January 29, 2013

Postgame Breakdown: Rested Rask shines in shootout win

By Jesse Connolly

Tuukka Rask stopped Marek Zidlicky, the Devils' final shooter in the shootout, to seal the deal for the Bruins. (Getty Images)

Final: Boston 2, New Jersey 1 (SO)

Recap: After a scoreless opening frame, the Devils went on their second of five power plays on the night with 7:22 gone in the second period. David Clarkson tipped a Marek Zidlicky shot past Tuukka Rask 68 seconds later, giving the visitors a 1-0 lead.

The B’s finally picked up the pace in the third, peppering Johan Hedberg with 13 shots. The one Nathan Horton sent his way with 4:05 to go knotted things up.

After an uneventful extra session, a six-round shootout ensued in which Brad Marchand buried the winning strike.

Records: Boston 5-0-1, 11 points; New Jersey 3-0-2, 8 points

Key Play of the Game: The Krejci line did it again tonight in the third period. Milan Lucic sent a nice, smooth pass along the offense blue line to the Czech pivot, who promptly dished it to his right to Horton. His wrister made it 1-1 and ended Hedberg’s shutout bid.

Connolly’s Commendations: As far as I’m concerned, this was Rask’s most impressive showing of the season thus far. He was tested countless times and came up big repeatedly – including on a nice kick/toe save on winger Ryan Carter, who was right on the doorstep, and in the shootout when he came way out and sprawled to thwart Travis Zajac.

Patrice Bergeron was the B’s top offensive force for most of the evening. He led the visibly-tired club with four shots on net.

Nice job by a pair of lefty defenders in Andrew Ference and Dennis Seidenberg. The two combined for 11 hits on the night.

Kudos to Shawn Thornton who, when faced with dropping the gloves and squaring off with Krys Barch, seems to come out victorious every single time. He did so again in the first period, tuning up the former Panther – notably with a couple late, thunderous lefts.

Connolly’s Critiques: No points for the third line. Again. Julien mixed in Greg Campbell in Chris Bourque’s place on a few shifts, including with the game tied late in the third.

Notes: The Bruins have now won five straight against the Devils. Tyler Seguin was successful in two shootout attempts tonight, as the winger was forced into a do-over after a fan chucked debris onto the ice. Aaron Johnson remained in the lineup in Adam McQuaid’s place.

Final Thoughts: This one was a full-fledged snoozer at various points until the B’s finally shifted into gear and began to get things going in the third. After playing in Carolina the night prior, Boston needed a rested Rask to carry the load, and No. 40 did just that.

Next: The B’s will host Ryan Miller and the Sabres on Thursday night.

Twitter: @JesseNEHJ
Email: jconnolly@hockeyjournal.com