Perhaps their 6-0 skunking in Buffalo was rock bottom for the Bruins, an ugly loss to cap what had been a mediocre few weeks of hockey. One bag skate later and the Bruins came back to the TD Garden ice on a mission as they scraped out a well earned 4-3 shootout victory over the Nashville Predators.
Milan Lucic scored with 1:43 left in the third period to send it to overtime and after a scoreless extra frame Tyler Seguin and Patrice Bergeron scored in the shootout to walk away with the extra point. Tim Thomas made 19 saves in the win.
With the biggest complaint over the past few weeks being the Bruins lack of full effort and finish Lucic came out Saturday afternoon and turned in perhaps his best performance of the season. The hulking winger threw a game high seven shots on net and made his presence known all over the ice. Head coach Claude Julien knew Lucic was on to something and had him on the ice for 18:21, more than two minutes above his average ice time this season. For a while though it seemed that he would not be rewarded for his hard work until he potted a rebound on the powerplay to tie the game at three.
It's an encouraging sign for a team who was really started to feel the absence of Nathan Horton. Where David Krejci finds himself on the third line and still in a slump, Lucic has looked like he is prepared to step up. That will be critical if Horton is indeed farther away from playing than previously expected.
All Together Now
If Lucic was a revelation, then the Bergeron line was a sight for sore eyes. The trio led all forwards in ice time and was the offensive catalyst for most of the game, the pinnacle of which was a short-handed goal set up by Brad Marchand. On a one-on-two against Shea Weber and Ryan Suter, Marchand charged in and maintained puck possession until Bergeron arrived and fired a wrist shot than beat Pekka Rinne for the first tally of the game. The sequence made the Nashville all-stars look like third pairing defenseman and made an early statement that the Bruins would not be beat on lack of effort.
Shots For Everyone
Despite what the boxscore may say the Bruins controlled the play for most of the contest. The home town crew out shot Nashville 41-22 and made a usually physical team look a lot smaller. The Predators are still a skilled team and made it close despite the setbacks but the Bruins were able to battle back.
The strong effort bodes well for the Bruins' next game, a Valentines Day re-match with the first place New York Rangers.