The Boston Bruins have had a great week, clinching a playoff seed and gaining wins against two tough teams.
With five points gained in the last six days, there were certainly a lot of great moments to choose from, but what were the best?
Number Five- Tim Thomas’ First Period vs Blackhawks
One of the Bruins wins this week was their 3-0 win over the Chicago Blackhawks on Wednesday night. They came out sharp and played well until the end, something they haven’t really done all season. There was no scoring in that first period, but both teams were zipping up and down the ice with plenty of scoring chances.
And this is exactly why Thomas should be the Vezina winner. Even though the Bruins did not score, Thomas kept the pace alive by stopping the Blackhawks, one after one, and sure enough the Bruins broke through the next period and earned the win for their star goaltender. Thomas had a total of 32 saves vs the former champions, but that first period was what helped the Bruins pick up a victory.
Number Four- Zdeno Chara’s Goal vs Blackhawks
Since the Max Pacioretty incident, Chara has picked up 11 points, including three assists vs the Canadiens last Thursday. Chara has been on a monster tear since the incident, and you have to wonder if it has anything to do with Mark Recchi.
Recchi’s comments questioning the injury to Pacioretty were made as a smoke screen to Chara, and it worked. The talk switched gears to Recchi’s comments compared to Chara’s actual hit. Did it help Chara stay focused? We will never know, but one thing is for sure. The Bruins are happy to see Chara has not changed his game, and he continues to be the same player, and maybe even better.
Number Three- Nathan Horton’s Goal vs Blackhawks
The Bruins were already ahead 2-0 vs Chicago when Horton scored his goal, but it was just such a nice goal it made the list. Horton has stepped up in the last month to help the Bruins clinch a playoff spot, and it’s goals like this doing it.
Horton’s goal to seal the game was a fancy deke move to surprise Chicago goalie Corey Crawford out of his shoes.
Horton is known for his wrist shot, but moves like this on the goaltender also make him a complete player. Horton has also been throwing the body around and playing good defense, and he knows he is a player the Bruins need.
Number Two- Brad Marchand’s Goal vs Philadelphia
Marchand’s game-winning goal in the third period vs the Flyers Sunday night was the one that got them into the playoffs. It was also Marchand’s 20th goal of the season, a plateau no one expected. The goal was also a power play goal, one of two on the night for Boston.
The goal with 3:43 left in the game put it away for Boston and gave them a 2-1 lead over the enemy Flyers. It also improved the Bruins record to 3-0-1 vs Philadelphia this season.
Number One- Bruins Clinch Playoffs vs Old Foe
How could this not be number one?
The Bruins were bumped in last year’s playoffs to this same time, so it’s just right they also clinch vs them. The Bruins went into Wells Fargo Center Sunday night and stole a win from the Flyers to clinch a berth in the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Marchand and Horton scored in the game, igniting a formerly stagnant power play.
The reason this is number one, aside from the obvious, is the power play. Since Tomas Kaberle has entered the Bruins lineup, the power play has not improved as expected. In fact, it has been worse. But if the Bruins power play can be on, they might be the most dangerous team in the playoffs.