Bruins strike last to beat Hurricanes, 5-3

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Bruins strike last to beat Hurricanes, 5-3

RALEIGH, NC It was only fitting that on the day it was announced Dougie Hamilton will never have to go back to junior hockey, he helped make the play to win the game.

During a mad scramble in front of the Carolina net a puck bounced out to Hamilton at the right wing circle, but he slid a cross-ice pass to a wide open David Krejci for the game-winning strike in a 5-3 victory.

The goal came with less than two minutes in the third period proving the 19-year-old has a flair for the dramatic.

The Bruins had built up a 3-1 lead after two periods where theyd dictated the pace and played some magnificent special teams, but that dropped off a little bit at the end of the second period.

Brad Marchand opened the scoring with a shorthanded snipe from the right face-off circle after a nifty cross-ice pass from Zdeno Chara, and Chara built it to a two-goal lead with the Bruins second power play goal of the season.

The Hurricanes fought back and halved the Bs lead on a give-and-go play between Eric Staal and Jamie McBain that ended with a goal for the Carolina defenseman. Nathan Horton scored what appeared to be a nice insurance goal on a beautiful rush to the net through three Carolina defenders including a complete dusting off Tim Gleason when he attempted to stick-check him hear the blue line that finished with a roofed wrist shot over Cam Ward.

A few long shifts seemed to take the starch out of the Bruins, and turnovers by both the fourth line and the third line at the end of the period led to goals for Jeff Skinner and Eric Staal to get the Hurricanes back into the contest. That opened things up for a competitive third period in a seesaw game between the Bruins and Canes, who always seem to be embroiled in tight battles.

Tyler Seguin added the empty netter for his first goal of the season.

GOLD STAR: Zdeno Chara finished with a goal and two assists along with four shots on net in 26:02 of ice time, and helped create each of the first two goals for the Bruins that gave them a commanding early lead. Chara showed his vision by finding Brad Marchand with a cross-ice pass for the shorthanded goal and then feathered a quick wrist shot from the point through a Milan Lucic screen for a power play strike in the first period. After the early offense Chara hunkered down on defense and was only on the ice for one of Carolinas three goals, and neither of the breakdowns right at the end of the second period.

BLACK EYE: Bruins fourth line continues their bipolar season with another tough night. One shot on net for the trio and a rough Shawn Thornton turnover led to the first of Carolinas two goals at the end of the second period that tied up the game headed into the final 20 minutes. The criticism needs to be qualified, however, because its quite a lot to ask Thornton, Daniel Paille and Gregory Campbell to shut down a line with Jordan Staal and Jeff Skinner on it. That might not have been the right time for the energy line, and compounding it with a goal allowed by the third line on the next shift wasnt any better.

TURNING POINT: The Bruins faltered late in the second period allowing a pair of goals in the final three minutes that tied the game for Carolina, but they turned it back on in the third period. The Bruins outshot the Hurricanes by a 17-8 margin in the final 20 minutes and kept throwing pucks at the net until a Dougie Hamilton-to-David Krejci connection in the final two minutes put Boston ahead for good. The Bs simply werent going to be denied and continue to show both mental and physical strength early in this 48-game shortened season.

HONORABLE MENTION: David Krejci finished with the game-winning goal, two points, a plus-1 in 18:13 of ice time and won eight of 12 face-offs against some pretty good centers suiting up for Carolina. It wasnt always pretty for Krejci during the 60 minutes of seesaw hockey against the Hurricanes, but he helped set up Charas power play goal early in the game and then was ready for Hamiltons slick pass in the final minutes before firing off the game-winner. The Bruins are starting to playmakers on the ice offensively, and it becomes very obvious in crunch time.

BY THE NUMBERS: 23-for-23 the perfect Bruins record on the penalty kill this season, which also kicked in a shorthanded goal on Monday night.

QUOTE TO NOTE: We wanted to have a good start and so far, so good. We also lost a big one in overtime in New York We wanted to get our first win on the road too, so it was a pretty big two points for us. We came out strong in the third period and really stuck with it. David Krejci talking about the teams mindset after taking nine of a possible 10 points in the first five games this season.

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.