The Bruins took the 3-2 overtime decision from the
Hartford Whalers Carolina Hurricanes at TD Garden this afternoon. The game remained tight from the opening puckdrop til a minute and a half in overtime when Jarome Iginla, who had hit both posts late in the second period, deked Cam Ward and set David Krejci up for an open net with a beautiful feed.
Carolina got on the board first after Carl Soderberg was called for the rare "one-handed, falling down" variety of hooking, an endangered species usually only see at rinks with three officials. Carolina converted on the ensuing powerplay when Andrej Sekera, returned from an early period injury, threw a point shot past Chad Johnson without much of a screen. That's being kind. There really wasn't a screen. Definitely a goal Johnson wants back, if I had to bet. That made it 1-0, despite the Bruins dominating even strength play.
Later in the first, the Bruins tied it on a PPG of their own, with Zdeno Chara, the World's Largest Power Play Screen, swatting a rebound home at 14:49 of the 1st. The Bruins outshot the Canes 14-6 in the opening period, and went into the break tied.
After a number of good chances went begging thanks to Cam Ward's robbery of Brad Marchand (twice), Reilly Smith, and Soderberg's basically whiffing a backdoor attempt, Smith untied the game at 13:37 with a nice backhander. The assist, of course, came from Carl Soderberg--these two have benefited more than anyone from the third line's new role. Credit where credit is due; I'm often critical of Claude Julien's match-up playing, but him recognizing that Smith and Soderberg can outplay most third liners, and subsequently playing them against other team's weaker lines, has been a shot in the arm for the Bruins secondary scoring. Kelly had a good game at the faceoff dot as well, and has apparently recovered from whatever injury's been nagging him.
The third period saw the Bruins draw two penalties in five minutes, but unfortunately the Hurricanes were the team that scored. Patrick Dwyer, who had a series of great shifts in the third after the Hurricanes top six had been generally unproductive, backhanded a shorthanded breakaway chance by Johnson. Suddenly, the game that Bruins had dominated was tied. And Carolina had new life.
The Hurricanes, who have suffered in the possession game since the loss of Alex Semin, had stopped flatlining at around halfway through the second, actually, and they continued to play the Bruins even through the third. The Bruins had more chances at the gun, and Dougie Hamilton's shot was deflected just over the net to end the third period, which set us up for a second straight 60+ adventure, this time with a happy ending.
- Carolina pressing for goal (score effects) takes a bite out of it, but the Bruins did very well at even strength. The once-maligned Power Play converted a chance again. I'm still not sure about the formula in the long term, but the chances looked good tonight.
- Claude keeps playing the third line into favorable match-ups, they keep delivering. Almost everything about Smith and Soderberg was awesome today. Kelly made fools of the 'Canes in the dot.
- Everything about that beautiful set-up by Iginla. Split the defense? Check. Get the goalie down? Check? Perfect pass to the Matrix? Check.
- Credit to Cam Ward. He stole a point for Carolina here. I can't say the Bruins couldn't finished - I thought they took some damn good shots/drives on him, and he was up to the task. Smith and Marchand both got completely robbed.
- Chad Johnson's first goal allowed is the kind of goal that makes everyone ask about Svedberg's timetable. He bounced back, to his credit, but it was a very soft goal.
- Oh god, that shorthanded goal. If Dwyer didn't score it, chances are that the follow-up Cane would've. Not sure what the heck happened there.
- Merlot was out-shot-attempted so badly that Campbell and Paille probably saw more of the offensive zone while on the penalty kill.
- The ILK line, until the OT winner, actually was outcorsi'd by their Carolina counterparts. Hard to believe. The OT goal was sweet redemption.
- The Bergeron line had another quietly good game, out-chancing both of Carolina's top lines when they were on the ice. They played low-event Hockey overall, essentially cancelling out the guys who are supposed to score for the Whalers.
- Reffing. The non-call when Chara hacked Tlusty's stick in half was one of the worst I've seen this year. I'm not entirely sure if the NHL uses a system such as the NFL's, where questionable calls count against a ref's chances of calling a playoff game, but if they do...that'd be one of them. This is not to say the Bruins didn't win deservedly, but that's a penalty shot if I've ever seen one.
Tweet of the night:
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>Props to Claude Julien for not playing prevent in OT. 3 fwds, go for the jugular</p>— TomServo42 (@tservo42) <a href="https://twitter.com/tservo42/statuses/404350655399084032">November 23, 2013</a></blockquote>
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The Bruins should be going for the jugular against teams such as the 'Canes, and it was good, nay, great to see them not sit back and wait for the skills competition. I'll take Krejci and Iginla breaking into the zone over a coin flip any day. I think Tuukka agrees.
Good win! Have a great Saturday, Chowdah!