Much of the credit for the 7-2 Boston win can go to goaltender Manny Fernandez, who only gave up a safety, while his teammates dropped a touchdown (and nailed the extra point) on New York Islanders. However, after two periods the game was a one goal affair and Fernandez heroics were being matched save-for-save by former Bruins goalie Joey MacDonald.
“It feels good,” says Fernandez. “I mean it was a tight game all around except that we should’ve left them down there (in their end) a little bit (more) in the third.
"They are an explosive team, so you don’t want to give them any room – don’t want to give them any chances.
“But we just seemed to capitalize on our (own) chances in the third period, and it could have been a 3-2 game or easily a 2-1 game, but thank God our guys seemed to pick it up in the third,” he said.
What it really could have been was a 2-2 game with 13 minutes to play if it wasn’t for Fernandez, who managed to make a diving skate save to stop Bill Guerin on a breakaway. It was, perhaps, the turning point in the contest.
“Manny made an unbelievable save,” said Blake Wheeler. “You see Guerin in the shoot-outs and he scores, but there on Manny he doesn’t.
"Guerin made a great move and Manny made a great save and the puck just missed that corner of the net. I think you really have to take your hat off to Manny because he played a great game today.”
“Obviously that was a big save at the right time,” said Fernandez of the play.
It was definitely the right time. Just a few seconds later, on the same shift, the Bruins took over for good. At 6:48 of the third, with the B’s leading 2-1, the line of Michael Ryder, David Krejci
, and Blake Wheeler made sure it was a close game no longer. With one Ryder goal already under their belt, the line combo went on to score three more before the night was up.
Ryder registered his fourth and fifth goals of the season.
“It was good to finally get a couple to go in,” Ryder said. “Playing with my new linemates tonight, we did not know how it was going to go, but we had a little chemistry there and created some offense.
“I definitely feel pressure to score,” he continued. “When they want you to score and that is the role they see you in, it can be tough when you’re not scoring.
"I just need to make sure I keep going to the net and shooting pucks and eventually they will start going in.”
Well they started today, and his linemates were a big part of the contribution.
“Whoever you put (David) Krejci with, he seems to get them going,” said head coach Claude Julien. “So whether that is intentional or not, he has done a great job.”
Krejci isn’t sure how to explain the chemistry that the three seemed to have on the ice tonight, but whatever it was, he hopes it continues.
“It just happens,” he attempted to explain. “There are times when you have three new guys (playing together) and they score five goals and then there are times when you have three new guys and they do not score any.
"So it just happened today. We tried to work hard, and it happened.”
As dominant as the Ryder-Krejci-Wheeler line was today, the line with the most scoring opportunities was unquestionably the line of Milan Lucic
, Marc Savard
, and Phil Kessel. The lone goal of the line was Kessel’s tally to finish off the scoring with 2:33 to go in the game.
But that was hardly the lone chance for the trio.
“I think we just missed the net in the first period,” commented Lucic. “We had seven scoring chances and missed the net. We could have easily gotten frustrated from that but we managed to stick with our game plan.
“I think we created a lot in the first period and maybe it gave us momentum because it kept us in the game,” he continued. “But some games, it is going to happen like that. If you are not getting chances, then you have to start worrying. Today, we created a lot of chances and it could have very easily been a four-point night for all three of us.
"But in the end, we are just happy that we were able to get the win.”
Truly, the win is all that matters, but according to the crowd in the sold out, black clad crowd in the TD Banknorth Garden, the game wouldn't have been a complete without the man they call "Loooooch" dropping his gloves.
And although Lucic doesn’t always need a reason to throw the first punch, this time, due to Wideman’s goal that occurred at the same time, no one even saw what his reason was.
So, Lucic cleared it up, “It was during the power play and I was standing in front, and he gave me a few pretty good crosschecks in the back, I didn’t like it, so I just took care of the situation.”
“It is all emotions; adrenaline, those type of things,” he explains. “Obviously, you don’t like to be abused like that and even if the score is out of reach for the other team, you have to stand up for yourself when you are getting hacked and pushed around.”
After all, Lucic was not about to get pushed around during his 100th NHL game.
“I knew (it was my 100th game) coming into it,” he said, smiling. “It was a new look with the new jerseys. I like them a lot. I am happy just being able to come in everyday and be a part of this league and be able to contribute in the league.
"And this team has come a long way from the (first) games I played in and I have come a long way since my first game to now.
"So, this is one hundred for me and hopefully a few hundred more to go!”