Although it was Game 5 of the ALCS for the Boston Red Sox, this Bruins game had its own appeal as former Bruin Tim Thomas squared off against his former team in Florida. The B’s got to Thomas early and struck again late to escape with a 3-2 victory on third period goal from newcomer Reilly Smith that dribbled through Thomas’ pads.
Here are three takeaways from Thursday’s contest:
1.) Inserting Dougie Hamilton and scratching Adam McQuaid was the right move.
Claude Julien has his hands full with the number of great defensemen he has on his team. Last night he decided to sit Adam McQuaid and insert Dougie Hamilton. I think we can all agree Julien pushed the right button there.
Hamilton riffled a power-play goal past Thomas to give the Bruins a 2-0 lead early on. He was physical too, compiling three hits and blocking a shot in the process. Hamilton also threw five shots on net. It is a very encouraging sign for a player in his second year.
Hamilton is an offensive defenseman whose shot can make a difference and we saw that tonight in Florida.
2.) Thank you Seguin and Peverley? Reilly Smith solid once again in victory.
Reilly Smith who was essentially a “throw-in” in the Seguin mega-deal last Fourth of July has been playing great hockey for the Black and Gold and it continued Thursday night. Smith scored the game-winner with less than a minute left to lift the Bruins to a 3-2 win.
“It’s a great feeling to be able to score and help the team win,” Smith said.
Due to the slow start by Brad Marchand, Smith has been inserted alongside Patrice Bergeron and Loui Eriksson and has not disappointed. Tonight, Smith had 10 shot attempts and his goal was the difference in the game.
Look for Reilly Smith to continue to be a difference-maker and once Brad Marchand gets going again, he will give this team even more depth that it already has.
3.) Tuukka bounces back after loss
After a tough game Monday against the Detroit Red Wings allowing a season high three goals, Tuukka Rask bounced back nicely in a 3-2 victory away from TD Garden.
Rask earned his fourth win of the season turning away 25 of 27 shots. He was rock solid despite the distraction of answering questions all week about facing off against Tim Thomas.
Rask now sits with a .947 save percentage and a 1.51 goals against average. As long as he stays healthy, Rask will again be in the conversation of the Vezina Trophy.
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