|Notes and Observations Week 15: Patriots Blow Out Dolphins 41-13; Clinch AFC East||Connelly’s Top Ten: Patriots Defense, Special Teams Carry Home Team||Fantasy Football Start ‘Em, Sit ‘Em: Week 15||Right Idea? Red Sox Bring in Rick Porcello, Wade Miley, Justin Masterson|
In last night’s home opener at the Garden, Patrice Bergeron received a thunderous ovation in his first game back in front of the home crowd. The Bruins’ intensity in the first period matched that of the crowd, but they were unable to capitalize against Sidney Crosby and the Penguins.
The Bruins managed to control the all around tempo for the majority of the opening frame, until Miroslav Satan put the Pens on top with 1:09 remaining. With Evgeni Malkin streaking as the Satan’s two minute hooking penalty was expiring, Satan jumped out of the box and skated opposite Malkin. Malkin was able to get off a legitimate bid that was denied by Thomas. The rebound took a perfect bounce to Satan who elevated to Thomas’ blocker side for the goal.
Phil Kessel did some top shelf shopping of his own in the second. After going 0-3 with a man advantage in the first, Kessel was able to make the most of the Bruins first power play of the second when he sniped Dany Sabourin’s water bottle to even things up off of Andrew Ference’s feed. David Krejci was also credited with an assist. The goal was Kessel’s fifth and five games this season.
Unfortunately for the Bruins, that would be the only flaw that Sabourin would make in his season debut. Sabourin would end the night with 35 saves on 36 shots. He and Tim Thomas (31 saves) provided good goaltending in a game that had little scoring but plenty of action.
Bergeron was extremely active while registering seven shots on goal, three of which were quality scoring opportunities. Despite everything, the Bruins found themselves deadlocked after three. Things got a little interesting in overtime after each team picked up a minor with under three minutes. Despite playing on more open ice than Alaska, neither team was able to fool either goaltender on this night. For the second time in three games, the Bruins were heading to a shootout.
Thomas was able to stone Kris Letang to keep the Garden on their feet. Phil Kessel responded sneaking one by Sabourin on a backhand juke that caused a Garden eruption. Veteran Peter Sykora quickly quieted the home crowd by knotting things up with a backhand of his own. Bergeron didn’t try anything fancy; he unleashed a rocket that soared wide.
Both goalies shut down the next few skaters until Pittsburg’s other phenom Malkin cruised all the way to the far side boards, before coming back towards the center of the crease and letting off a snap shot across Thomas’ body glove-side. Marc Savard was unable to extend the game any further as Sabourin dotted the exclamation point on his season debut. The Bruins had chances, they just couldn’t cash in.
The B’s now stand at 2-1-2 and face a tough matchup in Buffalo against the 4-0-1 Sabres. The Sabres have outscored opponents 19-8 through their first five games and are 2-0 at home. The Bruins return home Thursday to face Toronto and on Saturday the Thrashers come to the Garden.
Tags: Andrew Ference, Bruins, Dany Sabourin, David Krejci, Evgeni Malkin, Kris Letang, Marc Savard, Miroslav Satan, Patrice Bergeron, Peter Sykora, Phil Kessel, Pittsburgh Penguins, Sidney Crosby, Tim Thomas