So much for a potential letdown.
After a thrilling 3-2 victory over the New York Rangers in front of a nationally televised audience, the Boston Bruins got a quick start 30 hours later and established the tempo from the get-go in their 3-1 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets, who were also playing their second game in as many nights.
“They played last night and we played yesterday afternoon,” said Jarome Iginla, who tallied an assist in the victory. “The Rangers was a good game for us – an NBC game, good emotions and a good win – but today, the two points, the momentum and all that was just as important.”
Here are three takeaways from the Bruins’ 18th win of the season.
Lucic first to 10 (plus) goals
There’s no denying that Lucic has bounced back nicely from scoring just seven goals in the Lockout shortened season.
Through the first 27 games, the first line power forward became the first Bruin to tally double-digit goals with his 10th and 11th of the season. His two-goal performance snapped a scoreless drought of six games.
Moreover, Lucic brought the intensity too as seen with his fight against Dalton Prout midway through the first. Lucic was also a force in front of the net and made Curtis McElhinney’s night difficult with several good chances in front. He scored one of his two goals on a deflection and became the second Bruins forward to score a goal on the power play in the process with his first period tally to give his team a 2-0 lead at 14:58.
Both of Lucic’s goal came with a little bit of puck luck. But the seventh-year Vancouver born forward will take them.
“Two goals without getting a real direct shot at the net,” Lucic said about his performance. “Sometimes they go in like that and fortunately I had some puck luck here tonight.”
He tallied his first power play goal, his first fight and nearly had his first Gordie Howe Hat Trick of the season. More importantly, even during his mini slump, Lucic is putting together some solid performances, and that is a far cry from last season.
Shots hard to come by for opposing offenses
For the second straight game, the Black and Gold held their opponent to less than 20 shots. That is something the team takes great pride in, especially after Wednesday’s 6-1 debacle in Detroit.
Chad Johnson could have taken several naps during Saturday’s game as he saw only 14 shots. The Bruins offense, for that matter, spent the majority of the game in the Columbus end and drew six power plays on the night.
All in all, it was another well-rounded effort in front of the sellout crowd.
“I thought we had a lot of zone time and offensively we were generating [chances],” said Dougie Hamilton, who tallied one assist in 20:32 of ice time. “I guess some of the games in the past we were trying to chip it in but we couldn’t get it for more than five seconds. So just to be able to play in their end was helpful.”
Bruins get a needed break
Through the first two months of the season, the Bruins have once again established themselves as the team to beat in the Eastern Conference. But, as strong as they’ve been, they also deserve a five-day break before traveling to Montreal for their first matchup of the season against the Canadiens Thursday night at the Bell Centre.
There are still some kinks that they need to work on, too. Tuukka Rask, who got some much-needed rest Saturday night, will want to bounce back after giving up 11 goals in his last three games. The power play, which went 1-for-6 against Columbus, still needs some work. And the top line of Lucic, Iginla and David Krejci, despite getting back into the swing of things, are still looking to gel a little more often.
Still, through the first quarter of the season, the Bruins are 18-7-2. Yet its scary to think that their best hockey might be ahead of them.
“I think we’re definitely starting to get better and better,” Lucic said. “And maybe as a line, our November wasn’t as good as our October, but we’re definitely starting to feel it and we’re looking forward to our December.”