BOSTON – Had Boston Bruins forward Jarome Iginla managed to score on his wide-open chance in the second period Friday, the Bruins' comeback would've kicked in gear sooner and their 3-2 win against the New York Rangers might've been less of a nail-biter.
Instead, Iginla's bullet from the high slot went wide and made a bigger noise on the glass than on the score sheet.
"I was pretty excited to get a one-timer in that position and it's what you're hoping for," Iginla said after the Bruins' optional morning skate Saturday. "I got a great pass from [Chris Kelly]. And I hit it hard, I just missed the net. I was probably a little too eager. But I try to get open for those and I'll try to get a few more of those."
Iginla's eagerness was understandable. His production with the Bruins hasn't matched his past performance. He's scored five goals in 26 games and one in his past nine. The one goal was a footnote on the Bruins' worst loss of the season, a 6-1 road defeat against the Detroit Red Wings on Wednesday.
Iginla, David Krejci and Milan Lucic, who form the Bruins' first line, aren't scoring at the clip they were in the first month of the season. But they are far from being in a slump as they head into the Bruins' game with the Columbus Blue Jackets at TD Garden on Saturday. Example No. 1 would be their play against the Rangers leading up to Zdeno Chara's game-winning goal. Iginla and Lucic's work on the neutral-zone forecheck wore down the Rangers before Krejci set up Chara's big score.
Iginla enters every season with an expectation his goal total will be at or near 30 by the end of the regular season. Although he's not quite on that pace, he's not panicking either.
"Honestly, there's been different years when they come at different times. I believe they'll come and stuff," Iginla said. "But it is easier to go through when we're winning as a team and being where we are in the standings. So you keep working hard and keep trying to get better and getting a good opportunity to play and play in scoring opportunities. And you want to produce and stuff, but I've been through it before so I kind of draw back on that and keep working hard, keep trying to get better and going to the net and be able to contribute too."
Here is the Bruins' projected lineup:
Milan Lucic – David Krejci – Jarome Iginla
Brad Marchand – Patrice Bergeron – Loui Eriksson
Carl Soderberg – Chris Kelly – Reilly Smith
Daniel Paille – Gregory Campbell – Shawn Thornton
Zdeno Chara – Johnny Boychuk
Dennis Seidenberg – Dougie Hamilton
Torey Krug – Adam McQuaid
Scratched: Matt Bartkowski, Jordan Caron