The Bruins needed to reach down for that little extra something to emerge from their midseason funk, and they found it on Super Bowl Sunday.
With a handful of hours to go until their Patriots brethren got ready for their biggest game of the season, the Bruins had their own big effort with a solid, grinding, no-frills 4-1 victory over the Washington Capitals at the Verizon Center.
The victory snapped a two-game losing streak for the Bruins and ended a long-ish line of lesser efforts from the Black and Gold.
The Bruins showed early in the game they meant business against the Caps, and Tim Thomas was operating at full efficiency after he was booed by the Washington crowd during pregame introductions. Thomas helped start the full momentum shift after shutting down an Alex Semin breakaway attempt with a right pad save after dropping into a full butterfly. Minutes later Rich Peverley and Milan Lucic teamed together for the Bs power forwards 19th goal of the season after a nifty backhanded pass from Peverley, and the Bruins were off and running.
The Bs jumped all over Washington later on in the period and Brad Marchand potted his 19th goal of the year to push the lead to 2-0 after Patrice Bergeron created the play from behind the Caps net. Thats the way things stayed until Tyler Seguin added his 20th goal of the season midway through the final period when the BergeronMarchandSeguin line took advantage of some sloppy puck-handling in the Washington defensive zone.
In between all those goals was a 35-save effort by Thomas and some serious defensive zone work by Zdeno Chara, who managed to contain an inspired effort from Alex Ovechkin. Joel Ward added a goal late in the third period to put Washington on the board, but it was far too late for the Caps. A Rich Peverley empty-netter iced it for the Bs.
Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while gearing up for Big Papi weekend.
*A “behind-the-scenes” look as Jimmy Vesey was sold on the New York Rangers, but there’s not too much detail about the pitches from the other teams. Feels pretty apparent at this point that Vesey wanted to live, and work, in New York City.
*Damien Cox says that the World Cup of Hockey better get it right the next time, or else…or else what, Damien? You’re going to block them on Twitter?
*PHT writer Joey Alfieri has Patrick Kane, Erik Karlsson and P.K. Subban making their preseason debuts on Saturday. David Backes and David Pastrnak will play their first preseason games for the Bruins as well.
*It’s a complicated, strange story with Vladimir Sobotka, the KHL and the contract he seemingly can’t get out of to again play for the St. Louis Blues.
*Oliver Ekman-Larsson is ready to get back to work with the Arizona Coyotes after his World Cup experience.
*San Jose Sharks prospect Timo Meier is out for the next month with mono, which is definitely worse timing than Zach Senyshyn getting hit with the mononucleosis bomb over the summer.
*A quick look at the Philadelphia Flyers in advance of their preseason meeting with the Black and Gold tonight, which won’t be televised.
*For something completely different: there will be some pretty funky stuff happening on The Walking Dead this season.
BRIGHTON, Mass. – It hasn’t been difficult to spot Claude Julien randomly at Fenway Park on a nice summer night in Boston over the past ten years. The Bruins coach doesn’t hide his affection for the Old Towne Team.
So, Julien didn’t waste much time before sharing his thoughts on the final season for David Ortiz and the celebration of his Hall of Fame-worthy career that’s going on at the Fens this weekend.
It might have been a chore when the rest of the Team Canada coaching staff was watching the Toronto Blue Jackets during the World Cup of Hockey, but Julien never strayed too far away from his Red Stockings.
“He’s finishing in style, and you don’t see that very often,” said Claude Julien of Big Papi, who was sitting with numbers of .316 with 38 home runs and 127 RBI that border on the ridiculous at 40 years old.
“A lot of times when people retire the game has caught up to them big time. Not him. He doesn’t seem to have missed a beat here. I’m pretty impressed with how he’s handled this year, and what he’s done. If I’m correct he just hit the home run last night for the game-winner.
“But as you know I was in Blue Jays land for about two weeks, so I had to keep a low profile. They were watching the Blue Jays and I’m Canadian too...but I was watching the Red Sox. So, it was healthy competition for our [World Cup] coaching staff.”
The most intriguing part about all is that the best is still yet to come for Ortiz in his farewell tour as he gets one more chance to clutch up in the postseason. It'll give Julien more to marvel at over the next few weeks while showing again why Big Papi will go down as the greatest clutch hitter in the history of Major League Baseball.