Back Check with the Bruins Buff

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Game Recap: Devils @ B's, 1/29/2009

Game #49
Boston Bruins
New Jersey Devils
Final Score: Bruins 3, Devils 4 in OT

First Period

Devils goal by J. Langenbrunner (Shorthanded)
Devils assist from T. Zajac

Second Period

Devils goal by Z. Parise (Power Play Goal)
Devils assists from J. Langenbrunner, P. Martin

Third Period

Bruins goals by C. Kobasew, M. Savard, D. Wideman
Bruins assists from P. Bergeron, A. Ference, P. Kessel (2), M. Lucic, M. Savard

Devils goal by P. Elias
Devils assists from B. Gionta, D. Oduya


Devils goal by J. Langenbrunner
Devils assists from T. Zajac, C. White

The Good

1.) They Call Him the Working Man - Chuck Kobasew

Chuck Kobasew only holds nine goals this season, but he sinks them when they matter most.

The B's went into the third period down by two goals, treading tight waters after an onslaught of shots from the Devils. Boston needed a hero on the ice, and Kobasew answered the call early in the third.

Alone in the attacking zone, Kobasew launched himself to the corner boards as the first man in on the forecheck. Devils goalie Scott Clemensen was oblivious to the tactic and carelessly played the puck toward Kobasew's stick.

Eager to take advantage of the giveaway, Chuck pounced on the puck and grinded his way to the net. He jammed the biscuit into the post, clashing sticks with the opposition in a desperate attempt to score.

The puck pinballed past Clemmensen's pads and barely crossed the goal line. After a review of the play, the refs pointed to the center of the ice and signaled a goal.

Kobasew's solid effort cut the Devils lead in half and kick started much-needed offensive pressure by the B's.

2.) Thriller Night -- Phil's Triumphant Return

Mononucleosis sidelined Phil Kessel for six games, but the winger didn't show any symptoms of the illness tonight.

The Thrill lugged more than 19 minutes of ice time, the second longest among Boston's forwards. And though he scored no goals, Kessel notched two assists in the third period and finished even on the night.

The winger brought outstanding speed and vision back to Boston's first line. He even showed off a few of his signature moves in the attacking zone.

Marc Savard looked much more comfortable tonight with a designated scorer on his wing. Look for the two to start lighting up the goal lamp this weekend.

3.) Standing on Top of the World -- Dennis Wideman

Dennis Wideman came to Boston in 2006 with a career plus/minus rating of -38. Two-and-a-half years later, and he's now at the top of the league.

Wideman potted a goal and finished +2 against the Devils tonight, bumping his season rating to +28 overall. The defenseman finished the game with a little more than 22 minutes of ice time.

Currently, the top four plus/minus ratings in the league belong to Boston players -- Wideman, Wheeler, Savard, and Krejci, respectively.

The Bad

1.) It's, It's a Byron Bitz

The injury bug struck Boston early in the new year, knocking big-bodied players like Milan Lucic out of the lineup. The B's brass needed a quick, temporary fix to fill the ice and maintain the team's physical presence.

Byron Bitz of the Providence Bruins packed his bags and drove up to Boston to play for the big club on Jan. 10. The 6'5" Saskatchewan giant turned some heads after delivering a few big hits to the Carolina Hurricanes. He topped off his NHL debut by notching his first career assist.

It was electric. So frightfully hectic.

But his initial call-up adrenaline quickly wore off. Bitz hasn't potted a point since his first game with the big club, and he's even on the year for a team that boasts its tremendous plus rating.

Bitz looked lost on the ice tonight. Slow, hesitant to move the puck, and unsure of what plays to make in the attacking zone. His hockey sense isn't up to par with the rest of the squad.

Boston doesn't need another big body now that Lucic is back from injury. It's clear that Bitz needs to head back to the Baby B's.

2.) Good Times, Bad Times -- Tim Thomas

Tim Thomas started in his seventh consecutive game tonight, stopping 26 of 30 shots and posting a .867 save percentage.

But he failed to come up with remarkable, memorable saves to keep his team in the game. The Flint Flopper played more like a fish out of water tonight than he had all season.

Timmy looked out of sorts positionally, as if he'd grown fatigued and needed to resort to pure recklessness to stop the puck. His acrobatics couldn't withstand NJ's firepower in the end.

Though Thomas led Boston to plenty of W's this season, he needs to take a breather and regain his composure. Expect B's prospect Tuukka Rask to stand between the pipes against the Rangers on Saturday.

3.) Livin' on the Edge -- Patrice Bergeron v. Faceoffs

Patrice Bergeron must've grown too comfortable playing left-wing last game.

Bergeron returned to the B's third line and played center, winning only two faceoffs on the entire night. He faced 13 draws altogether.

The rest of the team registered 67 percent at the faceoff dot. Bergeron's draw percentage simply isn't acceptable and needs be addressed in tomorrow's practice.

The Ugly

1.) Hello Darkness, My Old Friend... -- The Power Play

The Bruins went an abysmal 0-6 on the man advantage tonight. They failed to gain and maintain puck possession in the offensive zone time after time again.

NJ played a tight defensive system along the blueline to prevent the B's from rushing into the attacking zone. The Devils easily knocked the B's off of the puck and even scored a shorthanded goal in the first period.

Boston tried to adjust its special teams as the game went on, employing a dump-and-chase strategy on later power play opportunities. But the B's weren't strong enough along the boards and were moved off the puck by NJ's penalty killers.


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