February 2, 2013

Postgame Breakdown: Bourque's breakthrough all B's need

By Jesse Connolly

Teammates surround Chris Bourque (Boxford, Mass.) after the winger buried his first goal as a Bruin. (Getty Images)

Final: Boston 1, Toronto 0

Recap: Well, this’ll be the easiest recap of the 2013 season. Lane MacDermid (Hartford, Conn.) and Mark Fraser got into a spirited fight (their first of two bouts in this one) at the 2:42 mark, with each nailing a number of right hooks.

At 8:54 of the first period, Chris Bourque drove to the net and was the recipient of a perfect, backhanded saucer pass by Chris Kelly. Bourque buried his first goal as a Bruin, giving Boston a lead they’d never relinquish.

It was also a lead they’d never build upon. Toronto put just seven pucks on net in each of the three periods, all of which were gobbled up by Tuukka Rask, who notched his first shutout of the season in the 1-0 win.

Records: Boston 6-1-1, 13 points; Toronto 4-4-0, eight points

Key Play of the Game: Bourque’s goal was damn near the only noteworthy/consequential play in the entire contest. Scroll back up if you’re forgetful or something and want to read about it again.

Connolly’s Commendations: We’ll do the gentlemanly thing and first commend James Reimer for his impressive performance. He stopped 33-of-34 a year after owning a 6.60 goals-against average in two starts against Boston.

Great job by Johnny Boychuk in 22:28 of action. No. 55 had a game-high five blocked shots, two of which came in a nine-second span midway through the second period, thwarting Phil Kessel and Dion Phaneuf.

Connolly’s Critiques: Phenomenal effort by the referees to take center stage this evening. Both the Leafs and Bruins had goals disallowed (the latter of which was curiously reviewed) due to goalie interference. In the third, Chris Lee and Ian Walsh handed out five minor penalties, including a Downy soft slashing call on Tyler Seguin.

Notes: How’s this for a funny coincidence: Benoit Pouliot started out the 2011-12 season as the B’s new third line left winger and went pointless in his first eight games. He was a healthy scratch three times then scored his first goal of the season when inserted back into the lineup. Bourque, who’s filling the void left by Pouliot on the third line, went six games without a point, was scratched once and scored in his first game back in action. Bourque took Brad Marchand’s place on the second line after No. 63 left the game due to what looked like a shoulder injury.

Final Thoughts: Tonight’s tilt in Toronto had that “Wait, it’s the third period already?” feel to it. The Leafs spent a pretty good chunk of time in the offensive zone, but Boston blocked 22 shots (compared to 12 for the Leafs). The B’s lead just never felt in jeopardy, which certainly isn’t a bad thing after they got lit up by Buffalo on Thursday.

Next: The Bruins now get a well-deserved three-day breather. They’ll head to Montreal to take on the Canadiens Wednesday night.

Twitter: @JesseNEHJ
Email: jconnolly@hockeyjournal.com