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Bruins' latest win a major statement

by Brian Hunter /
Forgive the Boston Bruins if they get a bit sentimental when the calendar page turns at the close of Sunday night. November was the type of month everyone associated with the franchise would prefer to never see end.

David Krejci collected a goal and an assist and Manny Fernandez made 29 saves as the Bruins beat the defending Stanley Cup champion Detroit Red Wings 4-1 on Saturday night at TD Banknorth Garden, concluding an 11-1-1 run for the month.

"We can beat anybody in this league and we can play against anybody, obviously," defenseman Zdeno Chara said.

It was also Boston's ninth-straight home win, the longest streak for the club since the 1982-83 season. And at 16-4-4, the Bruins are tied with the New York Rangers for the Eastern Conference lead with 36 points.

"It was a good job on our part," Boston coach Claude Julien said. "I thought there were times when they really took it to us -- their skill level is so high -- but it was a good test for us and I thought we handled it well."

Blake Wheeler, Phil Kessel and Chuck Kobasew also scored for the Bruins. Kessel was still more than four years from being born the last time the team had such a run of success on home ice.

Ty Conklin started in goal for Detroit but was pulled after Kobasew scored 8:01 into the second period. Conklin allowed three goals on just nine shots before Chris Osgood relieved him. Jiri Hudler was the only Red Wing to solve Fernandez, scoring a power-play goal late in the second that made it a 3-1 game.

"They're a good team and they're well-coached and they're organized and their goalie was on," Detroit coach Mike Babcock said. "Their goalie made some huge saves."

Fernandez, who improved to 7-1-1 and hasn't lost in regulation since his first start of the season, started back-to-back games for the first time this season. He said he didn't know at the start of the day if he would get the call, with Tim Thomas feeling the effects of an illness. Fernandez started Friday afternoon in a 7-2 win against the Islanders and was ready to go again Saturday.

"Pretty excited -- they're definitely a team I've played before. I know what they're all about," said Fernandez, who spent most of his career in the Western Conference playing for Minnesota. "I tried to stay calm, as calm as possible, and we played really well defensively. It really helps to get those rebounds cleared out of the way so I can just concentrate on the first shot and let my team do the rest."

Detroit lost for the third time in four games, but suffered only its second regulation defeat on the road this season. The Wings certainly started strong, putting the first eight shots on goal, but Fernandez stopped them all before Wheeler and Kessel scored 4:11 apart to stake the Bruins to a 2-0 lead.

Wheeler finished off a 2-on-1 break with Michael Ryder, who had two assists, beating Conklin at the 12-minute mark for his eighth of the season and second in as many games. Kessel, a red-hot scorer with six goals in his last seven games, doubled the lead with his team-leading 13th of the season off a long wrist shot.

Conklin's night ended after Patrice Bergeron stole the puck from Detroit defenseman Niklas Kronwall and got it to Kobasew for his fifth goal.

The Red Wings, boasting the NHL's top power play, got on the board thanks to Hudler's goal while up a man. Hudler's pass into the crease appeared to hit the skate of Marc Savard and deflect past a helpless Fernandez with 3:35 left in the second.

Krejci got that goal back 6:51 into the third. By assisting on Wheeler's goal he had already extended his point streak to six games, a period in which he has four goals, six assists and a plus-9 rating.



"We've got to keep going and we've got to push forward," Chara said. "We can't be satisfied with the results we have."

Boston still needs a pair of wins to tie the 11-game streak the franchise put together from Dec. 5, 1982-Jan. 29, 1983, but for now the team will enjoy this key win while not going too overboard over its success.

"We're just barely a quarter of the season into this one," Julien said. "We don't want to get too far ahead of ourselves, but it was nice to see that we handled this one well."

Material from wire services and team broadcast media was used in this report.


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