In a game that’s unfortunately going to be overshadowed by a first period of questionable plays, the Boston Bruins scored twice in the final minute and a half of the game for a 3-2 comeback victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins tonight at TD Garden. Zdeno Chara was the third period hero tallying the game winner with just 13 seconds left on the clock, while Tuukka Rask turned aside 28 shots to earn his fifteenth victory of the year.
It’s been no secret this season that the Boston Bruins have tended to struggle through the second half of back-to-back games, though their record coming into last night’s game with the Rangers (two wins in three tries) wouldn’t have indicated so. And despite giving up 44 shots against and being vastly outplayed for the majority of the game, the black and gold were able to make it three wins in four tries with a 2-1 victory over the Blueshirts at Madison Square Garden. Tuukka Rask was nothing short of stellar tying a career best with 43 saves (no, the game didn’t go to overtime), and the the Merlot line had one of it’s finest performances of the season as Dan Paille, Gregory Campbell and Shawn Thornton all had points in the win.
After an unimpressive effort that required a last minute goal to earn a win on Thursday against the Panthers, the Boston Bruins understood that they would have to be far better against a Tampa Bay Lightning squad who had won five of their last six games. On top of that, Tampa netminder Ben Bishop hadn’t lost yet this season and hadn’t given up more than two goals in any of his four appearances, not great news for a Bruins team that was having some difficulty finding the back of the net. But in a sign that perhaps this year’s team is finally starting to come together and click, Boston exploded for five goals last night at the St. Pete Times Forum to top the Lightning 5-0. Twelve of 18 Bruins had a point in the effort, and Tuukka Rask stopped all 23 shots he faced to earn his first shutout of the season.
Capitals defenseman Karl Alzner’s post-game interview from yesterday:
I laughed watching this. So let me get this straight, Adam McQuaid (5 fights this year) and Shawn Thornton (5 fights) circling Matt Hendricks (6 fights – one already in the game with Nathan Horton) is the same as John Erskine (2 fights) and Hendricks (6) going after Tyler Seguin (0 career fights and one of our star players)? Ha, ok, sure. I understand that Alzner is just sticking up for his teammate, but I mean really, this was comical.
Apparently the Caps defenseman missed the part where Hendricks basically jumped Nathan Horton, gloves off and throwing before Horton knew what was going on. Hendricks’ hand seemed fine while he was throwing those haymakers.
But you wouldn’t do that because you’re not that type of team. Well damn right you’re not that type of team, the Caps aren’t much of a team at all at the moment. McQuaid and Thornton’s response was precisely why the Bruins are such a tight knit bunch, everyone has everyone else’s back. You’re going to jump one of our top players? Go for it, but you can expect someone to come knocking in the not too distant future. Apparently those qualities aren’t too high on the list in the Caps locker room. And that’s not to say that Horton even needed anyone to back him up, as he’s shown he can handle himself in these situations before, but he’s still one of our top players who hadn’t had a fight this year after coming off a serious concussion.
I’m sure the Bruins aren’t losing any sleep over Alzner or his comments. It’s just funny that this “was the biggest joke [Alzner has] ever seen.” As Milan Lucic said last year after Alzner’s cry-baby gesture (perhaps the most ironic part of this all) in the playoffs:
UPDATE (3/17 – 4pm):
The Washington Post had an article today with Hendricks’ response to the game yesterday, and it was much more in line with what you’d expect. “You do it [fight Horton] and you live with the repercussions. I figured they would be looking for me once the score got to 4-1.” If anything this makes Alzner look like a bigger whiner, but good on Hendricks for knowing his role and not taking the easy way out.
It was probably a good thing that it was the last place Florida Panthers that were at TD Garden last night to face the Bruins, because in what’s becoming a somewhat common theme this season, the Black and Gold didn’t have their ‘A’ game. Despite the game being a struggle, Boston earned two more points with a 4-1 victory, with goals from Zdeno Chara, Shawn Thornton, and Patrice Bergeron. Tuukka Rask was solid in goal, stopping 29 of 30 Panther shots.