December 17, 2013

Chara, Rask lead Bruins to bounce-back win over Flames

By Jesse Connolly

Zdeno Chara celebrates his second power-play goal of the game against Calgary. (Getty Images)

Final: Boston 2, Calgary 0

Recap: After a blatant high-sticking of Zdeno Chara was inexplicably missed, Lance Bouma was whistled for the same infraction, with Kevan Miller on the receiving end for this go-round 5:23 into the first period. With Bouma in the box for four minutes, Boston tallied on the second half of the man advantage, as Chara got vengeance with his eighth tally of the season.

After a scoreless and penalty-less second period that saw Reto Berra stand on his head (15 saves), the Bruins went on the power play thanks to -- yep, you've read this before -- Bouma high-sticking Miller early in the third.

And -- what do you know? -- Chara scored another power-play goal to make it 2-0. Tuukka Rask stopped all eight shots he faced in the final frame, nailing down the shutout.

Records: Boston 23-9-2, 48 points; Calgary 13-16-5, 31 points

Key Play of the Game: We'd have to travel back to the day Bouma was absent from hockey school and missed the lesson on high-sticking. Those two incidents led to all of the scoring tonight.

Connolly's Commendations: The B's needed someone to step up after their dismal loss in Vancouver Saturday. Fittingly, their captain led the charge. Chara's two strikes puts him up to nine goals on the year, tying him with Erik Karlsson for the league lead among defensemen.

Speaking of bouncing back, Rask's shutout was a cakewalk after being challenged early on in the contest, but he still deserved kudos after being pulled against the Canucks. He stopped all 21 of the Flames' shots.

David Krejci and former Flame Jarome Iginla assisted on each of Chara's goals. They've combined for 12 points in the last five games.

Connolly's Critiques: Carl Soderberg was the lone forward that didn't put a shot on goal. Shame on him! Or something.

Notes: For Rask, that was shutout No. 19 of his NHL career. ... The Flames haven't scored a goal in Boston since 2006, though this trip went a little better than their 9-0 loss last time they came to TD Garden. ... Craig Cunningham made his NHL debut, with Matt Fraser sitting due to an undisclosed injury or illness. Cunningham had four shots in 8:16 of ice time.

Final Thoughts: It was a little dull at times and pretty business-like, but the Bruins did enough to dispatch an inferior Flames squad and extend their point streak at home, where they're now 11-0-2 in the past 13 games.

Next: The Bruins will face the Sabres on Thursday night in Buffalo.

Twitter: @JesseNEHJ