BOSTON – They simply had to have this one. The Boston Bruins got their best player back at last – Patrice Bergeron — and got their ship pointed in the right direction with a badly needed 6-3 win over Vancouver.
With Tuukka Rask laid low by a concussion, Anton Khudobin stepped into the breach and stopped 26 shots. The scrambly Russian may not inspire a ton of confidence, but a win is a win is a win. The Bruins are going to need more of the same from Khudobin while Rask is out.
Here are three quick hits from the game.
BERGERON! BERGERON! BERGERON!
What can you say about the superstar center that hasn’t been said before in his 900-game NHL career? Without him, the Bruins stumble to a 2-3 start with some losses against eminently beatable opponents. He returns from injury and Boston rolls to a win behind his goal and three assists.
Afterward, coach Bruce Cassidy had a nice take on the value of Bergeron beyond goals and assists: “I think it’s just morale as much as anything, on the bench and in the room. Those intangibles, leadership. First shift of the game, he’s standing up. They had scored a goal and (Bergeron is) kind of settling the troops down, talking about the details of the game. Finishing your routes on the forecheck, reloading all the way to our zone. Stuff that coaches preach a lot, but goes in one ear and out the other sometimes. And when you hear it from the leaders of the group, it means so much more.”
THE POWER PLAY
Mick Colageo of The New Bedford Standard Times mentioned this after the first period and he was right on the money. How many times over the years have we seen the Bruins get an early, extended power play, fail to take advantage and then allow that failure to cast a pall over the rest of the game?
Not last night. The Bruins took advantage of a five-minute PP by pouring in three goals in 1:37 and driving starting goalie Anders Nilsson to the bench.
“If you can make a team pay, you’re hoping on a major to get one, maybe two. All of a sudden you get three in there and especially at home, we need a little juice,” said Cassidy. “Great response by the guys, both units.”
SCHALLER STEPS UP
Successful teams need guys like Tim Schaller. Whether it’s blocking shots, finishing hits, chipping in offensively or engaging in the occasional fight, he is ready to do whatever needs to be done.
When Eric Gudbranson drove Frank Vatrano’s face into the end boards, Schaller went right after the big Canucks defenseman.
“I’m going to stand up for my teammates so I jumped in,” Schaller said.
“I don’t think they want me to be a flashy guy. I’ve got to do the dirty work. I like to think I sparked the team a little bit tonight. Hopefully, I can, not necessarily fight every night, but just get the energy going for the guys.
He did just on Thursday night.