BOSTON — By the start of the night, there was a little concern with the Boston Bruins playing the second of a back to back Thursday at the TD Garden against the Calgary Flames after defeating the New Jersey Devils, 6-1, the previous evening. By the start of the night, there was also a little concern that the Black and Gold could have looked ahead to Saturday afternoon’s rematch against the Vancouver Canucks from last year’s Stanley Cup Finals.
By the end of the night those concerns were met with “we want 10 chants” from the Garden faithful.
Behind three-point nights from Nathan Horton (two goals, one assist), Patrice Bergeron (two goals, one assist), David Krejci (a goal and two assists) and Tyler Seguin (a goal and two assists); and Tuukka Rask’s 25-save shutout, the Bruins cruised to a 9-0 victory in front of the another sellout crowd of 17,565.
“I thought our team played real well tonight,” said Bruins coach Claude Julien. “Coming back from the game in New Jersey, it was important for us to get a good start. We knew they [Calgary] were waiting for us here and we also understood the situation that the team we played tonight is pretty banged up.”
Knowing that the desperate Flames squad would come out looking to play their best hockey against the defending champs, the Bruins got off to that quick start even without Brad Marchand, who was out with flu-like symptoms.
Just 1:14 into the contest, Seguin tallied his goal off a great feed from Bergeron for the game’s first goal. 2:03 later, Milan Lucic scored his 14th of the year benefiting from a lucky bounce as the puck hit a Flames defenseman on the way to the net.
Krejci added his goal on the power play at 8:49 and from there the Bruins were on cruise control.
“For us it was a matter of coming out strong and establishing your lead early and taking any hope away from them to even think it would be a game that they could win,” Julien said. “I thought our guys did a great job of coming out and getting a good start and establishing the lead.”
“We don’t want to stop what we’re doing,” said forward Benoit Pouliot, who filled Marchand’s spot on the second line with Bergeron and Seguin. “I think even if you get a big lead, we’ve got to keep pounding on it and keep doing what we’re doing.”
With the nine goals, the Bruins have now increased their goal differential to +69 (138 goals for, 69 goals against) and have been relentless after a 3-7 start. During those ten games, the Bruins had a -1 goal differential (24 goals, 25 goals against) and were looking for answers offensively.
Thursday’s contest showed how things changed since the start of the year as they have now won 23 of their last 27 — going 23-3-1 in that span.
“When you’re beating teams and you’re beating them by big margins, you can see the guys are playing with confidence,” said captain Zdeno Chara (two assists, plus-3). “We just try to make sure that we don’t get too comfortable or complacent, because it could be hurting us.”
With Vancouver on the horizon, the Bruins hope to carry over their momentum in the championship rematch.
But while the game is on many people’s radar, the Black and Gold hope to stay even keeled with all the hype surrounding it.
“I think everyone here is just thinking that it’s another game,” said Horton, who scored his two goals during the second period.
“We played them last year in the Finals and they’re still a good team, and we’re still a good team. It’s going to be a good game. I’m not really thinking too much about what happened, but I’m just getting excited for the game.”