BOSTON -- The Bruins still havent got their full groove back after last weeks epic clash against the Canucks, but they had just enough Thursday night to take down the struggling Canadiens.
Goals in the first and third periods gave the Bruins all the offense they would need, and Tim Thomas' 33 saves backstopped the Bs to a 2-1 win. Thomas 16 saves in the first period served notice to Montreal that it was going to take something a little extra to beat him, and the Habs didnt have it on this night.
The Bruins got on the board early in the first, and the Hockey gods handed it to Jordan Caron after he had played sparingly over the last month. Johnny Boychuk fired a dump-in attempt off the glass in Montreals end, and the puck bounced right to Caron in front with Carey Price out of the net.
Carons second goal of the season gave the Bruins a slim one-goal lead, and thats the way it stayed until the red-hot David Krejci line struck for the insurance score in the final period. A Nathan Horton pass from behind the net reached Milan Lucic waiting in the slot, and he lofted a funky-looking backhander off Josh Gorges' stick and past Price to make it a two-goal lead.Krejci picked up the second assist on the goal and has now put together a career-high 10-game point streak this season.
Montreal attempted to pick up the intensity in the third period with a P.K. Subban cheap shot on Krejci, followed by a power-play goal, but the Bruins held on and improved to 21-0-0 when entering the third period with a lead.GOLD STAR: Tim Thomas made 33 saves to backstop the Bruins to a victory they might not have deserved, and only gave up a goal when the referees handed the Canadiens a power play in the aftermath of a nasty P.K. Subban elbow thrown at David Krejcis head that led to a scrum on the ice. Thomas was at his best in the first period when sloppy turnovers and porous defense led to close scoring bids from Mike Blunden and Andrei Kostitsyn among his 16 stops. Wouldnt quite say this was a game stolen by Thomas, but it comes awfully close to that territory.BLACK EYE: Patrice Bergeron lost 5 out of 15 faceoffs, missed high on a perfect 2-on-1 scoring opportunity and didnt register much in 15:40 of ice time. He looked frustrated and uncomfortable on the ice, and perhaps he was after missing on an invitation to the NHL All-Star Game that he so richly deserved. If he was disappointed, it spilled out onto the ice a little bit against a Montreal team that he always ups his compete level against. Bergeron was the most deserving among those snubbed for the NHL All-Star Game, so maybe the voting process should get the black eye instead.TURNING POINT: A turning point for Milan Lucic and the Bruins when he managed to scoop the puck like his stick was a shovel and backhand a shot off Josh Gorges and past Carey Price for the game-winner.HONORABLE MENTION: A little bit of credit to Pierre Gauthier for ripping apart a Montreal Canadiens team over the last two years, and really helping out the Bruins in the process. Trading Mike Cammalleri in the middle of a game is just the latest in a long line of panic moves engineered by Gauthier, and there has to be some mal intent behind doing it during the game. Cammalleri was removed from the locker room, put into a cab bound for the team hotel and told hed been traded before the third period had even started. That is some cold stuff, and a clear reaction to his losers mentality speech from Wednesday.BY THE NUMBERS: 10 the number of consecutive games with a point for David Krejci after picking up the secondary assist on Milan Lucics game-winner. Its the longest point streak of Krejcis career, and the longest this season in the NHL.QUOTE TO NOTE: Im sure its going to be a good experience for him to see all these players. There are a lot of top players from different teams in the league that all get together. Hopefully hell learn from them and carry it with him. Hes come a long way from last year. Zdeno Chara on first-year All-Star Tyler Seguin getting selected to take part in the NHLs midseason classic.
It was assumed that Patrice Bergeron will be finalist for the Selke Trophy again this season, and it became official on Thursday when it was announced that Bergeron, Ryan Kesler and Anze Kopitar were the three finalists for the award given to the best defensive forward.
It would be the third straight Selke Trophy and fourth overall for Bergeron if he can take the hardware home again during the NHL Awards in June, and the ever-humble No. 37 said he was just honored to once again be nominated.
“Being named a finalist for the Selke Trophy is a tremendous honor and one I am very grateful for,” said Bergeron in a press release. “While it is an individual award, my teammates and coaches deserve a lot of credit as well. Ryan and Anze are two elite players who both had great seasons and it is a privilege to be a finalist alongside them. Thanks to all of those who voted and I look forward to the NHL Awards Show on June 22.”
