December 13, 2013

Bruins jump on Oilers early, barely hang on for victory

By Jesse Connolly

It's not often you can get two stars of the game in one convenient photo, but there Chad Johnson and Dennis Seidenberg are, just chillin' with The Nuge. (Getty Images)

Final: Boston 4, Edmonton 2

Recap: After putting just nine pucks on net in the first 40 minutes against Calgary, the B's hit that total by the midway point of the first period in Edmonton. Boston took a 1-0 lead at the 10:25 mark, as Dennis Seidenberg came from the hash marks of the defensive zone up through neutral ice and then wristed a softie past Devan Dubnyk from just inside the blue line on the left wing.

Less than six minutes later, Seidenberg came down low and set up Jarome Iginla for a slapper that found its way past a screened Dubnyk. Edmonton went on the power play late in the frame, but Patrice Bergeron set up Brad Marchand on a shorthanded odd-man rush. No. 63's goal made it 3-0. Dubnyk hit the showers.

The Oilers made it 3-1 early in the second on a goal from David Perron. The first-line winger struck again with 2:33 to go until the second intermission, as Chad Johnson fell asleep on Perron's wraparound, giving him an open left side of the net to deposit the puck into.

Speaking of being asleep, I guess thats the lone way to describe the B's for, basically, the entirety of the third. The Oilers outshot the Black and Gold 13-3, but the only puck to find twine was an empty-netter from Iginla with 44 seconds left in the contest.

Records: Boston 22-8-2, 46 points; Edmonton 11-19-3, 25 points

Key Play of the Game: Incredible job by all involved on Boston's PK. Their most importat kill began with 3:08 to go and was the ultimate bend-but-don't-break sequence, as Johnson and Co. found a way to keep the Oilers from knotting things up.

Connolly's Commendations: Speaking of that Johnson guy, if you take out the doozie he allowed to Perron late in the second, the B's backup netminder was nothing short of spectacular. He finished with a career-high 39 saves, stopping all 13 shots he faced in the final frame.

Three cheers for Seidenberg, who took first-star honors in this one. The German rearguard was plus-2, had two points, three hits and four blocked shots. One of those blocks may or may not have been credited to the defenseman when he took a puck straight to the face in the third. To the surprise of no one, No. 44 finished the game.

Looks like the first line is kick-starting a hot streak. Krejci picked up two assists, giving him six points in the last four games. Iginla now has three goals in the last three games.

Connolly's Critiques: The Bruins are winning without a lot of their key cogs, but their replacements have been pretty quiet through the first three games of the road trip. Ryan Spooner had an assist Tuesday in Calgary, and Kevan Miller's played well on the blue line, but it's to hard to point to any tangible that Jordan Caron, Matt Fraser or recent call-up Nick Johnson have done yet to contribute. They haven't hurt the B's, but none of them have seized the moment.

Notes: Iginla now has 36 career goals against the Oilers. ... Torey Krug had a season-low 12:19 of ice time. ... Former Bruin Andrew Ference led the Oilers with three blocked shots. He finished plus-1, as the lone goal he was on the ice for was Perron's second tally. ... Perron became the first Oiler to score two goals at home against Boston since December 2005. Fernando Pisani beat Hannu Toivonen twice that night in an eventual 5-4 win for the Bruins.

Final Thoughts: This game was virtually a reversal of the script the B's wrote in Calgary. Instead of bucking up and coming back in the third, the Bruins laid down their swords and gave Edmonton countless chances to earn a point. Thankfully, Johnson was there to bail them out.

Next: The Bruins will now travel to Vancouver to face the Canucks on Saturday night.

Twitter: @JesseNEHJ