In a matter of moments, Tyler Seguin and David Krejci made coach Claude Julien look like a genius.
Trailing 1-0 heading into the third period, Julien – already without Brad Marchand, Shawn Thornton and Daniel Paille due to injury – was looking for a spark from his club and decided to bump Seguin up to the top line with Krejci and Milan Lucic, while putting Nathan Horton with Patrice Bergeron and Gregory Campbell. And it paid off as Seguin notched his second of the year just 14 seconds into the third and Krejci scored the game-winner 1:49 later in the Boston Bruins’ in a 2-1 victory over the archrival Montreal Canadiens Wednesday night at the Bell Centre.
With the win, the Bruins remain atop the Northeast Division and move into first place in the Eastern Conference standings with 15 points (7-1-1). The Canadiens dropped to 6-3-0 (12 points) after the loss.
“The message was clear across the room that the first two periods we weren’t playing like it was a first place game in the division,” said Seguin.
With just one goal prior to Wednesday, Seguin was hoping to break out of his early season slump sooner rather than later. In just a matter of seconds, he helped his cause by driving hard to the net for his second goal of the season, and added his fourth assist of the year on Krejci’s tally.
It was also just what the doctor ordered for the Black and Gold, who had been outshot 11-4 after twenty minutes.
“We needed to create more scoring chances,” said Julien. “So we tweaked the lines a little bit and the guys responded well.”
Thanks to Tuukka Rask, the Bruins had a shot. The Finnish netminder earned his second career victory against the Habs with a solid 20-save performance, including a key save on a Lars Eller breakaway in the first period.
Tuukka’s play, combined with the gutsy third period, gave the Bruins a gutsy victory.
“Luckily Tuukks was keeping us in there,” said Seguin. “And everyone was happy with the show of character in the third.”
“They had a lot of chances and we didn’t play our best,” said Rask. “It’s a good thing we kept them off the scoreboard.
“It’s a great effort. We talked after the second that we needed to get better in case we wanted to win the game. We did that, got two quick goals and got the win. So it was a character win for us.”
With their best nine-game start since the 1992-93 season, the Bruins have a lot going for them. But its these character wins and gutsy decisions, like Julien’s line changes, that are reminiscent of the team’s Stanley Cup run two years ago.
It’s still a little too early to get the Duck Boats ready, but, much like Wednesday, the Black and Gold have dealt with some adversity in the early part of the shortened season (as strange as that sounds). And so far they’ve overcame that.