March 19, 2013

Postgame Breakdown: Ex-Bruin Wheeler leads Jets' rally

By Jesse Connolly


Zach Bogosian consoles Blake Wheeler, who became terrified in the third period when people started banging on the glass and yelling at him. (Getty Images)
 

Final: Winnipeg 3, Boston 1

Recap: After a scoreless opening frame, Brad Marchand tallied eight seconds into the second period, as a behind-the-net pass from Zach Bogosian went awry and landed right on No. 63's stick. 

The score remained the same until midway through the third when the B's saw yet aother third-period lead evaporate. Former Bruin Blake Wheeler tipped a shot past Tuukka Rask on the power play to knot things up.

Just 57 seconds later, Evander Kane gave Winnipeg the lead after Tuukka Rask couldn't gobble up a shot from the point by Grant Clitsome. Wheeler iced it with under a minute to go, as he notched the empty-netter.

Records: Winnipeg 16-12-2, 34 points; Boston 19-6-3, 41 points

Key Play of the Game: After a completely uneventful evening, Jordan Caron finally made a standout play midway through the third. Unfortunately it was a horrendous decision to hook Bryan Little, which put the Jets on the man advantage they capitalized on to tie the game.

Connolly's Commendations: As much as you'd like to lament their missed opportunities, the Patrice Bergeron line was simply buzzing all night long -- especially No. 37. Ondrej Pavelec made a few 10-bell saves to keep the center and his wingers from building on the lead Marchand gave them early in the second period.

Have to say I was impressed with Ryan Spooner's game tonight. The rookie pivot did a solid job of plugging in on the first line, showing some real energy in the offensive zone. He was good on the back-check and held his  own on the man advantage.

Connolly's Critiques: Caron's boneheaded penalty will likely see him sent back to Providence when everyone up front is healthy. In the meantime, the third line (Caron, Rich Peverley, Jay Pandolfo) remains as unproductive as ever.

Nathan Horton was minus-2 on the night and is now minus-5 in the last six games. 

Meanwhile, Andrew Ference found himself on the ice for another critical goal against in the third period. 

Notes: Adam McQuaid saw just 56 seconds of action. He left the game with an upper-body injury after falling into the boards awkwardly on a hit by Eric Tangradi. 

Final Thoughts: Is there anything left to say? The B's were 32-0-0 when leading after two periods last season. They're now 9-4-1 in that same scenario this year. That just about sums it up.

Next: The Bruins will now travel to Ottawa to take on the Senators Thursday night.

Twitter: @JesseNEHJ
Email: jconnolly@hockeyjournal.com