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The Bruins Bounce Back

by Angela Stefano / Boston Bruins
The Black & Gold train is back on track, thanks to a spectacular all-around showing by All-Stars, YoungStars and new stars alike.

“We wanted this win big time…with the embarrassment up in Montreal,” forward Marc Savard said after the game.  “The guys came out and played hard.”

The Bruins were on fire last night, banishing the bad alter-ego team that played the Canadiens on Tuesday to the rafters of the Garden and beating the New York Islanders 4-1.

“It was huge for the whole team,” said goalie and All-Star Tim Thomas.

“We looked like the hungrier team.”

“Our goal coming into this game was obviously getting a win,” said YoungStar forward Milan Lucic.  “We put a good 60 minutes together, guys worked hard out there, and we deserved a win.”

The 8-2 defeat on Tuesday helped motivate the team to work for a victory.

“[We] try not to think about it because it’s embarrassing, but [we] put it behind us and go out and work hard, and that’s what we did tonight,” Savard said.  “We played all four lines and did a great job.

Head coach Claude Julien was pleased with the improvement from earlier this week as well.

“You just wish you didn’t have to go through a situation where you had to bounce back form some bad losses,” he said after the game.  “We thought [this game] was extremely important going into the break….The focus was really on that.”

Post-game compliments flooded the locker room and were passed around freely.

“We did the little things,” Savard said.  “We clogged up the neutral zone, our forecheck was probably the best I’ve seen in a long time, and we created a lot of chances from it.”

“We forced them into some quick shots where we can step up, block the lanes, and pick pucks out of the air,” added defenseman Aaron Ward.

“We had some great efforts.”

The list of those “great efforts” goes on for a while, including assists by captain Zdeno Chara, Chuck Kobasew, Savard, Marco Sturm and Dennis Wideman; goals by Phil Kessel, Lucic, Savard and Wideman; and, not to be underestimated, a near-shut out by Thomas.

“If it hadn’t been for some of Tim’s big saves, it could have been a much closer game,” Julien said.

Thomas, Savard and Lucic, who are all headed to Atlanta this weekend, earned the honors of WBZ Radio’s Stars of the Game for their work.

The “Kid Line” of David Krejci, Pascal Pelletier and Vladimir Sobotka, athough still scoreless, was oft-praised as well.

“They are playing above the expected maturity level,” Ward said.  “They do a good job playing a system in the defensive zone.

“They are receptive, and they listen. They learn...I am impressed.”

Coach Julien, too, has been impressed, rewarding the line with both a start and the chance to work the B’s final power play of the game.

“Maybe some coaches like to put their top power play on in a game that’s pretty well decided, but there’s a respect factor there,” he explained.

Coach Julien was also pleased with the team’s penalty kills.

“The guys did a great job pushing guys to the outside, retrieving pucks, winning battles, and getting pucks down,” he said.  “We were resilient and more determined than I’ve seen in a long time.”

With last night’s win, the B’s head into the All-Star break solidly in seventh place and playoff position. Julien hoped the team would take the time off to rest and prepare for the long road ahead.

“After this…it’s every second night.  We have a real heavy schedule ahead of us,” he said.  “This is where it’s going to get decided, in these next couple of months.

“To a certain degree, our playoffs have to start after the All-Star break.”
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