BOSTON – The Boston Bruins treated the Beantown faithful with some Thanksgiving night hockey, an occurrence that is seldom seen across the National Hockey League in general. This was a great way to cap off the holiday festivities and an even better way to take a breather from watching football.
As all of the Black Friday lines shifted from the retail stores to Causeway Street, the Bruins wasted little time getting back to work just one day removed from a tough 3-1 loss at the hands of the Ottawa Senators.
The B’s hosted the Calgary Flames this past Friday night for the second game of a back-to-back set. Prior to puck drop, the Bruins resided in 9th place in the Eastern Conference and out of the playoff picture.
Traditionally, the TD Garden has never been a favorable place to play for Calgary; the Bruins have held the Flames to only one road win in Boston in the last several seasons. Does anyone remember that epic 9-0 shellacking a number of years ago?
This is the first matchup between these two teams this season. Both teams were coming into this game having put together some decent performances over the last couple weeks. At the same time, Boston and Calgary have been undermanned in key spots of the lineup. With prolific goal scorer Johnny Gaudreau sidelined for the Flames and David Pastrnak bouncing back the previous night in Ottawa with the lone Boston goal, the B’s were looking to capitalize on the situation.
Anton Khudobin (recalled from Providence) was between the pipes for the Black and Gold on this night, as he opposed Chad Johnson in the goaltending matchup. There were no other personnel changes to the Bruins lineup.
In the first period, the Flames had the Bruins scrambling early. With puck possession and scoring chances heavily favoring the opposition, the B’s had their work cut out for them. Nothing was really clicking in any way and it seemed as if they were content on just playing the simplest form of hockey. Calgary broke the scoreless tie after Sam Bennett split the defense and rushed in to put the puck past Khudobin. The Bruins were outshot 12-5 through the first 20 minutes as the scoring opportunities down at the other end were slim pickings thanks to Johnson.
“When you play the night before, it is going to take you a while to find your game,” said head coach Claude Julien after the game. “You have to take the first period out of the equation because we got off to a real slow start.”
There was a point almost midway through the game where the Bruins, technically, put the puck in the net off the stick of Patrice Bergeron. However, the call was overturned due to goaltender interference against Brad Marchand.
“I did not think it should have been called back,” said Julien regarding the controversial non-goal call. “They stepped in front of our forecheck all night and he is allowed to push the defenseman for space. It is frustrating because it is never the same call twice.”
As the second period progressed, play began to slow down from both teams. Calgary was wearing the B’s down defensively by driving the puck to the net. At the same time, Boston was settling for one timers near the top of the zone. Despite a handful of bursts, not much took place in what turned out to be a stalemate of a period.
In the third period, the Bruins exploded with 20 shots on net. Johnson, who had been great all game long denying second chances, left the puck in the crease allowing Pastrnak to blast home his 12th goal of the season. Just as it seemed the B’s had momentum on their side, the Flames reclaimed the lead on a goal by Alex Chiasson. That turned out to be the deciding goal.
“We came out and played much better in the second and third period,” said Kevan Miller. “We have to bury some of the chances that we did have. We just have to be better.”
The Flames took this game by a final score of 2-1 as the Bruins now fall to 11-10-0 on the season. Khudobin finished the night with 27 saves.
“It felt good to get back on the ice,” said Khudobin. “I wish I could have stopped that first goal, but it was a real good shot. You have to give them credit.”
The Bruins will play their next game on Sunday afternoon when they host the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Lineup for 11/25 vs. CGY
Brad Marchand-Patrice Bergeron-David Pastrnak
Ryan Spooner-David Krejci-David Backes
Matt Beleskey-Riley Nash-Austin Czarnik
Tim Schaller-Dominic Moore-Jimmy Hayes
John-Michael Liles-Brandon Carlo
Torey Krug-Adam McQuaid
Joe Morrow-Kevan Miller
Side Notes…Frank Vatrano has started to skate with the team and is aiming for a return to game action by late-December…Zdeno Chara has missed the last two games with a lower-body injury he sustained this past Tuesday night against the St. Louis Blues…Sean Kuraly has been assigned to Providence after skating in five games with Boston…Jimmy Hayes entered this game just five points shy of his 100th NHL point…The Bruins entered Friday night having not allowed a power-play goal in their last five games.