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Bruins once again are shooting mostly blanks

The Bruins once again seemed to be all up, over and around the net, and — lo and behold — there was even a measly goal scored. The B’s hadn’t potted a point in 192 minutes and 6 seconds deep into the third period of Thursday night’s tilt against the Canadiens,  but they finally broke the proverbial ice with a Patrice Bergeron [1] special with 52 seconds remaining on the clock. Boston salvaged a point, but they still ended up losing a 2-1 shootout  [2]to the hated Habs at TD Garden.

The defeat allowed them to avoid their third straight shutout loss, but it still shines a glaring light over a Black and Gold offensive problem that doesn’t appear to be going away anytime soon. The last time the B’s had been shut out in three straight games? That would be way back in the Eddie Shore days of the 1929. Old Time Hockey. The B’s did win the Stanley Cup [3] that season, but something tells me lightning isn’t striking twice.

Tim Thomas [4] called it “breaking the seal” and that’s exactly what it was for a hockey gang that couldn’t shoot straight.

“We’re shooting the puck and now we have to get a bit more dirty and try and [reach] those rebounds,” said Steve Begin, who was his normal human pinball machine self against his old team. “That’s how we are going to score goals. It’s not going to be nice. It’s going to be ugly goals. It’s tough, but like I said we have to keep pushing ourselves. It’s going to happen.”

The Bruins actually looked to have ended the drought in the second period when Patrice Bergeron hustled after a loose rebound at Carey Price’s feet, and appeared to squeeze a shot through a sliver between the right post and Price’s leg pads. Bergeron was following a Sturm speed rush up the left side of the ice, and the B’s bench exhaled a large sigh of relief when the lamp went red for the first time in three games.

But a review of the goal found that Sturm — while battling with Roman Hamrlik by the right post in question — appeared to have slightly lifted the goal post just as the puck squirted past Price. Replays showed that the puck actually slid under the post after Sturm’s little lifting session. No goal and the scoreless streak was still on.

This was no case of Price standing on his head or a goaltender dazzling the B’s skaters with a flurry of show-stopping saves. Thursday night was Exhibit A of a Boston offense flailing their way through an epic struggle that would have seemed a near impossibility for last season’s goal-happy bunch.

Montreal’s only goal came in the first period when Andrei Kostitsyn took advantage of a Dennis Wideman [5] spill in the neutral zone, and flashed toward the net with the puck. Kostitsyn attempted the wraparound score, and the puck somehow found its way to Glen Metropolit waiting out in front. Metropolit slammed a shot into the vacant portion of the net, and the Habs appeared to have all the offensive firepower they would need against the offensively-challenged Bruins.

But Bergeron managed the last-second rebound goal with Zdeno Chara [6] occupying three different Canadiens defenders with his gargantuan 6-foot-9 frame in front of the Habs net, and Boston scraped together a point. Bergeron, Wheeler and Recchi all came up short in the shootout after a scoreless overtime, and Mike Cammalleri beat Thomas with a sizzling top-shelf wrister.

YOU’RE THE BEST AROUND AND NOTHING’S EVER GONNA GET YOU DOWN: Bergeron has been the best thing about the Bruins this season, and it’s no coincidence he was the player to finally snap Boston’s streak of futility. Both Bergeron and Sturm landed seven shots on net and were all over the ice in attempts to resuscitate a flatlining offense.

GOAT HORNS: Over three hours of scoreless hockey and absolutely nothing to show for three power play chances. The B’s are now fruitless in their last 20 power play tries, have scored only once in 23 attempts since Marc Savard [7] went down with his broken left foot. I’d say anybody in Thursday night’s audience is wearing the goat horns right about now if the B’s hadn’t pulled out that last-ditch goal. Dennis Wideman had another neutral zone mistake that cost the B’s a score in the first period, but the slate is officially clean after Bergeron mercifully lit the lamp.