Consistency and High Tensions Help the Boston Bruins
Technically, Anton Khudobin pitched a shutout against the Washington Capitals in what was possibly the most well-rounded, consistently-played Boston Bruins game so far this season, which they won 4-1. One accidental own goal prevented him from really, officially getting a shutout, but despite that flaw, this game was what the Bruins have been seeking.
The first line, which hadn’t always been very productive so far this season, ended up producing both of the goals in the first period and being involved in the other two as well. Nathan Horton scored for the first time in the month of March and David Krejci added to the lead three minutes later. But of course, the Bruins were leading by three last time they saw the Capitals, so after the first period, there was some trepidation.
The second period of this game ended up not being thoroughly boring after all. Between a rather unfortunate own-goal that went in off Johnny Boychuk‘s skate following a strange pass from Krejci, Andrew Ference‘s first goal of the season, all manner of little extracurricular activities after whistles and two different fights–Brad Marchand versus Mike Ribeiro and Horton vs. Matt Hendricks–the middle frame, where Boston has often been flat, was the exact opposite.
Even better yet, though, was how they further extended the lead in the third with a power play goal from Rich Peverley. Milan Lucic did a lot of work to get the puck into the zone, but just couldn’t finish, so Peverley took over and got it past Michal Neuvirth. There was another fight as Hendricks declined Shawn Thornton‘s offer to dance, but then took on Adam McQuaid and lost that bout. Thornton earned an extra two minutes for that despite how Hendricks seemed to be ahead of Horton when their fight started–and his gloves were off first when he went with McQuaid too. (Don’t even get me started on the whole “I’m watching you” gesture he did to some yapping fan on the way off the ice.)
But that didn’t adversely affect the Bruins’ score as they held on for the 4-1 victory. Khudobin stopped 32 shots, including some pretty impressive saves that help cement his place in the lineup.
By the way, Horton earned a Gordie Howe hat trick and is teetering very close to his 400th point. He was the inaugural wearer of a new thing for the player of the game: a red shirt with a giant rooster face on it, which Ference bought online because roosters are good luck in Europe. Plus, in terms of points, Krejci passed 300 points today.
This win should help give the Bruins some confidence as they travel to face the Pittsburgh Penguins tomorrow at 12:30 p.m. The fact that the top line performed so well and that coach Claude Julien saw the determination and physicality both portend well.