That was a profoundly strange Boston Bruins game from start to finish. The strangeness began when there were four different penalties whistled in the first four minutes of the game, although the Bruins had already scored their first goal of the game when they took their first penalty. The number four became important once more when Boston found themselves up 4-0 in the start of the second period. But then, holding what looked like an insurmountable lead, the momentum started to fall apart and the Bruins failed once again to play a full 60 effort, holding on for a 5-4 win against the New Jersey Devils.
Gregory Campbell’s first goal of the night, a dandy assisted by the hard work of Jaromir Jagr, was beautiful. Campbell went on to lead all forwards in ice time, nab two points (he had another goal later in the first), have a +2 rating and do well in the faceoff circle. Another hard worker, Daniel Paille, continued to do good things by scoring and assisting. There was even a minor miracle: a power play goal from Zdeno Chara. Another improbable event also happened: the Johnny Boychuk penalty shot. He quite nearly had it, too, but the bench was just laughing in amusement and disbelief before Boychuk got his chance.
But then came midway through the second period, that dreaded time at which Boston’s forward momentum often falls apart, which happened yet again. First came the shutout spoiler from Patrik Elias. The game’s momentum really shifted away from the Bruins when Brad Marchand got hurt, though. He took an elbow to the head from Anton Volchenkov, whose night ended early and who should ideally have to answer to Brendan Shanahan for that because it was dirty and completely unnecessary. Marchand didn’t return to the game and already that C word is being suspected.
No, not that one. The other one! The one Patrice Bergeron currently has. Two-thirds of the best-looking line in the league, temporarily felled by injury.
It was a shame how the Bruins responded, though. Granted a five-minute power play, Milan Lucic gave the Devils a gift-wrapped chance to score a shorthanded goal, which is exactly what they did. He then had a bit of a temper tantrum on the bench. Is he perhaps coming to the realization that he’s often noticed for not playing up to his potential this season? If so, glad he came, though he’s late to the party.
The Devils were able to claw up from nothing to a mere one-goal deficit in the third period. Remember those days when the Bruins were able to build up and then keep giant leads (7-0, 8-0 and even 9-0)? Tyler Seguin restored a two-goal lead, although a complete front-of-net breakdown at the end of the game resulted in that last New Jersey goal of the night.
So, the Bruins win. They take the Northeast Division lead. But they also took a 4-0 shutout and transformed it into a 5-4 loss. There are still issues here, not to mention the question of how long Marchand might be out of the lineup. But time’s running low on the season–if you can believe it, there are just nine games left. Tomorrow’s the New York Islanders. Who knows what could happen?