January 4, 2012

Post-Game Breakdown: Bruins back in top form, burn Devils 6-1

By Jesse Connolly

Final: Boston 6, New Jersey 1

Recap: After a lackluster showing against the Stars on New Year’s Eve, the Bruins were back in top form on Wednesday night in New Jersey. The Black and Gold fellow behind 1-0 early when David Clarkson tallied on the power play, but it was all Boston from there on out. Greg Campbell and Nathan Horton tallied in the opening frame to give the B’s a 2-1 edge through 20 minutes of play.

Patrice Bergeron’s breakaway strike made it 3-1 in the second, but Boston really broke things open in the third. Bergeron buried his second of the night 2:13 into the final frame and David Krejci recorded his eighth of the season just 2:37 later to make it 5-1. Martin Brodeur yielded his sixth goal of the night when Shawn Thornton’s snap shot beat him with 5:37 to go to close out the scoring.

Records: Boston 25-10-1, 51 points; New Jersey 21-16-2, 44 points

Key Play of the Game: The Devils’ woeful power play failed to cash in on a man advantage early in the second and came within just five ticks of allowing their league-leading 13th shorthanded goal. With Horton fresh out of the box, Bergeron grabbed possession of the puck in the neutral zone and skated clear of any defenders before beating Bordeur with his patented forehand move to make it 3-1, effectively sucking the life out of the Devils and their fans at Prudential Center.

Connolly’s Commendations: The Bruins success at the dot in this one was simply mind-blowing. The B’s finished the night having won 30-of-42 (71%) faceoffs. Astounding, they’d won 20-of-22 at one point. David Krejci led the way, winning 13-of-17 on the night. Chris Kelly won all six faceoffs he took.

Milan Lucic quietly proved to be one of the Bruins top performers in the blowout win. No. 17 chipped in three assists and dished out a game-high four hits.

Claude Julien got great defense from his entire blueline corps, allowing him to limit Zdeno Chara to 21:48 of ice time. Johnny Boychuk was among those that stepped up for the club. He had a game-high rating of plus-3 and led Boston with three blocked shots.

With a pair of tallies, Bergeron now has four goals in his last seven games and 11 points in his last nine games.

Tim Thomas, though hardly tested in this one, looked a lot sharper than he did down in Dallas. No. 30 stopped 30 of 31 to earn his 17th victory.

Connolly’s Critiques: Due to the wealth of time Boston spent on the PK, Tyler Seguin saw just 11:59 of ice time. Nevertheless, No. 19 was one of just two Bruins to not put a puck on net in the win. Benoit Pouliot was the other. It’s the second time in three games that Seguin hasn’t fired a shot on goal.

Notes: Patrice Bergeron has six career goals against Brodeur, his nighest number of tallies against any one netminder. Nathan Horton now has three goals in the last calendar month (12 games), all of which have come on the road. Shawn Thornton fell an assist shy of the Gordie Howe Hat Trick, as No. 22 dropped the gloves in the opening frame and added his third goal of the season in the closing minutes.

Final Thoughts: The B’s were undeniably bad down in Dallas four nights ago, but any thoughts of them putting together a losing streak quickly vanished when it became incredibly apparent that the Devils were simply over-matched against the defending champs.

Next: The Bruins will be right back at it on Thursday night when they host Jarome Iginla and the Flames at TD Garden.