Bruins capture ninth in a row
|12.30.08 at 10:59 pm ET|
It’s not too bad when your hometown team nets all three Stars of the Game following any NHL game, and the situation gets even better when said contest is a game at the Igloo against the high-flying Pittsburgh Penguins.
The sweet victory gets yet even better when it’s a solidly-played 5-2 victory over Sidney Crosby’s boys that includes a goal and a pair of assists from both First Star Marc Savard and Second Star Dennis Wideman in commendable all-around effort. Following up that dynamic duo was Third Star Phil Kessel, who snapped a key goal toward the end of the second period that both staved off some Penguins’ momentum and preserved a two-goal lead for the Black and Gold.
For a team that had been accused of playing somewhat ragged and distinctly un-Bruins-like hockey over the last handful of listless games, Boston’s triumph in Steel City was a remarkably solid one against a Pittsburgh squad obviously looking to make an Eastern Conference statement against the new kid atop the block.
While Savard and Wideman were the obvious headline-grabbers with their big offensive outputs, rookie Martin St. Pierre potted his first Bruins goal — and his second career score in the NHL — while on the penalty kill at the beginning of the third period. St. Pierre earned 2:04 of ice time during the penalty kill among his 11:10 of ice time for the game and really appears to have impressed Julien and the B’s coaching staff — a simple fact of Bruins life given the situations that St. Pierre has been placed in since getting the big call up from Providence.
In addition to his current lot on the “energy” line and PK unit, St Pierre will have a story to tell his grandkids someday about blocking Sid the Kid’s pass attempt on a Penguins power play and then taking in the puck at the Pens’ net for an always welcome “shortie” score.
Axy getting in on the act
P.J. Axelsson has been mired in a season-long slump, but seemed to be amazingly snap out of it when coach Claude Julien opted to place the typically defense-first Swede on the top scoring line with both Kessel and Savard. Axy couldn’t add any markers to his paltry total of one goal for the season, but he did notch a pair of assists in the impressive wire-to-wire victory and finished at a +1 in 18:10 of ice time.
For Axelsson it was only his third multiple-point game of the season, but it’s also signified the second such game he’s enjoyed in the last two weeks of hockey. Perhaps that’s a sign that Axelsson — one of the few slow starters still lagging behind thus far for the Black and Gold this season — is beginning to find his stride in his 10th year with the Boston Bruins.
The Mighty Looch Roars Again
Many expected Milan Lucic to come storming out of the starting gate last night with fire in his eyes and the familiar desire to smash anything that moved within his path — a byproduct of understandable, constructive anger felt by a player busted down from the top scoring line to a trio alongside Stephane Yelle and Chuck Kobasew. The young hulking Lucic finished with only a single shot on goal, was a -1 and totalled only two hits in a night that showed he still has a way to go before he’s again in the flow of things on the ice.
But Looch did — no pun intended — slap an exclamation point on Boston’s victory with a third period showdown against a sadly overmatched youngster Tim Wallace, who made the mistake of tugging on hockey superman’s cape with less than five minutes to go and the game well in hand. Lucic seemed to focus all angst from his recent struggles into the trading of hockey haymakers with Wallace, and the bout was another clear victory for the Looch Ness Monster.
Wallace bravely stood in and took a beating from Lucic in the fight as the wild punches flew all about, but I have to agree with NESN play-by-play guy Jack Edwards. One of the best things about the entire bout was Wallace and then Looch both tossing off their helmets before they did the whole pugilist thing. That is Old Time Hockey. Here’s the bout, scored a 92 percent knockout for Looch at www.hockeyfights.com :