Back Check with the Bruins Buff

Monday, February 2, 2009

B's @ Canadiens Recap, 2/1/2009

Game #51
(1) Boston Bruins
(4) Montreal Canadiens
Final Score: Bruins 3, Canadiens 1

First Period

Montreal goal by R. Lang (power play goal)
Montreal assists from A. Markov, A. Kostitsyn

Boston goal by D. Wideman (unassisted)

Second Period

Boston goal by S. Thornton Boston assists from B. Bitz, S. Yelle

Third Period

Boston goal by M. Savard (empty netter, unassisted)

The Good

1.) Call of the Wild -- Shawn Thornton

Thornton jerseys are back in style in Boston. And they're not sporting #19.

The B's signed tough-guy Shawn Thornton last season to stir the pot and get under the opposition's skin. He's done just that and much more.

A little more than one minute into yesterday's game, Thornton dropped the gloves with Habs newbie Alex Henry. With a few jabs and an uppercut, Thornton gave the recent Canadiens call-up a clinic in Hockey Fighting 101.

But his rampage didn't end there. Thanks to hardhat effort along the boards, the fan favorite lit up Habs goaltender Carey Price in the second period. With the go-ahead goal, the enforcer notched his fifth tally of the year.

Prior to this season, Thornton only recorded eight goals in five NHL seasons.

2.) For Whom the Buzzer Tolls - Dennis Wideman

In 2005, Dennis Wideman played his first NHL season with the St. Louis Blues. The defenseman recorded an embarrassing plus/minus rating of -31 and only scored eight goals. He didn't improve much in his second season, either.

But what a different three years can make.

Thanks to a tying goal against Montreal in the first period, Wideman bumped his league-leading plus/minus rating to +30. And he's only two goals shy of passing his career high of 13.

The goal came with .6 seconds left in the period. Wideman shot with perfect poise, slapping the puck past Price and into the corner shelf of the goal.

Wideman also lugged a little more than 24 minutes of ice time yesterday, second only to Zdeno Chara.

Not bad for an eighth-round draft pick.

The Bad

1.) Things Fall Apart - The Power Play

Boston's power play woes didn't end yesterday afternoon. The Black and Gold went a dismal 0-4 on the man advantage, and they've only scored one power play goal in their last 12 opportunities.

Don't be surprised to see Coach Julien shake up his special teams formations. Patrice Bergeron manning the point has been ineffective, seeing as he doesn't pass nor shoot as well from that area of the ice. Look for him to slide down and start working the corner boards soon.

Also expect bigger bodies down low to clear the crease and screen the goalie. Not a guy like Chara, since his bomb of a shot is more effective from the point. But Milan Lucic and maybe even Byron Bitz could wreak some havoc down low if given the opportunity.

2.) The Fellowship of the Ping - Kessel, Ryder, Wheeler

Where have all the scorers gone? Aside from hitting pucks off posts and the side of the net.

Apparently, a few of Boston's top players went into hibernation. Phil Kessel, Michael Ryder, and Blake Wheeler haven't potted a goal since before the All-Star break. No doubt, there's a connection between this and the B's three one-goal games last week.

Supplementary scoring from third- and fourth-liners can only help for so long. Somebody needs to wake these sleeping bears if the B's are to keep their winning ways.

The Ugly

1.) The Diving, The Convicts , and The Wardrobe

Where's Waldo? Apparently, the Habs know.

Montreal players sported vintage jerseys from 1912 yesterday afternoon. The outdated rags -- lined with red, white, and blue stripes -- were sore on the eyes and caused a glare for the cameras.

It may possibly be the ugliest jersey ever worn in a professional sport. Maybe even worse than the Los Angeles Kings' atrocious 1981 home jersey.

Thin Lizzy's "Jailbreak" came to mind every time a Hab touched the puck.


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