think he needed that. He deserved it. From my standpoint, getting another goal, it’s nice. I’m happy. But at the same time, I’m all about the team and it’s not something that I put too much emphasis on."
Just over midway through the second period, Nathan Horton and Dion Phaneuf squared off immediately after a face-off. Both plyers shed the helmet and gloves, and went at it. Horton came out swinging hard and led with a haymaker that partially connected before quickly wrestling Phaneuf to the ice. With Phaneuf on the ice and Horton easing up, Phaneuf continued to throw punches from his backside at Horton. Horton took exception to Phaneuf's move and continued to rain down shots on Phaneuf. Horton ended up with an extra 10 minute misconduct out of the altercation and was sent to the dressing room for the remainder of the period. The fight was Horton first since November 17, 2007 when he fought Tim Gleason.
When asked about his scrap with Dion Phaneuf after the game, Horton said, "I want to do anything to help give my teammates a boost, help them out, and obviously we were winning, but just pick the right spots I guess and it kind of happens".
Tyler Seguin netted his second goal of the year just 1:28 after the Horton-Phaneuf dust-up. Seguin fired a shot from the left circle after receiving a pass that Dennis Seidenberg sent from the high slot. Michael Ryder's work behind the net earned "Newfie" his third assist of the season on Seguin's goal at 12:26 of the second period. #19's first goal in front of a Garden crowd, drew a "Thank You, Kessel" chant from the B's fans, referencing the fact that the trade of Phil Kessel to Toronto ultimately brought Tyler Seguin to The Hub.
Kessel claimed to be unaffected by the Garden crowd's appreciative chant saying, "I could care less to tell you the truth. It doesn’t matter to me one bit".
Seguin was also asked about the chant and the rookie forward found it slightly more entertaining, "I was really trying not to laugh, but it just shows what supportive fans we have in Boston and it was pretty funny to a lot of us".
After the game, the Bruins announced that Seguin will remain with the big club for the season and will not be sent back to his junior team, the Plymouth Whalers.
- The Bruins honored Hockey Hall of Famer Milt Schmidt before tonight's game. The 92-year-old Schmidt was presented with two replica Stanley Cups to represent the two Stanley Cups he won as a Bruins with the Bruins. Schmidt dropped a great line during his brief speech to the crowd:
"The spoked-B is practically my family crest and I wouldn't have it any other way"
- Although, Milt Schmidt's #15 was already retired long ago by the Bruins organization, he never received a banner raising ceremony. Milt re-raised his number to the rafters as follow rafter dwellers Bobby Orr, Ray Bourque, Terry O'Reilly, Johnny Bucyk, and Cam Neely looked on.
- Tim Thomas became the second goaltender in Bruins history to start a season with 5 wins. Tiny Thompson was the last B's goalie to accomplish the feat back in 1937.
- The Bruins wore their 3rd jerseys for the first of 12 times this season.
- Brad Marchand was whistled for a rare throwing stick penalty in the first period when he tried to pass a dropped stick to a teammate with his own stick. Rule 10.3 states:
"A player who has lost or broken his stick may only receive a stick at his own players’ bench or be handed one from a teammate on the ice. A player will be penalized if he throws, tosses, slides or shoots a stick to teammate on the ice. A player may not participate in the play using a goalkeeper’s stick. A minor penalty shall be imposed for an infraction of this rule."
H/T to Joe Haggerty for pointing out where to find the rule
- Adam McQuaid appeared in his first game this season, filling in for the injured Johnny Boychuk. McQuaid logged 13:55 of ice time and recorded 2 shots (including a hard slapper on a semi-breakout) and was whistled for a hooking call in the third period.
- The Bruins hosted B's fan Peter Devereaux of North Andover for a "Dream Day". Deveraux, who is battling stage 3B breast cancer got to skate through drills with the B's towards the end of today's morning skate, attended tonight's game with his wife and daughter, and rode on the Zamboni during on of the intermissions.
- Tim Thomas was quick to praise the guys in front of him:
"The team is playing very well in front of me. They’re really helping me out with rebounds, screens, blocking in the screens, I mean. [Dennis] Seidenberg had as many saves as I did tonight, and that’s making it very helpful."
- The Bruins will travel to Ottawa on Saturday night to take on the Senators
- For more on tonight's game, check out the always insightful and entertaining Pension Plan Puppets