November 30, 2013

Lucic strikes twice, B's breeze past Blue Jackets

By Jesse Connolly

Milan Lucic scored two goals Saturday. He also punched Dalton Prout in the head a lot. (Getty Images)

Final: Boston 3, Columbus 1

Recap: With 9:02 gone in the opening frame and Loui Eriksson screening in front, Patrice Bergeron was able to send a harmless wrister from along the near half-wall past Curtis McElhinney, staking the B's to a 1-0 lead. Less than six minutes later, Boston pushed the margin to two on a power-play strike from Milan Lucic, who made a nice tip on a shot from the point by Torey Krug.

Neither team found twine in the second, but the Bruins owned a 16-7 edge in shots. The Black and Gold peppered McElhinney, who came up with some pretty big stops on the night, including when he denied a stuff attempt by Jarome Iginla in the middle frame, smack in the middle of a flurry of chances for Boston on the man advantage.

In the third, the Bruins made it a three-goal game as Lucic struck again, this time on a slapper from long distance. The Blue Jackets broke up Chad Johnson's shutout bid with 13:44 to go in regulation, thanks to a Ryan Johansen tally on the man advantage, but that was just about the last meaningful moment in this one.

Records: Boston 18-7-2, 38 points; Columbus 10-14-3, 23 points

Key Play of the Game: Columbus seemed to never have their hearts in this one, outside of a spirited bout between Lucic and Dalton Prout, but the third-period goal by the former truly stuck a dagger in them. Lucic's slapper from the point flipped up and over McElhinney, pushing the score to 3-0 when it landed in the back of the net. G'night, Blue Jackets.

Connolly's Commendations: It's not too often that we've got to talk about Boston's first and second line both chipping in on the score sheet on the same night in November, but that's exactly what happened in this one. The top line racked up five points via Lucic's two goals, David Krejci's two assists and Jarome Iginla's helper.

Meanwhile, Bergeron had a goal to make it two straight games for him with a point, on which Marchand got an assist. Boston's top six forwards were each plus-1 on the evening. 

Killer job by the B's blueliners, making the night incredibly easy for Johnson. Columbus was limited to just 14 shots on net. Boston blocked 18 of their attempts. 

The B's also slayed Columbus at the dot, winning 34-of-56 (61%) faceoffs. Bergeron takes the cake with a 14-5 record, while Krejci was 13-9.

Connolly's Critiques: I can't think of any worth mentioning. How about you, person reading this who may be judging my inability to find flaws in a dominant, 3-1 win right now?

Notes: The Bruins won 9-of-11 (82%) faceoffs while on the power play but went 1-for-6 on the man advantage. ... Krejci now has five points in the last five games. ... Only four Bruins failed to put a puck on net: Eriksson, Marchand, Greg Campbell and Dougie Hamilton.

Final Thoughts: I'd venture to say this is exactly what one should've expected from this game tonight. Boston held a team that's missing a few key cogs offensively in check for most of the evening, got the necessary saves from Johnson, and scored enough on his fellow backup, McElhinney, to skate away with a comfortable victory over a struggling visitor.

Next: The Bruins won't return to action until Thursday, when they head up to Montreal to face off against the hated Habs.

Twitter: @JesseNEHJ