Andrew Ference wasn’t ready to count Saturday’s goal as his first of the season in his 26th game with the Bruins this year.
Instead he got those out of the way in the Czech Republic during the 119-day NHL lockout.
"C'mon...I had a couple goals in Czech. Those ones count,” said a smirking Andrew Ference. “They've got pretty good goalies over there.”
Those Euro scores count in the mind of a certain free thinking Bruins defenseman, of course, but in reality it was Ference’s first NHL goal of the season and it helped power the Bruins to a complete 4-1 victory over the Capitals at TD Garden. The Ference score leaves Dennis Seidenberg as the only Bruins regular that still has yet to scratch out a goal past the midway point of the season.
The score was a picture of red light beauty with Nathan Horton entering the zone with good speed, and leaving a nice little drop pass to a trailing Ference, who hammered the puck past Washington goaltender Michael Neuvirth.
There was no unintentional bird in the post-goal celebration, but it was no less demonstrative for a pleased B’s defenseman.
“It’s always nice. I’ve had a lot of good chances where I should have buried something,” said Ference. “So it’s always nice. Obviously it’s not the make-or-break of my career whether I score goals, but as long I can combine it with a good consistent game it’s great.”
Ference has two points and a plus-1 rating in nine games during the month of March, and has really stabilized his game after early re-entry problems coming back from Europe. The natural instinct that propelled him to jump into the offensive zone was Ference at his best while quickly and correctly gauging when to jump into the play without taking too much of a defensive risk.
“[McQuaid and Ference] have been good. We’ve seen them in the past and they’ve been a good pair. They’re just finding their game, each one as individuals,” said Claude Julien. “I think [Ference] does a good job of supporting the attack. He finds those spots where he gets himself free, and managed to score a big goal for us.”
Ference turned the corner on his individual season a few weeks ago, and the first goal of the season was just another signal that good things are still on the way.