5 from the Third and OT

5 from the Third and OT

By Danny Picard

BOSTON -- @font-face font-family: "Times New Roman";p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal margin: 0in 0in 0.0001pt; font-size: 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; table.MsoNormalTable font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; div.Section1 page: Section1; Here are five thoughts and observations from the thirdperiod of Saturday nights game that ended with a 3-2 Pittsburgh win inovertime:

1.) If there was ever a sign of justice being served, itwould have to be when Matt Cookes empty net bid in the final minute ofregulation was blocked by Tomas Kaberle, leading to the Bruins rushing up ice,and Krejci sniping top-left from the slot with 32.5 seconds left in the game,tying it at 2-2, and sending it into overtime.

2.) The Bs got a point, but just one. Dustin Jeffrey scoredthe game-winner for the Penguins with 3:08 left in overtime, as he camestreaking through the middle and flipped the puck top-left past Thomas. Still,the way the game went, the Bs shouldnt be too disappointed in getting onepoint out of it.

3.) The Bruins fourth line set the tone for the thirdperiod, thanks to a dominating shift in the opening minutes, as Daniel Pailleand Shawn Thornton continued to work the puck down low and put several shots onnet.

4.) The Bs killed off a huge penalty, six minutes into thethird, after Milan Lucic went to the box for a hook. Highlighting the importantpenalty kill was Dennis Seidenbergs huge hit on Kris Letang in open ice at theBruins blue line. It was clean, and was something Matt Cooke should take noteson.

5.) With less than 10 minutes left in a one-goal game, itstime to get gritty and greasy, which is something that Mark Recchi is great at,in front of opposing teams goaltenders. And he nearly re-directed a low TomasKaberle shot over the right shoulder of Marc-Andre Fleury with eight minutesleft in regulation. It was a near-perfect attempt, but as most of the game wentto that point, it was another near-miss for the Bruins offense.


Here are five thoughts and observations from a second periodthat saw the Penguins fall behind 1-0, and then take a 2-1 lead into the break:

1.) Zdeno Chara gave the Bs a 1-0 lead, seven-and-a-halfminutes into the second, sniping a wrister top shelf from the high slot. Butcredit the entire play to David Krejcis wizard-like talents. Krejci took thepuck over the blue line, and sent a backhand sauce-pass to a wide open Chara,who stepped in and had all day to pick the corner of his choice.

2.) The Penguins got right back into the game, less thanthree minutes after Charas goal, when Jordan Staal tied the game at 1-1. Staalconverted on a 2-on-1 with Tyler Kennedy, after Johnny Boychuk made a bad pinchat the Pittsburgh blue line to try and keep the puck in the offensive zone.Boychuk can be blamed for that one.

3.) Exactly 1:10 after Staal tied the game, Dustin Jeffrey putthe Penguins up 2-1 after he beat Tim Thomas with a low, cross-body shot fromthe slot. The Bruins were caught flat-footed defensively, and seemed to be outof it for a few minutes after Boychuks decision to pinch.

4.) However, Boychuk did get some cheers from the Bruinsfaithful in the second period, after he buried Matt Cooke behind Bruins net. Cookecame in hard to finish a check on Boychuk, but Boychuk stood him up and knockedhim down hard to the ice.

5.) You have to give it to Michael Ryder, who continues tocarry the puck wide and deep into the offensive zone, looking like a mandetermined to get the puck to the net. Hes yet to beat Marc-Andre Fleury onthis night, but hes clearly giving Boston its best offensive effort of thenight through two periods.
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Here are five thoughts and observations from a scorelessfirst period between the Bruins and Penguins:

1.) All eyes in the TD Garden were on the villain MattCooke, who took his first faceoff in Bruins zone on the wing with JohnnyBoychuk, who has tried to fight Cooke on several occasions this season. Butnothing came of it, and Cooke was fairly quiet throughout the first 20 minutes.

