What we learned: Bruins win ugly
The Boston Bruins hosted the Calgary Flames Tuesday night before they head through the gauntlet of Chicago, Washington, Florida and Tampa Bay over their next four games.
Nothing was easy for Boston, but they narrowly escaped with a 2-1 victory off the stick of Patrice Bergeron on the power-play giving the B’s a desperate two points before they face the cream of the crop over the next two weeks.
Tuukka Rask made 24 stops on the night and besides allowing that one goal kept the Black and Gold in the game all night long where the offense was very lackluster.
Here is what we learned in one of the ugliest Bruins’ wins this season.
The Bruins can have a skilled fourth line
Claude Julien was forced to mix his lines after acquiring Lee Stempniak at the trade deadline Monday. Noel Acciari was recalled by the big club and was slotted at center on the fourth line alongside Brett Connolly and Landon Ferraro.
It did not take long for this line to click as Brett Connolly made a nice play along the wall to push the puck to Torey Krug who made a sensational pass to find a streaking Ferraro who buried the game’s first goal to give the Black and Gold a 1-0 lead. It was Ferraro’s fifth goal of the season.
Fans are tired of seeing the Max Talbot’s, Joonas Kempainen’s and Zac Rinaldo’s of the world on the fourth line not making much of an impact. It is possible Claude Julien is tired too, but his system relies on rolling out all four lines.
It will be interesting to see what Boston does if Rinaldo is recalled from Providence and with their roster moving forward, but it’s evident this newly looked fourth line has made an impact.
Power play comes up big in final minutes
The B’s power-play (and offense) was not generating much offense all night as they have failed to do for the last couple of weeks, but when the Flames were called for too many men very late in the third period, Patrice Bergeron was not letting them off the hook.
Bergeron netted his 24th goal of the season which turned out to be the difference in the game giving the Bruins a much needed 2-1 victory over an inferior Calgary team. His 230th career Bruins goal tied him with Don Marcotte for 10th in team history.
Before Bergeron’s power-play goal, Boston was scoreless in their last four games on the man advantage.
Lee Stempniak and John-Michael Liles watch
Stempniak and Liles made their Bruins debuts on Tuesday night and did a serviceable job. Stempniak was slotted alongside Bergeron and Brad Marchand and looked comfortable in his role despite not recording a shot on goal in over 16 minutes of total ice time.
Liles was sharp with his stick, played both sides of the ice and understood timing and space. He recorded a shot, a hit and played upwards of 17 minutes.
Stempniak and Liles both did their jobs in a critical game despite having minimal practice time with their new teammates. It may not be this smooth every night for these two, but it was a solid debut for the both of them.
Dougie Hamilton a non-factor
The fans couldn’t wait to see what Dougie Hamilton brought to the table Tuesday night in Boston. Guess what? It wasn’t much. The Garden faithful let Hamilton hear it every time he touched the puck as the boos poured down from every direction.
The 22-year-old defenseman finished the night with a minus-1 rating, two shots, zero points and 19 minutes of ice time.
Hamilton would have probably liked a better “homecoming”, but the Black and Gold will take points any way they can and keeping their former teammate off the score sheet must have them feeling a little bit happier deep down inside especially when he didn’t want to return to Boston on a long-term deal.