“Lucky for me, I hit a defenseman, and it went in,” said the centerman. “I wasn't trying -- just trying to pass it over to [Marc Savard
It was that kind of night for Boston; a game where bounces seemed to go the other way, passes were not quick and decisions were questionable.
But in the end, none of that mattered.
“Obviously it wasn’t our best,” said Bruins head coach Claude Julien. “But like I often say when I get up here, it’s about finding ways to win and we did that.”
Julien indicated that Boston’s ability to stay in games has been important throughout the season.
“People here will say that we have played a few ‘stinkers’,” he said. “But we still keep ourselves in the game, even when we do have those tough nights.
“The guys really respect our gameplan and that's playing really well defensively, collapsing, and trying to keep shots from the outside as much as possible.
“On those 'stinker' nights..our goaltenders come up big in those situations,” said Julien.
Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas
did come up big, several times, on Tuesday.
“It was huge tonight,” said Krejci of Thomas’ 34-save performance. “He's a very good goalie, and I feel very comfortable when he's in net.
“Tonight he proved it again.”
Thomas, who is often questioned about a goaltending style that is sometimes hard to define, explained that the Bruins don’t have to earn style points.
“No matter how it happens, if you're the one that's headed off the ice ahead at the end, that's what matters,” he said. “Obviously, we played really well good chunks of the season, and we want to get back to that in our play.
|Boston Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara (33) stretches to defend a shot attempt by Washington Capitals left wing Alexander Semin (28) as Bruins goalie Tim Thomas (30) guards the net during the third period of their NHL hockey game in Boston Tuesday, Jan. 27, 2009. The Bruins won 3-2 in overtime. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola) |
“But you're dealt the hand you're given, and we were able to battle through it tonight and get the win.”
That hand included the return of three players, Patrice Bergeron
, Andrew Ference
and Milan Lucic
, as well as dressing seven defensemen due to the absence of Michael Ryder (flu-like symptoms).
“It felt great,” said Bergeron. “I would have liked to stay [out longer] even on that first shift, but I thought it was good just to be back on the ice and build from it -- get all the nerves out of the way and just play hockey."
Julien thought the trio handled their return admirably.
“It has been a while,” said the coach. “I thought Bergeron, for being out that long and having to play on the wing, I thought he played well.
] threw some good hits out there, and Andrew [Ference] is such a smart player and he moves the puck well.”
Ference thought that coming off the break with a win was big, particularly with some rust on the lineup.
“"I think, in a way, first game after the All-Star break is a good game to come back, because everybody had a few days off, and it's usually not the sharpest game,” he said. “It wasn't a fantastic game, by any means, but a win is a win, so we'll gladly take it against a very good
“We kind of gritted it out, and there's a lot of guys that weren't feeling too great about our game
after the second especially, so it was nice to see a bit of a rally and some decent shifts in the third."
Julien was already looking ahead to the next step.
“Obviously we want to get better and hopefully the next couple of days, at [Wednesday’s] practice, and our morning skate [on Thursday], we will be a little bit sharper,” he said.