Bruins continue to roll after shootout win over Devils

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Bruins continue to roll after shootout win over Devils

BOSTON -- It took six rounds but the Bruins picked up a 2-1 shootout win over the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday night at the TD Garden, thanks to Brad Marchand's sixth-round shot that trickled through Johan Hedberg's five-hole and into the net.

Tuukka Rask followed it up by making a glove save on Marek Zidlicky, sealing the deal on Boston's fifth win of the season.

The Bruins nearly lost in regulation, but Nathan Horton tied the game at 1-1 with 4:05 remaining in the third period, as Milan Lucic and David Krejci set him up in the right circle after a clean transition into the Devils' zone.

Horton let a low wrister go and it beat Hedberg for his third goal of the season, sending the game into overtime, and eventually into a shootout.

The Devils scored the first goal of the game, taking a 1-0 lead midway through the second period, when David Clarkson got a piece of a Zidlicky shot from the left point with 53 seconds remaining on a New Jersey power play. It marked the first power-play goal the Bruins had allowed all season.

GOLD STAR: Nathan Horton had the only two shots for his forward line and potted the big game-tying goal with less than five minutes to go in regulation. It pushed Hortons point streak to four games and gives him a pair of timely third period goals on the young season among his five points scored this year. Watching Horton skate with confidence in the offensive zone and attack the net while potting timely goals, its as if neither of the concussions actually happened and thats a very good thing for No. 18. The Bruins saw up close and personal during the regular season and the playoffs last year how much they miss his ability to score in the clutch.

BLACK EYE: Whoever the clown was that threw the Unidentified Food Object (UFO) that looked like a hot dog on the ice just as Tyler Seguin was firing his shootout attempt is a Grade A clown. The food item flashed right by Devils goaltender Johan Hedberg just as he was readying to make the save on Seguin, and the Bruins forward actually scored on the play. It didnt appear that the UFO was a distraction of any kind, but the referees forced Seguin and the Bruins to re-do the shootout attempt. It was all according to the NHL rulebooks and Seguin scored again on the second try, but theres no room at the TD Garden for fans that fire items on the ice during play. Thats bush league.

TURNING POINT: Once again the Bruins came out in the third period and decided they wouldnt be taking no for an answer while outshooting the Devils in what Claude Julien called a heavy game for both sides. Part of the uptick in momentum and intensity was their ability to stay out of the penalty box after a host of penalties on both sides really chopped up the second period, and part of it was Bostons determination to at least earn themselves a point by getting to overtime. That led to Nathan Hortons goal with nearly four minutes to go in the third period and an eventual two-point win in the shootout.

HONORABLE MENTION: Brad Marchand managed only a single shot on net in 19 plus minutes of ice time while racking up a couple of hits and a couple of blocked shots. But he riled up David Clarkson enough that the Devils power forward starting making nose gestures at Marchand during a heated chat in overtime, and then Nose Face Killah really delivered in overtime. He finally broke open a shootout that had gone back-and-forth and then chirped a little something to Clarkson and the rest of the New Jersey bench after rifling home the game-winner.

BY THE NUMBERS: 42 the number of years since the Bruins have found themselves off to a 5-0-1 start as they have this season in their first six games. Whenever youre talking about the 1970-71 Bobby Orr Era Bruins, youre talking about true franchise greatness.

QUOTE TO NOTE: We knew all along we could come back. Weve done it a lot before in the past. Its reassuring to know that we can come back at any time. When we roll four lines here, we stay fresh, and you keep battling away eventually youre gonna win. Nathan Horton on the Bs belief that theyll win when things are close in the closing minutes of their games.

Game story provided by Danny Picard.

Haggerty: Reports of Seidenberg's demise were greatly exaggerated

Haggerty: Reports of Seidenberg's demise were greatly exaggerated

Hindsight is always 20/20, of course, but it appears the Bruins made a mistake buying out veteran defenseman Dennis Seidenberg from the final couple of years of his contract. 

Seidenberg just finished up a wildly successful stint with host Team Germany at the IIHF World Championships, where he was named Directorate Best Defenseman (the tournament’s best defenseman) after leading all D-men with a goal and eight points. This came after Seidenberg, at age 35, posted 5 goals and 22 points in 73 games for the Islanders, with whom he signed after being cut loose by the B's, while averaging a shade under 20 minutes per game.  Seidenberg also had an excellent World Cup of Hockey tournament for Team Europe last summer (where he was teamed once again with Zdeno Chara), thus managing to play at a high level from September all the way through May.

A faction of Bruins fans thought he was on the serious decline after the 2015-16 season and, clearly, the Bruins agreed, opting to buy him out with two more years still left on a sizable contract extension. (They owe him $2.16 million next season and then will be charged $1.16 million on their salary cap over the next two seasons.) But the B's could have used a durable, defensive warrior like Seidenberg in the playoffs, when they lost three of their top four defensemen against the Ottawa Senators. A rejuvenated Seidenberg, able to play both the left and right side, would have been a better option than Colin Miller.

The Bruins made a conscious decision to hand things over to younger defensemen like Miller, Torey Krug, Brandon Carlo and Joe Morrow in cutting ties with Seidenberg. But they also perhaps miscalculated how much Seidenberg still had left in the tank after his best season in at least three years. 

“Well, at the time we felt like [Seidenberg's] game had really dropped off to where we thought he couldn’t contribute, and we wanted to see if some younger players could come in and help us out,” Bruins president Cam Neely said at the end-of-the-season press conference earlier this month. “I’ve got to say he played well this year for Long Island. But at the time we thought it was the right move. You can’t envision us having three of our top four D’s get hurt [in the playoffs]. We went through a lot of D’s in the postseason. You can’t predict that.”

Neely is referring to the decision made after Seidenberg’s second straight minus season in Boston, when back injuries and a major knee injury had seemed to slow him down a bit. It seemed the only way to properly evaluate some of their other, younger defenseman was to cut Seidenberg loose, but one has to wonder if the Bruins would have possibly done it had they known he was still capable of playing like he did this season for the Islanders. 

Either way, the buyout of Seidenberg is an extremely legitimate second guess of Bruins management in a year where they did a lot of things right. 
 

Monday, May 22: Senators all out of playoff magic?

Monday, May 22: Senators all out of playoff magic?

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while feeling like we’ll be getting a Pittsburgh/Nashville Stanley Cup Final, which I suppose would be the best possible outcome at this point.

*You hear the name and it just gets you angry all over again if you grew up watching the Bruins. Ulf Samuelsson is in the running for an assistant coaching job with the Chicago Blackhawks, according to a report.

*FOH (Friend of Haggs) Chris Johnston says it appears that the time is running out on a Cinderella season for the Ottawa Senators.

*A taste of winning at the world championships with Team Sweden could fuel Alex Edler’s desire for a change from the rebuilding Vancouver Canucks.

*Interesting piece on a former can’t miss goaltending prospect with the Nashville Predators that ended up totally missing, and what he’s been up to in life since then.

*Guy Boucher explains to Pro Hockey Talk why he kept changing goaltenders in the Game 5 blowout loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins.

*Don Cherry explains that he hates afternoon hockey during his Coach’s Corner from Hockey Night in Canada in the Game 5 blowout between the Penguins and Predators.

*A good piece from FOH (Friend of Haggs) Alex Prewitt on the Nashville Predators, and the evolution of the franchise into a team on the verge of a Stanley Cup Final appearance.

*For something completely different: What a win by the Boston Celtics in Game 3 in Cleveland, and quite an interesting, fired up interview with Al Horford afterward.