After an ugly first period for Boston that saw them fail on a major power play after Nathan Horton was knocked out of the game by a late hit, the Bruins needed a big start in the second. They got exactly that and then some as their special teams came to life to give Boston a 4-0 lead after two periods.
Andrew Ference got it all started just, coincidentally, 11 seconds into the period ripping a shot from the blue line past Roberto Luongo, glancing off his shoulder and into the upper corner of the net to make it 1-0. Just 4:11 later it would be the Bruins getting it done on the power play as Mark Recchi tipped home a Michael Ryder pass through Luongo to make it 2-0.
The period would wear on and eventually Vancouver would get a power play of their own thanks to a slashing call on Milan Lucic but the Bruins forecheck would frustrate defenseman Christian Ehrhoff and Alexander Edler and they would commit a turnover to Brad Marchand who converted on a beauty of a deke to beat Luongo and make it 3-0 at the 11:30 mark.
4:17 later the Bruins would add their fourth of the period as David Krejci sniped home a rebound and send the TD Garden crowd into a frenzy staking the Bruins to a 4-0 lead. A late Johnny Boychuk double-minor would make things interesting at 17:36 of the period, but as the second wound down the Bruins would not crack as Tim Thomas made 16 saves in the second period alone. Roberto Luongo countered with just ten saves of his own in the second. The Bruins will need to kill off another 1:36 of power play time to start the third.
With the Bruins up 4-0 the thing to keep an eye on in the third is whether or not the Canucks can do anything to beat Thomas and whether or not we’ll see things pick up in the chippiness. With the game being almost totally out of hand for a Vancouver comeback, they might be looking to do something to set the tone for Game 4.
The Bruins secret star for this game has been none other than Shawn Thornton. Thornton got the surprise start for tonight’s game over Tyler Seguin and he’s brought his “A” game playing smart and physical and helping his line sustain pressure and frustrate the Canucks. We might not see Seguin again in these playoffs if Thornton keeps this up.
Raanta rewards Rangers for starts over Lundqvist by blanking Blackhawks
If someone told you that the New York Rangers started a goalie on back-to-back nights, and that goalie wasn’t Henrik Lundqvist, you’d probably wonder if he was hurt or retired.
Nope. It just so happens that Antti Raanta is playing at an incredibly high level, Alain Vigneault noticed, and that decision paid dividends on Friday night. Raanta won both nights of a back-to-back, allowing a single goal (with the Rangers protecting him, being that he only needed to stop 43 of 44 shots during that span).
Raanta and the Rangers blanked the Chicago Blackhawks with a 1-0 overtime win, at least briefly climbing to first place in the massively competitive Metro Division:
1. Rangers – 39 points in 29 games played
2. Penguins- 37 points in 27 GP
3. Blue Jackets – 36 points in 25 GP
4. Capitals – 35 points in 26 GP
5. Flyers – 35 points in 29 GP
Nick Holden ended up scoring the only goal of the game:
Meanwhile, the Blackhawks lost but at least salvaged a standings point and it seems like Patrick Kane is OK after this injury scare:
Raanta improved to 7-1-0 on the season, allowing two goals or less in all but one of his appearances so far this season. That’s the kind of work you’d expect to see if you’re going sit a guy who’s, you know, a living legend.
Blue Jackets remain in thick of things in Metro on tough night for Red Wings
As the Columbus Blue Jackets keep rolling, the Detroit Red Wings are probably just happy to get Friday behind them.
For the second straight game, the Blue Jackets beat their opponent 4-1.
They’re now on a five-game winning streak, and like the climbing St. Louis Blues, things look great if you go back a little further. They’re 10-1-2 in their last 13 games and 13-2-3 since November began.
The New Jersey Devils have been incredibly difficult to beat at home. Lately, the St. Louis Blues have been on a roll just about anywhere.
On Friday night, the Blues were the hotter team, handing the Devils their first home loss in regulation in 2016-17. And it wasn’t particularly close, with St. Louis winning 4-1.
It’s a convenient time to note that the Blues rank among the hottest teams in the NHL. Most recently, they’re 5-1-1 in their last seven games, but they’ve been especially impressive since they flirted with .500 at 7-6-3. Beginning with a 4-1 win against the Buffalo Sabres on Nov. 15, the Blues are on a 8-2-1 tear.
This leaves them second in the Central with a 16-8-4 record.
That’s impressive stuff.
This 4-1 win was quite the showcase for Robby Fabbri and Vladimir Tarasenko, in particular. Tarasenko collected three assists while Fabbri scored two goals on Friday night. His second goal was particularly slick:
The Blues are right in saying that this was a pretty fitting opportunity to drop a “Holy Jumpin.”
Minnesota Wild goalie Devan Dubnyk has been the most difficult goalies to score against this season. Leave it to a high-level player like Leon Draisaitl to make it look this, well, “easy.”
Draisaitl scored his 13th goal of 2016-17 by capping this pretty give-and-go play with Benoit Pouliot. You can see the frustration from Dubnyk at the end of the tally, as if he was saying “How was I supposed to stop that?” (though probably with more colorful language).
Draisaitl came into Friday with five goals and three assists in his last five games, so he’s been almost unstoppable lately.