Thornton, Line Changes Wake Up Bruins
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BOSTON (CBS) – Going to a Boston Bruins-Toronto Maple Leafs game is the equivalent of heading to Fenway Park only to find out that Tim Wakefield is pitching… again.
A part of you feels disappointed; maybe slightly indifferent. But just as you think you’re in for a meaningless night, Wake throws a no-hitter.
Terrible analogy, I know. The Point is, with a 2-4 start this season, now is not the time to discount any games. Last night, the Bruins surely didn’t.
All it took was a 6-2 win to prove it.
With the lines mixed up beyond recognition and a returning David Krejci, the team made sure to put their miserable performance against Carolina behind them. The spark was lit within the first two minutes by none other than Shawn Thornton, dropping the gloves and igniting the team.
“If the team needs it then I have no problem doing it. And I thought it might have been able to get us going and turn things the other way,” Thornton said after the win. “There’s a few times I guess in the first six games where I felt the same way and couldn’t find someone. But that happens through the course of the season. I wasn’t hitting the panic button like you guys.”
From there, the energy radiated throughout the building. There were positive moments to draw from but, as usual, there were flaws as well. Here are the pros and cons of last night’s game:
Shaking Things Up
In case you missed it, here were the line combinations last night. Marchand, Bergeron and Horton. Lucic, Kelly and Seguin. Krejci, Peverly and Pouliout. Thornton, Paille and Campbell. Needless to say, the change worked. The Lucic line in particular played with a chemistry rarely seen on this team.
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The combinations seemed to develop an offensive rhythm that paralleled some of the most skilled teams in the league; example being, Seguin’s and Lucic’s 2 on 1 goal in the first period. Even when they didn’t score, the flow of the game seemed significantly better. If they’re able to maintain this particular style of play, the Boston Bruins should return to prominence.
Powerful Power Play
Last night the power play was 2-for-5. That’s 40-percent!!! An astoundingly high number in comparison to their recent efforts. One particular player who proved to be an absolute necessity on the ice was Zdeno Chara. Last year, his “power shot” style of play began to aggravate many Bruins fans. As well it should have, considering the fact that it rarely produced any results. This year is different. With players like Seguin, Horton and Krejci by his side, the potential of open gaps and goalie screens has significantly increased. The PP unit is once again able to produce a rhythm that allows Chara’s shot to find the net. Last night he was able to assist Horton and score a goal during the man advantage.
On Thursday night, the playoff MVP returned. The reactionary, skilled, unorthodox goalie performance was back on display for all to see. Sure, he missed 2 shots but the 26 that were stopped demonstrated an ability that few goalies possess. His keen sense to find the puck and instantaneously react places him as a top goaltender in the NHL. With little evidence of slowing down, Thomas will definitely be able to steal a few games for the Black and Gold this year; hopefully he won’t need to.
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There are a few things to consider though. The win over the Leaf’s was definitely an improvement from their previous performances but the team’s inability to put together a full 60 minutes remains an issue. The six goals seem to be overshadowing the fact that the second period was poorly played. The Bruins were out shot, played sloppy and scored a total of zero goals. Furthermore, by the time Bergeron put the puck in the net mid-way through the third period, the Maple Leafs simply gave up. That won’t always be the case with other teams.
Overall the Bruins played a well and were able to bounce back from Tuesday night’s undisciplined performance. If they can just put together a full game effort, this team will be hard to stop.
Follow Mark Feldman on Twitter @mfsports21