Thursday, March 27, 2008
After essentially knocking out the Maple Leafs from the playoff picture with a 6-2 win on Tuesday, the Bruins had a chance to make it mathematically official with a regulation win at home. The Bruins also needed a win to stay one step ahead of the 9th place Washington Capitals. And that's exactly what they got.
A brisk first period (which included a 12 minute stretch of whistle free hockey) ended 1-0 thanks to Marco Sturm, who netted his 26th of the season. David Krejci got the only assist, but Glen Murray deserved a nod as well. Sturm was the trailing man of the three Bruin forwards, and Murray's drive toward the net freed up Sturm on the wing, allowing him to score.
The Leafs came back with a strong second period effort, outshooting the Bruins 18 to 11. Jiri "Spell Check" Tlusty beat Tim Thomas to tie the game at 1-1.
The Bruins kicked it up a notch in the second, creating breakaway after breakaway. Kessel got in behind the defense thanks to some length of the ice passing behind him. All alone with just the goalie to beat, Kessel tapped home the go ahead goal. A few minutes later, Glen Murray added some insurance, making it 3-1.
The Leafs made it interesting when Krejci was called for a bogus hold, and Pavel Kubina scored from the right wing on a shot Thomas could have probably saved. Toronto goalie Vesa Toskola got an assist on the play, his 5th of the season, which I think is just a cool stat for some reason.
But the Bruins responded right away. Twenty-three seconds later, Peter Shaefer's shot deflected past Toskola to make it a 4-2 game.
The Bruins now sit in 7th place, tied in points with the Flyers at 88, but holding the head-to-head tie-breaker. The Senators come to town on Saturday, and the B's fly to Buffalo to play a game on Sunday.
The Capitals kept pace with the Bruins thanks to a 4-3 win in overtime against Tampa Bay. Washington has a pretty weak schedule for their remaining 5 games. But if the Bruins get 7 more points, they'll be in the playoffs no matter what.
AP Photo/Winslow Townson