Jarome Iginla scores 2, Reilly Smith ends slump as Bruins win 9th straight
|03.17.14 at 10:03 pm ET|
Reilly Smith ended his 15-game goal drought and the Bruins extended their winning streak to nine games with a 4-1 win over the Wild on Monday night at TD Garden.
Jarome Iginla opened the scoring in the second period with a deflected shot that sailed — slowly — through the legs of Minnesota goaltender Darcy Kuemper. Loui Eriksson extended the lead to 2-0 when he finished off a remarkable play from Carl Soderberg (see below), but Jason Pominville beat Tuukka Rask on a partial breakaway with less than a minute and a half left in the second to bring Minnesota within one.
Smith provided the much-needed insurance goal in the third, getting to the front of the net and putting the rebound of a Patrice Bergeron shot past Kuemper. Iginla made it 4-1 with an empty-net goal. With the goal, Iginla increased his team-leading total to 25 on the season.
With the win, the Bruins extended their lead over the Penguins for first place in the Eastern Conference to five points, though the B’s have played 68 games to Pittsburgh’s 67.
Boston played the game without Johnny Boychuk, who is day-to-day and wasn’t able to skate Monday due to a lower-body injury.
The Bruins will travel to New Jersey to face the Devils Tuesday for the second game of their fourth back-to-back this month.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
— Soderberg put on a one-man show on Eriksson’s goal. After picking off the puck at the top of the offensive zone with Minnesota trying to clear, he went down low and wheeled around the net before sending a backhand pass to Eriksson to set up the backdoor goal. Attribute it to whatever you want — the fact that he’s playing center, that he’s gaining experience or that he’s just more confident — but the bottom line is he has been really, really good of late.
— You always want puck luck, and that’s just what Iginla got on his first goal, which was essentially the hockey equivalent of an underhand throw.
— The Bruins once again didn’t trail in the game. They haven’t trailed at all in the last five games and haven’t allowed a first-period goal in the last eight games.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
— The Bruins have been giving up a lot of breakaways of late, and though there were no clean breaks, Pominville’s goal came on a partial breakaway that came off an offensive zone faceoff for the Bruins. After Patrice Bergeron won the draw, Brad Marchand was unable to settle puck and almost took a falling Ryan Suter‘s skate to the face. Suter kept his balance enough to spring Pominville, who outraced Andrej Meszaros and beat Rask, with Meszaros’ attempted poke check resulting in Pominville’s stick breaking.
— Speaking of Meszaros, he and Matt Bartkowski were paired together, and by the looks of it shouldn’t be paired together too often down the road. Though both picked up assists on Iginla’s goal, they were beaten too often, including when Mikko Koivu breezed past Bartkowski in the offensive zone before being stopped by a stick save from Rask in the first period.