Chad Johnson, Bruins hold off Stars in Dallas
|01.16.14 at 11:21 pm ET|
DALLAS — Jamie Benn made it interesting late, but the Bruins were able to hold on to claim a 4-2 victory at American Airlines Center Thursday night.
With the Bruins holding a 3-1 lead, Benn jammed a puck past Chad Johnson with 1:11 remaining, but the B’s escaped thanks in part to a Patrice Bergeron empty-netter and handed Dallas its seventh loss in the last eight games.
The Bruins thought they got on the board in the opening minutes when a puck bounced off Gregory Campbell‘s skate and past Kari Lehtonen, but the play was ruled no goal after replays left officials confident he had made a kicking motion.
With the two teams about to head into the third period still scoreless, David Krejci took a feed from Milan Lucic at the left circle and fired a slap shot past Lehtonen with four seconds remaining in the second. The Stars tied it on a third-period power play when a hard Tyler Seguin pass to Erik Cole went off Cole’s stick and and over Johnson’s left shoulder at 1:18. Brad Marchand tied it exactly two minutes later.
Lucic helped seal the win for the B’s when he tipped a Krejci shot in at 4:14 for the Bruins’ first power-play goal in seven games. It was Lucic’s first goal in 10 games and second goal in the last 19 games.
Johnson, who had not started a game since Dec. 19, played well for the Bruins and overcame a messy injury (see below) to stay in the game and earn the win for the B’s.
The game was the first back in Dallas for former Stars Loui Eriksson and Reilly Smith. Tyler Seguin had a pair of assists for the Stars.
It was also just Boston’s second win in the last five games, and the B’s have a tough test awaiting them as they head to Chicago to face the Blackhawks in a rematch of the 2013 Stanley Cup finals Sunday.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
— Johnson gets a few tough guy points for staying in the game after Zdeno Chara caught him in the eye with his stick and left the Bruins goalie bleeding quite a bit as he was tended to by trainer Don DelNegro. The injury occurred as Alex Chiasson was going for a wraparound, Johnson’s biggest weakness.
— Krejci’s goal gave the Bruins seven 10-goal scorers on the season. Smith continues to lead the team with 15 goals.
— With Lucic’s power-play goal, the B’s have finally pulled even on the power play over a nine game span. In the previous eight contests, they had allowed more shorthanded goals (two) than they had goals on the man advantage (one).
— Marchand now has two goals in the last two games and also drew a third-period interference penalty on Alex Gologowski at 6:05 of the third period with the Stars trying to get back in the game.
— Good work from Bergeron on Marchand’s goal, as Bergeron won a puck battle with Cole down low, allowing Marchand to swoop in to take the puck and jam it past Lehtonen.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
— The B’s have now allowed seven power-play goals over the last five games. Cole’s goal came on Dallas’ fifth power play of the night, with Bruins defensemen taking seven of the team’s eight penalties. Adam McQuaid took a game-high three penalties, while Torey Krug took two.
— Eriksson had his head down again in the neutral zone and took a big hit from Brenden Dillon in the second period. He stayed on the bench for about 6 1/2 minutes of play before returning to the ice help kill off a Johnny Boychuk delay of game penalty at 14:16. Dillon’s hit probably falls in the category of “clean hit that didn’t need to be made,” but there’s no doubt that Eriksson keeping his head down has become a recurring theme this season.
— The Bruins found themselves having to kill off a 5-on-3 late in the first period over a couple very controllable mistakes. First, after Vernon Fiddler shoved Eriksson in front of the net, Chara bumped Fiddler as he was skating by. That prompted Fiddler to cross-check Chara, and when Chara went at Fiddler to fight him, McQuaid jumped in. Perhaps McQuaid was trying to fight so Chara wouldn’t have to, but both Chara and McQuaid got roughing penalties (as did Fiddler), leaving the Bruins shorthanded.
While killing off the penalty, the B’s were called for having too many men on the ice, giving the Stars a 44-second 5-on-3 split between the end of the first period and start of the second.
Though McQuaid risked being called for third man in (which would have gotten him tossed from the game), there’s also an issue to be taken with Chara engaging with Fiddler in the first place. Given the state of the Bruins defense, there is no way Chara should take himself off the ice over Fiddler, who has just two goals this season and hasn’t had more than eight goals in a season since 2009.
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