February 22, 2012

Bruins bounce back with win over red-hot Blues

By Jesse Connolly

Final: Boston 4, St. Louis 2

Recap: Boston jumped on top of the Blues early as Brad Marchand tallied a little more than two minutes in thanks to a giveaway by former BU star Kevin Shattenkirk. Milan Lucic pushed the lead to two with a tip of a Joe Corvo shot, but St. Louis erased it promptly.

Chris Stewart cut the B’s advantage in half before Ryan Reaves’ second of the season made it 2-2. But with 40 ticks left in the opening frame, Chris Kelly’s 15th of the season made it 3-2 Boston heading into the intermission.

After a scoreless second period that saw the Blues outshoot the B’s 14-4, Boston looked to be on the ropes. Marchand gave them a big boost when he tallied midway through the third, as his second of the night made it 4-2. Tim Thomas and Co. took care of business from there on out, as the Bruins put their skid to bed.

Records: Boston 36-20-2, 74 points; St. Louis 36-17-7, 79 points

Key Play of the Game: The Bruins were reeling after the second period and seemed to be teetering on the brink. With 9:14 gone in the third, Tyler Seguin made a great defensive play, saw Marchand taking off and sent him in on a breakaway. His second strike of the game sealed the deal.

Connolly’s Commendations: Hats off to Boston’s two-goal scorer, as their line was – as always – extremely effective. Together, Marchand, Seguin and Bergeron combined for four points and a plus-5 rating.

David Krejci had his best game in a long time. Switched to wing, No. 46 might not have picked up a point, but he and linemates Lucic and Kelly were incredibly effective, racking up a total of seven shots among them. Furthermore, Krejci popped a few Blues with powerful hits and was more involved than at any point during his current slump.

Lost in the shuffle was just how much Thomas settled in after a shaky start. The netminder got burned early on two goals and the game looked to be en route to barn-burner status, but the reigning Vezina Trophy winner got in a groove. He finished with 30 saves on 32 shots.

After going through his roughest defensive stretch under coach Claude Julien, Zdeno Chara had a nice bounce-back game for the B’s, finishing plus-3.

Connolly’s Critiques: Though Shawn Thornton being “under the weather” didn’t help matters, it was a tough night at the office for the fourth line. Thornton, Greg Campbell and Dan Paille finished with a combined minus-5 rating. Paille put their only shot on net.

Notes: Both Marchand (21) and Kelly (15) tied their career-highs for goals. St. Louis was 18-0-3 in their last 21 home games coming into the night

Final Thoughts: The Bruins appeared to be doomed heading into this one, as the Blues had lost a grand total of three games in regulation on home ice and were simply rolling coming into this one. The Black and Gold absolutely need to build off their showing and carry all that they did well into their next contest.

Next: Speaking of that next contest, the B’s will be back in action on Friday night when they take on the Sabres in Buffalo.