December 11, 2013

Bruins come alive late, win in Iginla's return to Calgary

By Jesse Connolly

If you need me to explain what's going on here, you should probably just leave now. (Getty Images)

Final: Boston 2, Calgary 1

Recap: In the event you were asleep, watching the Sons of Anarchy season finale (ugh!) or perhaps decorating your Christmas tree and didn't catch this game until the third period, I have some good news: You can watch everything you missed in about four minutes flat on YouTube.

Shy of the stellar ceremony to honor Jarome Iginla before the contest and Jiri Hudler's goal in the second period, the first 40 minutes of action between the Bruins and Flames were mighty uneventful. Boston headed into the third with just nine shots to their credit. Then they came alive.

With a little over six minutes to go, David Krejci deflected a shot from the point by Torey Krug past Reto Berra. His power-play tally tied the game at one apiece. Just 98 seconds later, Reilly Smith scored the go-ahead goal, taking a feed from Ryan Spooner before skating half the length of the rink for a highlight-reel-worthy strike. A little over four minutes later, the final horn sounded, upgrading Smith's strike from the go-ahead goal to the game-winner.

Records: Boston 21-8-2, 44 points; Calgary 11-15-4, 26 points

Key Play of the Game: Smith enjoyed this goal. A lot. 

Connolly's Commendations: After sleepwalking through the first two periods, the injured-and-ill Bruins found it within themselves to make a huge push in the third. They outshot Calgary 15-5 in the final frame and were rewarded with two goals in the final few minutes of the contest. 

The goal for Smith was a bit of redemption. His turnover let to Hudler's goal in the second period. He needed just one shot on the night to make up for it.

Patrice Bergeron won 16-of-18 faceoffs nights. That is absolutely ridiculous. Given that, it seems absurd the Flames held such a noticeable edge in puck possession and shots on net in the first two periods.

The biggest salute of all goes to Zdeno Chara. The Bruins captain had the entire team come out to watch/make Iginla take a few laps around the rink at the Saddledome in his return to Calgary. Pure class all around.

Connolly's Critiques: I'd say all complaints have already been voiced.

Notes: The Bruins improved to 2-0 on their current four-game road trip. ... Johnny Boychuk returned to the lineup after missing two games with a back injury. He had one hit and one blocked shot in 21:37 of ice time. ... Krug now ranks second among all NHL rookies with 18 points. He only trails Tomas Hertl (23) of the Sharks.

Final Thoughts: After lulling the viewing audience back in Boston into a full-fledged coma, the Bruins -- a team beset by injuries and flu bugs and lord knows what else -- showed some serious resolve with their third-period comeback. Sure, it might've just been a 1-0 deficit they were facing against a team that's sitting near the bottom of the standings in the West, but they still deserve kudos for overcoming all of their own internal struggles to come out on top.

Next: The B's will now head to Edmonton, where they'll take on the Andrew Ference-captained Oilers on Thursday night.

Twitter: @JesseNEHJ