Boston, MA—If you missed the first two minutes of the Bruins vs. Stars hockey game last night from the TD Banknorth Garden, you missed the most exciting first period the Bruins have played all season.
As NESN commentator Jack Edwards said, "35 seconds into the first period, three fights and a goal. Are we having fun yet?" Yes, Jack, the sold-out crowd at the Garden was having fun, and really that was just the beginning of what was to come.
Thirty-five seconds into the game, after the No. 1 line gained a quick entry into the offensive zone, Milan Lucic beat Andrew Raycroft with a strong five-hole shot.
The Bruins scored their second goal just 45 seconds later when Brad Marchand set up Patrice Bergeron for the first of two this evening.
Boston ran former Bruin goalie Andrew Raycroft out of the game just a minute and 20 seconds into the first period. Dallas coach Marc Crawford pulled Raycroft for Kari Lehtonen.
At 4:51 into the first period, Andrew Ference didn't like Adam Burish's shot after the whistle on Tuukka Rask and threw down with the Dallas Star for the fourth fight of the period.
The Bruins then gathered possession play, and veteran Marc Recchi made a great breakout pass to Marchand, who led a streaking Bergeron for his second goal of the night. This line is clicking right now and is getting better and better as the games move forward.
Shawn Thornton got into the game early as well. After agreeing to go with Dallas tough guy Kyle Barch (second fight of night), Thornton then made a great short side shot on the second Dallas Star goalie Kari Lehtonen to make the game 4-0.
In the second and third period, the Dallas Stars ripped off three straight goals, and the Boston faithful could feel their hearts and lead sinking quickly.
Blake Wheeler and Michael Ryder made several great aggressive plays to feed Bruins rookie Tyler Seguin with a one-timer that surprised and beat Lehtonen to make it a two-goal lead with just 5:36 left in the third.
Bergeron had a chance to get another hat trick this season when he had an open net at the end of the game, which he missed wide, but he was able to capture the rebound and shovel it off to Marchand to cap the game off.
As coach Claude Julien said about all the fisticuffs in his postgame press conference, "I am sure the fans didn't mind it."
No we didn't, Coach. Three fights and responded with four goals. That’s a huge sign.
Adam McQuaid was the third fight on the card last night at the Garden. He had a goal called back due to player interference against Blake Wheeler. After replay review, Wheeler was pushed into the Dallas goalie and pulled away from him right away. Bad call by the referee.
Daniel Paille was ejected from the game in the third period for putting a thunderous hit on the Stars' Raymond Sawada. Paille might have been attempting shoulder-on-shoulder contact, but Sawada, who didn’t see Paille coming, was dropped by the blind-side hit. The NHL is calling these hits this season, and the referees made the right call.
Tuukka Rask, starting for the first time in the last five games, got the support that’s eluded him this season. “It’s nice to see some offensive power, especially the way we started the game,’’ said Rask.
The Bruins play again this Saturday in a 1 pm matinee at the Garden against Joe Thornton and the San Jose Sharks.