The Boston Bruins played yet another series of back-to-back games and this time, they had to do it on a three-game road swing in California. This would be their third game in four nights.
The good news is that the regular season is nearly over, Marty Turco was given another chance to get back into his game and give starting goalie Tim Thomas a rest and Rich Peverley is back in the lineup.
To add to that, Jordan Caron has proven to belong in the NHL level and was moved to the energy line instead of being assigned to the Providence Bruins in the AHL.
The Anaheim Ducks are on the outside looking in, holding onto 12th place and sitting 11 points outside of the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference going into the night. With only seven games left, it is a good bet that the Ducks are playing the role of spoiler.
The Bruins are looking to solidify their position in the Eastern Conference, as they are currently three points up on the Ottawa Senators for the Northeast Division lead, giving them the No. 2 spot in the Eastern Conference overall.
No scoring in the opening frame. The second frame made up for that.
Zdeno Chara made what seemed to be a harmless shot, but it went off Ducks defender Francois Beauchemin's stick and it got through Jonas Hiller, allowing the Bruins to open up the scoring for the second game in a row.
With just 1:22 of play elapsed, Benoit Pouliot extended the lead. Chris Kelly and Pouliot gained the Ducks' zone at the same time and as Kelly seemed like he was going to fire at the net, he stopped short of the release and quickly passed it to his left to a waiting Pouliot. Pouliot then ripped it past Hiller, and the black and gold celebrated a 2-0 lead.
At the 9:11 mark, future Hall of Famer Teemu Selanne buried a shot from the point that looked like it hit Dennis Seidenburg's stick as it went up and over Turco's glove side. The goal put Selanne in fourth place all time in power-play goals, passing Luc Robitaille. Final score after two, 2-1 Bruins.
The final frame got interesting, to say the least.
Matt Beleskey fired a shot that did beat Turco, but the goal was waved off as Andrew Cogliano entered the crease unabated and was right in front of Turco inside the blue paint.
Controversy? Hold on. I was, at first, thinking this was going to count. Then I found that there was Rule 69.1 regarding interference with the goaltender.
NHL Rule 69.1:
69.1 Interference on the Goalkeeper - This rule is based on the premise that an attacking player’s position, whether inside or outside the crease, should not, by itself, determine whether a goal should be allowed or disallowed. In other words, goals scored while attacking players are standing in the crease may, in appropriate circumstances be allowed. Goals should be disallowed only if: (1) an attacking player, either by his positioning or by contact, impairs the goalkeeper’s ability to move freely within his crease or defend his goal; or (2) an attacking player initiates intentional or deliberate contact with a goalkeeper, inside or outside of his goal crease. Incidental contact with a goalkeeper will be permitted, and resulting goals allowed, when such contact is initiated outside of the goal crease, provided the attacking player has made a reasonable effort to avoid such contact. The rule will be enforced exclusively in accordance with the on-ice judgment of the Referee(s), and not by means of video replay or review.
The overriding rationale of this rule is that a goalkeeper should have the ability to move freely within his goal crease without being hindered by the actions of an attacking player. If an attacking player enters the goal crease and, by his actions, impairs the goalkeeper’s ability to defend his goal, and a goal is scored, the goal will be disallowed.
There are two parts to disallowing a goal with a player in the crease. The first being player contact, to which there was barely any, but Cogliano was pressed up on Turco when the shot went in, and that prevented the goalie from freely moving in the crease area. This was the case. Had there been a battle between two or more players in the crease, the goal would have counted, as the player would have little chance to clear the crease.
That said, the ability for Turco to move out to cut down the angle was no longer a possibility with Cogliano being mere inches in front of him.
In other words...the Bruins dodged a bullet.
The Bruins didn't let this opportunity go to waste, as Kelly once again charged into the Ducks' zone, but this time with Brian Rolston. Kelly passed to his right to Rolston and he ripped it from the right faceoff circle and extended the lead. This would give the Bruins a 3-1 lead.
The Ducks would go on the attack and with 2:29 left of the game, Lubomir Visnovsky got them within one, as he got one past Turco. Amongst a massive mess of Bruins players chasing the puck and Ducks players getting into position, Visnovsky made good on his shot from the hash marks and made it count. 3-2 Bruins.
The Ducks pulled Hiller for the extra attacker, but David Krejci made a key play and went full extension to poke the puck out of the Bruins' zone. After a stretch pass went offside, Hiller was forced back in the net.
Hiller was pulled again to try and even it up, but the Bruins mustered up enough to hang on for the win.
The win gave the Bruins a 29-0-0 record when leading by two goals at any point in the game.
The Bruins need to pack their bags quickly, as they have to be home to take on the Tampa Bay Lightning at the TD Garden on Tuesday. The somewhat good news for the B's is that the Bolts will be playing Philadelphia on Monday night, so the travel from coast to coast for the B's and the back-to-back nights for the Bolts should even things out somewhat.
The sports channels are going to have a feast on the disallowed goal, as they will undoubtedly not mention Rule 69.1.
I'll be watching closely, as this will separate the men from the boys in sports media.
This is Cory Ducey saying, "Hit hard, but keep it clean."