Monday, December 19, 2011

Howe Chara Got His Groove Back

Zdeno Chara returned to the Bruins lineup and his impact was felt early and often. He was challenged to a fight 2:13 into the game. He scored a goal about 6 minutes later. And he completed his fourth career Gordie Howe hat-trick 7 minutes into the 2nd. Horton was an assist shy of accomplishing the feat.

This was a big test for the Bruins, and they Aced it. The Flyers had won 7 straight, they were atop the Eastern Conference standings, and this was the team that beat the Bruins on Opening Night, partially dampening the B's banner raising celebration. The Bruins got some revenge, and made a huge statement with this win.

The B's scored with deflections and rebound goals. Seguin's was the prettiest of the bunch, and it should have been stopped by Bobrovsky. But as ugly as the goals were, they were the products of good play and puck possession. Also, the Bruins' defensemen were excellent at getting shots at net. Those either went in, were deflected, or were juicy rebounds.

I have to give Julien tons of credit for getting this team to play this well on Saturday. They were flat in Ottawa, and instead of coming to Boston, then going to Philly, the B's stayed in Ontario. Claude gave the team a day off. I'm sure some guys relaxed, some guys went out and blew off some steam. But they all came back reinvigorated.

The Bruins had a full hour of penalties. That's bound to happen in a game against a rival like Philadelphia with a lopsided score. Horton's fighting major means that 10 different Bruins have dropped the gloves this season. That's more than half the skaters on the team.

Lucic got a boarding major, and it was a dirty hit. Thankfully everyone was okay, but I think a suspension is in order. It was a classic case of a defenseless player being checked between the numbers and into the boards.

Tim Thomas recorded his 30th career shutout and 4th of the season. He made some brilliant saves throughout the game. We all know the Tim Thomas story, but it's worth repeating. Drafted in 1994, didn't make his first start until January of 2006, didn't get his first shutout until later that month, and he now has 30. If Dominek Hasek and Martin Brodeur somehow had a son, and he was a late-bloomer, his name would be Tim Thomas.

The Bruins are now on top of the Conference, a month after being stuck in the bottom. They host the Canadiens tonight. Montreal is reeling, having lost 8 of their last 11. They also just fired their coach. This is a good chance to improve the Bruins' already impressive 9-2 divisional record.

Photo Credit:
AP Photo

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