Ah, the shootout. It’s been one of the most hotly contested topics in recent memory when it comes to the NHL, but love it or hate it the game-deciding skills competition is here to stay, for now at least.
While there tend to be quite a few duds that feature more boring moves and shots that miss the net rather than the intensity and creativity that the league had in mind, the two games on the schedule last night both found themselves tied up at the end of 65 minutes of play. In Winnipeg the hometown Jets scored two goals in the final ten minutes of the game to square things up with the Blues, while in Anaheim Ducks forward Nick Bonino busted out “the floater” with just two minutes left to do the same against the Coyotes.
So on to the shootout both contests went, and I’d venture to say that there weren’t too many fans in either building that left unsatisfied.
The black and gold wrapped up the preseason with a 5-0 thumping of the Winnipeg Jets, and took one more step towards establishing their opening night roster by sending four more players to Providence.
If there is one thing to look forward to in preseason action, it’s youngsters battling night in and night out to impress the decision makers in their organization. That was the case tonight with 21-year old Ryan Spooner, who had a goal and an assist against the Jets to help his Bruins squad squeak out a 3-2 overtime victory in Winnipeg. Loui Eriksson netted the game winner with a gorgeous kick-to-the-stick goal, and Niklas Svedberg made 26 saves to earn the win in the Boston net.
Most Bruins fans have probably become accustomed to their team taking points out of almost every game that they lead going into the third period, after posting an impressive 32-0-0 record when leading after two in 2011-12. Unfortunately, that streak has not carried over into 2013, and last night in Winnipeg was yet another example. The Jets rallied from a 1-0 third period deficit to score three unanswered goals in the final stanza at MTS Centre, including two goals within 57 seconds to quickly grab the lead. Former Bruin Blake Wheeler had two goals, and Ondrej Pavelec was sharp in goal for the Jets, who reclaimed the Southeast Division lead with the victory. The Bruins meanwhile have now lost two games in a row in regulation for the first time this season, slipping to a mediocre 5-4-1 in their last ten games.
Much has been made of the Bruins’ power play woes this season, as entering the game it ranked second to last in the league just ahead of the New York Rangers. But tonight in Winnipeg, the man advantage was the finally difference maker for once (in a good way), as Brad Marchand took a Patrice Bergeron feed just inside the blue line and beat Jets goalie Ondrej Pavelec with a nifty backhander just 36 seconds into the third period for what would turn out to be the game winning goal. Tuukka Rask turned aside 22 shots for his seventh victory of the season, helping the Bruins to improve to 9-2-2 on the season.