2.) There were two fights though. Shawn Thornton askedMichael Rupp to dance three minutes into the game, and Rupp accepted the titleshot. Rupp went on to give Thornton a few good rights and took him down to theice to win the bout. The second fight saw Nathan Horton and Craig Adams go atit in a quick, spirited fight with two minutes left in the first.

3.) As for the hockey game, Michael Ryder and Nathan Hortonhad Bostons best scoring chances in the first, but neither could finish,thanks to some timely blocking from Pittsburgh defensemen and some solid savesfrom Marc-Andre Fleury.

4.) Tyler Seguin was impressive with the puck in the firstperiod, in the most important zone on the ice: the neutral zone. Seguin isskating with Chris Kelly and Ryder, and showed no signs of panic when it wastime to make a play.

5.) And when Seguin was getting bullied, his teammateswerent timid either. Adam McQuaid came to the aid of Seguin when Max Talbotcontinued to push Seguin after a whistle, and basically let Talbot know thatwasnt going to fly on this night.

Danny Picard is on Twitter at http:twitter.comDannyPicard. You can listen to Danny on his streaming radio show I'm Just Sayin' Monday-Friday from 9-10 a.m. on CSNNE.com.

Spooner responds positively to healthy scratch


Spooner responds positively to healthy scratch

BOSTON -- It wasn’t perfect by any means, but Saturday night represented a step in a positive direction for Ryan Spooner.

The 24-year-old speedy forward was scratched for the home opener against New Jersey in classic message-sending fashion by Bruins coach Claude Julien, and deserved it based on a passive lack of production combined with some costly mistakes as well. So he stayed quiet, put in the work and then returned to the lineup Saturday vs. the Montreal Canadiens where he scored a power play goal in the 4-2 loss to the Habs at TD Garden.

“He was better,” agreed Claude Julien. “He was better tonight.”

Spooner could have had even more as he got a couple of great scoring chances in the first period vs. Montreal, but Carey Price was able to turn away a couple of free looks at the Montreal net. So the Bruins forward felt he possibly left points on the ice after it was all said and done, but also clearly played his best game of the young season after going from the press box back to the lineup.

“Yeah, I had like maybe four or five [chances] that I could have scored on,” said Spooner. “I’ve just got to bear down on those [scoring opportunities], and a lot [of them] in the first period. It’s good that I’m getting those looks, but I have to score on them.

“I’m just going to go out there and just try to play. I can’t really think about [fighting to hold a spot]. I’ve just got to go out there and try to play, I guess, the game I can and try to use the speed that I have.”

The Spooner power play strike was a nifty one with the shifty forward and David Backes connecting on a pass across the front of the net, and the young B’s forward showing the necessary assertiveness cutting to the net from his half-wall position.

Spooner had five shot attempts overall in the game, and was one of the few Bruins players really getting the chances they wanted against a pretty effective Montreal defensive group. Now it’s a matter of Spooner, along with linemates Backes and David Krejci, scoring during 5-on-5 play and giving the Bruins a little more offensive balance after riding Boston’s top line very hard during the regular season’s first couple of weeks. 

Sunday, Oct. 23: Hall fitting in with Devils


Sunday, Oct. 23: Hall fitting in with Devils

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while waiting to find out which Walking Dead character got brained by Lucille in last season’s cliffhanger. I’m going with Abraham.

*The SI roundtable talks about the future of Jacob Trouba, and where he’ll end up going when his current situation resolves itself.

*P.K. Subban is apparently getting very comfortable in Nashville, and enjoying life in a city with NFL football.

*Fun conversation between Yahoo’s Josh Cooper and Brad Marchand about a whole range of random topics.

*A cool father-son story where they became the goaltending tandem for the Ontario Reign through a series of dominoes falling after Jonathan Quick went down with injury for the Los Angeles Kings.

*Pro Hockey Talk has Taylor Hall serving as exactly what the New Jersey Devils have needed for the last couple of years.

*For something completely different: FOH (Friend of Haggs) Dan Shaughnessy says that the MLB playoffs couldn’t have played out any worse for the Boston Red Sox.