Boston, MA -
|Mark Recchi (28) celebrates his goal with Patrice Bergeron (37) in the first period of an NHL hockey game against the Buffalo Sabres, Saturday, Nov. 7, 2009, in Boston. The Bruins won 4-2. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer) |
It’s no secret that the Bruins had been lacking in offensive production over the last few weeks. In fact, the goal-scoring drought was the talk of the Hub of Hockey.
“But you’ve just got to keep telling them to stick with it,” said head coach Claude Julien after Friday morning’s practice at Ristuccia Memorial Arena in Wilmington. “You’ve got to try give them some guidance.
“[As a coach], you hope that if the guys can stick with it and continue to play a decent game that eventually down the road that challenge that you’ve gone through is going to pay off and that’s what people seem to forget,” he said. “When things go well all year long and then you hit a wall at some point, you don’t know how to deal with it.
“Right now we have to deal with it and hopefully it will pay off,” added Julien, prophetically.
It did pay off and with a strong team effort on Saturday the B’s took a promising turn and earned a 4-2 victory over the Buffalo Sabres in the TD Garden.
“We played pretty good but I think we can play better too,” said forward Marco Sturm who scored his third goal of the season. “Also the play tonight was tough, but we stayed on it and did a pretty good job.”
Goaltender Tuukka Rask
(28 saves) agreed.
“I mean [it was a] solid 60-minute effort,” said Rask. “I felt like our guys were really good today.”
Recchi netted his third goal of the season by scoring on the power play at 3:17 of the first. Then Zdeno Chara
scored his first goal of the season, also on the power play, at 16:31. Byron Bitz scored at 1:22 of the second period in his first game back from a groin injury that saw him miss the last three games. Goal number four came when Sturm scored at 18:31 in the second.
“I think the start was good for us,” added Rask. “To get a 2-nothing lead there in the first period…that was the key because if you just keep pounding the puck at net and nothing goes in, it’s frustrating.
“But today we got two goals ahead and that really helped us.”
“We’ve waited for a long time for this,” said Sturm in agreement. “So, we were happy but we still need to focus for the tough challenges.”
Steve Begin (2 hits, 2 assists) spoke about those challenges – which include transferring the momentum gained on Saturday to Tuesday’s tilt with the Pittsburgh Penguins.
“We have to bring this game’s [energy] to the next one,” said the forward. “Everything you saw tonight, that’s what we need to do.
“I [saw] great work from everybody and it’s easy when you stick with the game plan. You win games and it’s easy.”
As for the fights and physical play that seemed to spark the Bruins, Sturm said, “Maybe that’s what we need to do, so it’s nice to see everyone get involved.”
Bruins beat cop Shawn Thornton
( 1 assist, 3 hits, 12-minutes in penalties) was in the middle of all of that action, and fought ex-Bruin Steve Montador.
“Well obviously whenever you fight you hope that it helps and doesn’t hurt,” said Thornton, who got an extra minor prior to his second fight against Paul Gaustad. “You got to give credit to my teammates in that situation for stepping up and making me look good instead of bad.
“I thank my teammates for really showing up and feeding off [the fight] instead of letting them have momentum.”
Thornton’s linemate Byron Bitz, who scored the game-winning goal, talked about the victory.
“It’s always fun when you are winning,” said the forward. “We stuck with it and I don’t really think we changed much tonight
“we just kept pouring shots on net [and] we scored four goals tonight which is nice to see.
“And it makes it more fun when you are scoring goals,” he said.
Julien was happy with the outcome.
“It was nice to see our power play give us the lead tonight,” said the head coach, postgame. “We had a couple of nice goals and some good net presence in front of the net.
“The first one we had a good tip, and the next one we had a good screen and it went off of their player, but still you have to score goals sometimes to get yourself going,” continued Julien. “Our special teams tonight were obviously much better.
“Our penalty kill was outstanding. They did a good job tonight. Those kind of things when your specialty teams do well, there is a good chance you are going to win hockey games.”