The Bruins center has won the Selke Trophy three times (2012, 2014 and 2015) and has now been a Selke finalist in each of the last five seasons. His three wins are tied for the second-most in NHL history, one behind Hall of Fame Canadiens forward Bob Gainey, who is the all-time leader with four Selke Trophies. Bergeron was the Bruins’ lone representative at the All-Star Game this winter for the second straight season, and was a no-brainer as a finalist given all of his defensive qualifications.
Bergeron finished the 2015-16 regular season leading the NHL in faceoffs taken (1,978) and for the second straight season led the league in faceoffs won (1,130) while finishing a solid seventh overall with a 57.1% faceoff win rate among players taking a minimum of 500 draws.
Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while giving a thumbs up to “The Good Dinosaur” as quality family viewing.
*TSN Hockey Buddha Bob McKenzie breaks down the players available in the NHL draft lottery and what kind of names teams like the Boston Bruins should expect to be available with the first 14 picks.
*FOH (Friend of Haggs) Greg Wyshynski talks about the World of Cup ads with the ESPN creative people that made them happen. They used the word jarring in something of a positive fashion to describe them. I would use the word “not funny” for Reg Carling, the fictional character created for the ads. If they were trying to feature the personality of NHL players in those ads, I think they missed the mark. It’s not really a big deal in the final scheme of things, but it doesn’t make for a good first step in drawing hockey fans back to the four letter network.
*Good luck to Cam Tucker, a hockey writer based out of Vancouver that appears to have been one of the latest to be downsized in our industry.
*Dennis Bernstein has some thoughts, facts, analysis and theories surrounding the Los Angeles Kings, who have a long time to think about their first-round exit from the playoffs.
*Bruce Garrioch has some info on Ottawa’s long range plan to move to a needed downtown arena and that being the blueprint for most other Canadian cities.
*Tracey Myers has a dilemma for the Blackhawks: Andrew Shaw wants to stay, but the question is whether the Blackhawks can afford him?
*PHT writer James O’Brien has Bruce Boudreau lamenting the tough Game 7 loss for the Anaheim Ducks to the Nashville Predators. The loss may cost Boudreau his job, and will see a lot of new blood in the West with Chicago, Los Angeles and Anaheim now all out of the postseason.
*For something completely different: how can you say “no” to a tour of the world’s most magnificent treehouses.
The Bruins will know a great deal more in a couple of days about their prospects for NHL Draft weekend in Buffalo this June.
The NHL will hold its annual draft lottery in Toronto on Saturday night for those teams outside the playoffs that hold first-round picks or those shrewd enough to have secured a first-rounder and still have reached the playoffs.
The Bruins will have two first-round picks regardless of what happens: they hold their own lottery-eligible selection along with the first-round pick from the San Jose Sharks sent to Boston last summer in the trade for goaltender Martin Jones. The Sharks are still alive in the postseason, so the B’s second selection will be a late first-rounder.
The Bruins were the last NHL team eliminated from playoff contention, so they hold the slimmest odds of securing the first overall pick with a 1 percent chance in the Auston Matthews sweepstakes.
It’s too bad because the kind of game-breaking talent available at the top of the draft is exactly what the Black and Gold franchise needs after trading away top-10 first-round picks in Tyler Seguin and Dougie Hamilton the past three years.
The Bruins will have roughly the same odds for the second (1.1 percent chance) and third overall picks (1.3 percent chance) should they miss out on No. 1, but the chances are still slim at they will pick anywhere but the same exact 14th overall pick where they selected Jake DeBrusk last season. Should they get a selection in the top three, the Bruins would be looking at big-time center Matthews, and a pair of Finnish wingers in Patrick Laine and Jesse Puljujarvi, along with Matthew Tkachuk (son of Keith Tkachuk and cousin to Jimmy Hayes).
The highest rated D-man on the board is Sarnia Sting blueliner Jakob Chycrun, who is a player the Bruins would need to trade up for, a la their attempt at Noah Hanifin last year. The Bruins will have assets to potentially make that happen, but we all know how that worked out last season for Don Sweeney when a big part of “the plan” was moving up to nab one of last year’s blue chip D-men in the draft.
Hopeful Bruins fans can try their luck with the NHL Draft Lottery Simulator online, but fair warning that you won’t see the Spoked ‘B’ come up very much while hashing out the order of the top three overall picks for late June at the First Niagara Center.