After going 2-3-0 on their season-opening five-game homestand, a road trip was just what the Boston Bruins
needed to recapture the form that led them to first place in the Eastern Conference last season.
The Bruins got two goals from Marc Savard
and 27 saves by Tim Thomas
in a 3-0 victory over the Dallas Stars
at the American Airlines Center on Friday night.
It was the type of performance that helped the Bruins finish first in the East in 2008-09 -- but that had been missing so far this season.
"We were disappointed with our homestand," Bruins coach Claude Julien
said. "We knew we'd have to redeem ourself on the road. Tonight looked more like where we want to be as a team."
The Bruins used their tenacious forecheck to slow down the speedy Stars, and their big defense kept the crease clear in front of an appreciative Thomas.
"We were pressuring them while still being under control," last season's Vezina Trophy winner said after his first shutout of 2009-10. "We had 20 guys working together to accomplish the same goal. In the third period, instead of chasing another (goal), our guys were finishing off the game."
Most of the shots Dallas managed came from the perimeter, making Thomas' life easy.
"He even said he didn't have many tough saves," Julien said. "There were a lot of shots from outside, and the guys cleared the shots away from the net."
One person who was impressed was Dallas coach Marc Crawford
"It was disappointing for sure. It's tough to beat a team as good as Boston is if you don't have everybody going," he said. "We didn't have everybody going tonight for whatever reason. During the course of the season, you're going to have some highs and you're going to have some lows. You're going to have some games where everything goes right and you're going to have some games where not much does. Our game tonight fell in the latter category."
The Bruins outshot Dallas 14-7 in the opening period and went ahead to stay when Savard's sharp-angle goal deflected into the net off defenseman Stephane Robidas
' stick at 13:32, 29 seconds after Mike Ribeiro
's high-sticking penalty. That snapped the Bruins' 0-for-17 power-play drought.
's deflection beat Turco at 3:35 of the second period, and Savard's fifth goal of the season came 4:24 later on a one-timer from the right circle that also glanced off Robidas' stick and made it 3-0.
Dallas (2-1-3) lost in regulation for the first time this season. It was a big comedown from a 6-0 home win over Nashville two nights earlier.
"After a big win like that, we wanted to keep the ball rolling," Robidas said. "But they were just a better team than us. They didn't do anything special. They used their size, used their speed and brought a lot of pucks to the net."
Flames 5, Canucks 3 | HIGHLIGHTS
Calgary made it 2-for-2 against the Canucks this season by routing Roberto Luongo
at the Pengrowth Saddledome behind a "Gordie Howe
hat trick" by Brian McGrattan
McGrattan was among five Flames who scored as the Flames coasted to victory after beating Luongo five times in the first 31:33. The All-Star goaltender stopped just 14 of 19 shots before being lifted after the second period.
With the victory, Calgary (5-2-1) ended a three-game winless streak and moved into a tie with the Colorado Avalanche
for the top spot in the Northwest Division. Miikka Kiprusoff
improved his record to 5-1-1 by making 26 saves.
"I thought we played a pretty good game here tonight," Calgary coach Brent Sutter
said. "The emotion level was there, the intensity level was there."
It's the second time in four games that Luongo has been lifted.
"I think right now we have to play our system and we're not doing that," Luongo said. "We're turning pucks over, we're just not playing the way we should be playing as a team and we have to take some responsibility on ourselves and make sure we all know what we have to do on the ice and play as a five-man unit when we're out there."
put the Flames up 1-0 at 7:18 of the first period when he beat Luongo on a shorthanded breakaway. Nigel Dawes
' midair tip-in of Mark Giordano
's power-play shot at 10:50 made it 2-0.
and Dustin Boyd
scored 2:48 apart in the second period to make it 4-0 before McGrattan, who set up Boyd's goal, roofed Boyd's pass at 11:33. It was his first goal since April 3, 2006, during his rookie season with the Ottawa Senators
-- a span of 91 NHL games without scoring. He's missed a lot of time with shoulder problems.
"I was saying to (teammate Craig Conroy
) before the game that it had been 91 games since I scored and it was about time to get one," said McGrattan, who also got into a first-period scrap with Darcy Hordichuk
Sutter was delighted for the 28-year-old forward.
"He worked really hard to get to this point," Sutter said. "He was rewarded tonight in different ways."
The Canucks got an early third-period goal by Rick Rypien
and two late power-play goals by Mikael Samuelsson
and Christian Ehrhoff
to make the final score look closer.
"They had one of the stronger starts that I have seen so far this year, they were physical, strong on the puck and they generated a lot of scoring chances for the first 15 minutes of the first period and we had a tough time handling it," coach Alain Vigneault
"Obviously, I think this group can play better than it did tonight. I think you have to give credit to the opposition. They played a real strong, physical game, and at the end of the day they were the better team today."
Oilers 5, Wild 2 | HIGHLIGHTS
The Wild fared no better in Western Canada than they did in California as Dustin Penner
and Gilbert Brule
scored twice to help Edmonton hand Minnesota its fourth consecutive loss.
Penner, who now has 5 goals and 9 points in the Oilers' first seven games, said he's thrilled to be making a bigger offensive contribution.
"My linemates made some really nice passes to me," he said. "I think the whole team is playing with confidence offensively. We just need to work on some of our systems play."
The Wild went 0-for-3 in California and fell to 1-5-0 for the season. They play at Vancouver on Saturday.
"I don't think this trip could have gone any worse at this point," said goalie Josh Harding
. "It's disappointing battling back and letting up another one. We have to find a way to win and right now we just keep finding ways to lose."
After Mike Comrie
scored early in the second period to put the Oilers in front, Penner gave Edmonton a 2-0 lead when he one-timed Patrick O'Sullivan
's blind pass behind Harding at 11:45. Benoit Pouliot
cut the margin to 2-1 at 16:35, but Brule nudged home a loose puck at 19:17.
Oilers coach Pat Quinn
has been delighted with the play of Penner and Brule, who have combined for nine of Edmonton's 28 goals.
"(Penner) is big and strong and holding the puck well," Quinn said. "He's got a good skill level, he's not just a big man. He gave some good second efforts tonight. He is doing lots of little things really well. I like a lot of the things that I see out of him.
"(Brule) competes hard and he is really sharp around the net. We need to see that regularly on a consistent basis from him and we have to this point."
scored a power-play goal 3:35 into the final period to make it a one-goal game again, but the Oilers put it away when Penner and Brule scored in a 1:51 span midway through the period.
Minnesota coach Todd Richards
tried to remain upbeat.
"There were a lot of good things in the game, it's just those mistakes," he said. "We are making a lot of big mistakes. I know it is a loss. We have one game left in this road trip and we have to try to build off of positive things. We'll get over this and we will win these type of games in the future."
--Material from wire services and team media was used in this report