Here are ten thoughts after the second period with the Bruins tied up with the Pittsburgh Penguins at a 1-1 score after the first 40 minutes of action at TD Garden.
- As aggressive and as physical as the Bruins have been in the last month, the Black and Gold came out with a sustained attack and 16 registered hits in the first period along with a pair of scraps from Adam McQuaid. This is the Big Bad Bruins style of play that people expect to see out of this team, and it’s the style they play when they’re most successful.
- Nathan Horton unfortunately looked like he might have hurt his hand in the fight with Jarome Iginla where the former Flames captain turtled pretty quickly. Horton was flexing his hand as he skated off the ice straight for the dressing room and he won’t be returning to the game. Too bad for Horton, who threw four hits before hurting himself and looked like he’d found his snarl.
- Great move by Brad Marchand for his team-leading 17th goal of the season on the power. He got the puck with speed from Zdeno Chara, dangled through Brenden Morrow and Kris Letang and then wristed a shot past Tomas Vokoun. Marchand looks like he’s got his legs and attitude today.
- Six of the 13 shots on net in the first period for Tyler Seguin, Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron in another dominant look for that line.
- A 5:14 stint for Carl Soderberg in the first period: he looked big on the ice and wasn’t afraid to head to the front of the net, but also looked a little lost in his first career NHL game. No shots, no hits and no real presence. Let’s see what happens over the next two periods and if we can see what all the fuss is about.
- Once again the Bruins are getting oodles of offensive chances, but aren’t able to finish them off while letting another team hanging around in the game. This has been the same script for much of this season, and the formula for so many of those third period breakdowns and tight one goal games. The best stretch saw Brad Marchand fire a bad angle shot at the side of the net Tomas Vokoun didn’t handle cleanly, but an early whistle stopped the play as Marchand dislodged it from the goalie’s pads into the back of the net. So it was no goal and then Marchand stirred up a hornet’s nest behind the net.
- Adam McQuaid is the second Bruins player goes down to a potential injury. He absorbed a Matt Cooke hip check that caught him low as he went airborne, and then McQuaid had a lot of trouble simply crawling to the bench and getting down to the dressing room. He ended up returning to the bench, but didn’t get back on the ice. Good to see Zdeno Chara go after Cooke immediately after the McQuaid hit, and stand up for his teammate win, lose or draw.
- Whole different team today with the physicality, speed and spirit. Seems to have coincided with Bruins coach Claude Julien benching Milan Lucic today. Certainly seems like a message has been received, doesn’t it?
- A minus-1, a penalty and no other discernible factor in the game for Carl Soderberg through two periods. Looks a little tentative out there amid the bodies flying and the high intensity of a playoff-style NHL game. Wont be making any judgments on him until he’s played a few games, but the Big Swede looks he’s battling some nerves and jitters.
- I’m always careful about the labels and names that I term people when talking on TV or on the radio, but you’ll have to go somewhere else to find somebody outraged over anything that gets tossed Matt Cooke’s way. I don’t like him as a player. I don’t respect him as a player. I think he’s the type of dirtbag hockey player that tried to end people’s careers in order to further his own, and those type of hatchet men can’t get enough comeuppance in my book even if they’ve seemingly “changed their ways.” I also think anybody ever nominating him for the Masterton Trophy is an insult to spirit of the award.
- Bruins agitator Brad Marchand with a pair of penalties in the third period including one against Jussi Jokinen that came at a pivotal point in the game. Marchand lost his gloves and he ripped off Jokinen’s helmet, but the Finn troublemaker never took off his gloves. Marchand went to the box, and the Penguins scored the game-winning goal with Jarome Iginla on the power play.
- It was far from a dominant display from Iginla, who finished with three shots on net and a fighting major that saw Nathan Horton injure his left hand/wrist. But Iginla made the play when it mattered scoring on a bomb from the high point on the power play for the game-winner. Loudest boos of the game arrived for Iginla as he celebrated the go-ahead goal in the third period.
- Bruins have allowed six power play goals in the last three games after leading the NHL on the PK for the entire season. It seems one of their biggest strengths is beginning to betray them, but it’s also wise not to engage in a special teams battle with the high-powered Penguins even if they’re missing Evgeni Malkin, Sidney Crosby and James Neal.
- The Bruins should give Carl Soderberg a couple more games to get himself comfortable, but he doesn’t look NHL-ready after his first game in the big boy league.
- Even though the results haven’t been there, I’m actually encouraged by what I’ve seen in the last couple of games from the Bruins. They just need to find a way to score more goals.