BOSTON (CBS) – You can call this one the Bruins’ “Bizarro” victory.
At least that’s what I’m calling it.
Through nearly 59 minutes of hockey in Ottawa Thursday night, the only Bruins goal was scored by Daniel Paille. While that might not be as rare this season as in past years, it was weird to see the Bruins’ fourth line suddenly become their third line. The trio of Jay Pandolfo, Ryan Spooner and Jordan Caron all played less than nine minutes, while Paille, Shawn Thornton and Gregory Campbell all saw increases in their recent playing time.
Then with just a few ticks before the game’s final minute, Dennis Seidenberg scored the game-winner – his first goal in 30 games. The Bruins hung on for the 2-1 win, which was their 10th straight victory on the Senators’ home ice.
Boston’s goal-scorers weren’t the only things contributing to this backwards victory. For once the Bruins weren’t leading entering the third period, so there was no last-stanza lead to blow.
Rich Peverley, one of the Bruins’ go-to guys the last couple seasons, was sat out in favor of the rookie Spooner. That seemed odd considering there were better candidates among Pandolfo and Caron, but Bruins coach Claude Julien obviously wanted to send a message to the slumping Peverley, who scored just one goal in his last 10 games.
Julien started the night with the unorthodox decision to turn to goaltender Anton Khudobin to stop the Bruins’ two-game losing streak. While it was probably the Bruins backup’s turn to start, one might’ve expected Julien to give Tuukka Rask a chance for redemption after consecutive defeats and a soft game-losing goal last game in Winnipeg.
Boston’s “Dr. Khu” rewarded the coach and he had the cure for the Bruins’ ills with 27 saves, including some big ones at the end of the first two periods that could’ve shifted momentum all the way in Ottawa’s favor.
There’s no doubt the Bruins have to play better. But sometimes earning two points without your best effort can be a boon. At least in this case, a victory might calm down some of the calls for general manager Peter Chiarelli to mortgage the future and add a broken-down old winger or two. That would be a “Bizarro” move if there ever was one by Chiarelli.
So now the Bruins can look for improvement against the other Ontario team they consistently own, the Toronto Maple Leafs. A Superman effort might be required prevail in Toronto, but for now the Bruins can relish being on Bizarro’s side.