BOSTON – We all know how Jaroslav Halak can carry a team after leading the Montreal Canadiens in their playoff run last season. Of course he’s been doing the same thing with his new team, the St. Louis Blues, who acquired the Slovakian netminder during the off-season.
Coming into tonight’s game against the Bruins at TD Garden, Halak had a shutout streak going of 100:03. The last time he had let up a goal was a week ago against the Atlanta Thrashers when Niclas Bergfors got one past him at 19:57 of the first period.
That streak lasted until the 13:00 mark in the third period when Gregory Campbell took a feed from Michael Ryder and beat Halak top shelf to tie the game at 1-1.
However, Halak would bounce back as the Blues came away with a well-deserved 2-1 victory.
“We were up almost the entire game and we tried to close it up there but we couldn’t quite get it done in regulation,” Halak said about the win. “It was a great thing to see that we didn’t give up and we kept skating hard.
“That was a big win for us. They have a great power play at home and we didn’t give them many chances.”
The Blues killed off all four Bruin power plays, including one that came after Campbell’s goal late in the third period. They also had a bit of luck too, as Nathan Horton had several chances throughout the game and hit the crossbar on a couple of occasions and even had the luck of instant replay go against him twice.
“I thought he played a great game tonight,” said head coach Claude Julien about Horton’s performance. “It’s unfortunate that our guys tonight were hitting a lot of posts and none of them were going in the right direction. I thought we were a bit snake bitten tonight.”
Two former Bruins – Vladimir Sobotka and Brad Boyes – also chipped in to the Blues’ victory.
Sobotka would give his new team a lift in the first period when Blues forward Alexander Steen gathered the puck off a Dennis Seidenberg turnover and fed Vladdy for his first goal of the season at 16:40.
After a scoreless overtime, Boyes was called upon as the second shooter in the shootout. Boyes would respond to Tyler Seguin’s goal – which came after TJ Oshie scored the first goal in the bonus session – as he beat Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask with a nifty deke short side. The Bruins’ last hope, Ryder, nearly extended the shootout, but his shot hit the post and the Blues sealed the victory.
“Both guys played well,” said Blues coach Davis Payne about Boyes and Sobotka (Payne was a former Bruin himself). “Vladdy had the goal and Boyes had a couple of good scoring chances in the game and capitalized on the shootout. There’s always a little extra juice when you play your old team and it feels good to beat them for sure.”
After playing three games in four nights, including tonight’s second game of a back to back, the Bruins (7-3-1) will have a couple of days to rest before they play three games in four nights again for the second straight week. It all begins Wednesday when they travel to Pittsburgh to face the Penguins before coming back for two straight home games against the Habs on Thursday and the Ottawa Senators on Saturday.
Meanwhile the Blues (8-1-2) will travel to Madison Square Garden tomorrow night to take on the Rangers. The Blues will finish off their three-game road trip Wednesday night in Columbus against the Blue Jackets before returning home to play the Predators on Thursday.