BruinsHurricanes: 5 from the Third

BruinsHurricanes: 5 from the Third

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.comRALEIGH, N.C. Here are five thoughts from the third period of BruinsHurricanes with the Bruins taking a 3-2 decision over the Hurricanes at the RBC Center in the first game back from the NHL All-Star break.1)The Bruins are a plus-31 in the third period this season. The best mark for any team in any period over the course of the season. Thats a championship level number for an NHL team.2)Nine goals in his last 13 games for Patrice Bergeron. He has again taken his rightful place as the best player on this Bruins team in his long road back from the concussion three years ago. 3)First goal for Nathan Horton after a 10-game goal-scoring drought heading into the All-Star break, and you could sense how happy his teammates were for him when he buried the shot off a David Krejci pass.4)Seven shots on net, two assists and a plus-1 for Zdeno Chara in a monumental effort coming out of the All-Star break.5)Chara made plays on the offensive end, and credit the big defenseman for completely shutting down Eric Staal to the tune of one shot on net in 20 plus minutes of ice time. He was a virtual non-factor in the game and thats all about Big Zee.6)No power plays for the Bruins in the game. Interesting. They got tips and traffic in front of the net and battled pretty hard in front of Thomas, so it appears they played a very disciplined road game.

Dupont: If Tuukka Rask is healthy, he should start for Bruins

Dupont: If Tuukka Rask is healthy, he should start for Bruins

Mike Felger and Kevin Paul Dupont debate if it is time for the Bruins to send a message to Tuukka Rask and have Anton Khudobin get the starts in net.

Nash stepping up when Bruins need him most

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Nash stepping up when Bruins need him most

BROOKLYN -- It took most of his first season in Boston, but Riley Nash is hitting his groove with the Bruins at exactly the right time.

Nash came up huge in a must-win game Saturday night against the Islanders, scoring both goals in a 2-1 win over the Isle. The unheralded Nash and equally unheralded backup goalie Anton Khudobin were the two most important performers in the tight, playoff-style win that snapped a four game losing streak while pushing the B's back into playoff position.

"That's part of [a big win], right? Big performances,” said interim coach Bruce Cassidy. "Generally you look to your best players, but [Nash] did a really good job. He's got a sneaky shot, so hopefully he uses it a little bit more. You can't say enough about those goals. We needed them tonight.

"Generally our top guns have been good offensively and have come through. But tonight it was the lesser lights for us in terms of offense, so good for us.”

Both Nash goals were titanic. The first came on the first shift following the Islanders goal in the first period. The fourth-line winger stripped Isles defenseman Scott Mayfield in the neutral zone and then flipped a shot past Thomas Greiss to the short side that tied the game at 1-1. Then in the third period, Dominic Moore hit Nash in stride as he sped into the offensive zone, and Nash weaved through defenders before sneaking one past Greiss for the game-winner.

The two goals give Nash four goals and six points in 21 games since the All-Star break, in line with his normal offensive output during his NHL career, and a step up from the three goals and nine points in his first 52 games this season.

The affable Nash was more than happy to contribute in a big win, and enthused at seeing the offense finally starting to flow on a semi-regular basis when the Bruins can really use it.

"It's quite the output as opposed to the season I've had so far, so I'll take it and be happy that we won the game,” said Nash. "I think everyone in here knew that was the biggest game of the year. It was going to be a really big uphill battle if we lost that one.

"Both teams came out desperate in a pretty tight, playoff-style game, but that's what it's going to be like for the rest of the season. So we've got to hunker down and take it one game at a time as the saying goes.”

With the Bruins third line fading a bit in these tight, physical games where players have to battle for their ice, it's been vital that Boston's fourth line step up and provide big minutes at both ends of the ice. Nash and Co. did more than that on Saturday night by potentially saving the season with his biggest, best game in a Bruins uniform.