CONNECT FOUR -- Bruins Down Devils With Explosive Third Period
written by Nathan Simpson
Thursday night the Bruins went deep into the swamps of Jersey and emerged with a 4-1 victory in what was a classic Adams v. Patrick Division matchup against the Devils. Jersey, who now plays in the ultra-competitive Atlantic, has been hot, riding a 3 game winning streak and going 7-2-1 over their last ten. Boston, on the other hand, has been in a mini slump (Coach Julien prefers the term “dip in our play”) posting a 3-3-0 record in their last six contests. On this night the Bruins welcomed back the services of forwards Rich Peverley, as well as Brad Marchand, who was back after serving his five game suspension for a hit on Vancouver’s Sami Salo last Saturday. It was hoped that Marchand’s return would bring a spark to the Bruins who have struggled to find their rhythm over the last few games. However, it didn’t go exactly as planned.
It took two periods for the Bruins to finally come around, but whence they did, the game was theirs. New Jersey, looking to avenge the 6-1 drubbing they took from the Bruins back on January 4th, kept up with the Stanley Cup champs through the first 40 minutes, taking a 1-0 lead into the final frame while out shooting Boston 23-12. Tim Thomas, as he has done so many times in the past, kept his team in the game until the B’s offense was finally able to take over, scoring four unanswered.
Boston D-man Andrew Ferrence got things going for the B’s when his point shot found the back of the net via the post 3 minutes into the third. Captain Zdeno Chara said that Ferrence’s goal gave the team the lift they needed. “Once we got that goal, it was us again, playing the way we are capable of playing,” he said.
Four minutes later Boston’s powerplay made the most out of its only chance on the evening when Nathan Horton, parked in front of Devils’ goalie Marty Brodeur, tapped in the eventual game winner off a feed from David Krejci. Just 35 seconds later Gregory Campbell would make it 3-1 after a simply awesome shift by the Merlot line and Chris Kelly rounded out the scoring adding an empty netter. Campbell’s goal, along with his fight and assist on the night, gave him his first career ‘Gordie Howe Hat-Trick’.
While it wasn’t a perfect game by any stretch, it did feature some of the hallmarks that made the Bruins so successful throughout November and December: a combination of excellent goaltending, quick-strike offense, and a strong finish.
With the win, Boston splits their four game road trip, and will look to build on their third period performance when they return home to face the New York Rangers Saturday afternoon at the Garden in a battle for Eastern Conference supremacy. It will be the first meeting of the season between these two teams in what could very well be an Eastern Conference Final preview. The Rangers won last year’s regular season series 3 games to 1.