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As a young boy, I played on a recreation-league soccer team in Brookline, Mass. We weren’t very good, but I liked the team’s name: the Flames.
I’m pretty sure we could’ve given the Boston Bruins a better game than the Calgary Flames gave them Thursday night at TD Garden.
The Bruins won Thursday’s game just 1:14 into the first period. Benoit Pouliot – moving up a line because Brad Marchand had the flu – took the puck through the neutral zone and into the Flames’ zone. Pouliot then dished the puck to Bergeron along the boards by the right circle. Bergeron took the puck behind the net, then at the last second passed it in front to an awaiting Tyler Seguin.
Seguin wasted no time putting it past Calgary goalie Leland Irving for the only goal the Bruins would need. Not that that slowed down the offense or anything.
The Bruins went up 2-0 two minutes later on a bizarre shot by Milan Lucic. Stationed behind the right circle and not facing Leland, Lucic fired off a wristshot. Wherever the puck was supposed to go, it instead bounced off Flames center Olli Jokinen, ricocheting with such force that it went past a very surprised Irving and in for a 2-0 lead at 3:17. Horton and David Krejci both earned assists.
The Flames, meanwhile, looked completely over-matched on offense. Behind so quickly in Thursday’s game, they never established any kind of offensive rhythm, firing off random shots but never really challenging Tuukka Rask. And as the NHL’s leader in goals-against and save percentage, Rask didn’t have too work to hard to corral the few shots the Flames actually put on goal.
The Bruins went up 3-0 at 8:49 on a power play drawn by Zach Hamill on right winger Tom Kostopoulos. The Bruins worked the puck from the left circle to Zdeno Chara at the center of the blue line, who then dished it to Rich Peverley in the right circle. Peverley then cross-passed to Krejci, who fired off a wristshot from 29 feet for the goal.
Though the Bruins’ play slackened slightly following the goal, they still proved far too much for the Flames to handle. Boston played more aggressively, out-shooting Calgary 15-10 in the first, and more physically on face-offs, winning 15 of 17.
Any hope the Flames had of somehow getting back in the game died less than two minutes into the second. Pouliot picked off a Flames pass in the neutral zone, then fed the puck to Seguin. With a typical burst of speed, Seguin took the puck all the way behind the Flames end-line, pulling several Flame defenders along with him and freeing up Bergeron, who snapped Seguin’s centering pass past Irving for the 4-0 lead.
Facing so, so many shots, Irving abandoned the glove save, instead just trying to deflect everything coming his way. That set up plenty of rebound opportunities, and the Bruins didn’t waste them. At 2:06, a shot from Andrew Ference bounced in front of Irving, and Chris Kelly slapped it back in for a 5-0 lead.
Just two minutes later, Horton scored his first goal in similar fashion, banking home a rebound from a shot by Lucic for a 6-0 lead that chased Irving from the goal. He added a second rebound-goal at 14:31, this time following a shot by Dennis Seidenberg at new goalie Miikka Kiprusoff.
Rask’s only real challenge came in the second period, when Jerome Iginla came away with a rare loose puck in the Bruins’ zone and fired point-blank on Rask. Rask came slightly out of the goal and stonewalled Iginla, denying him his 500th career goal for another night.
The Flames never got a better shot at Rask Thursday, and the Bruins always kept enough defenders back to prevent any man-advantage situations for the Flames.
By the time the third period started, the Bruins had already out-shot the Flames 34-19 and won 17 more faceoffs. With victory long-since assured, they took a break in the third period.
That didn’t stop Bergeron scoring his second goal of the game to go up 7-0, but it did lead to two Bruins penalties in the final period. The second featured a big shot by Iginla at Rask with five seconds left in the game, but Rask easily made his 25th save of the game.
Daniel Paille also became the 12th Bruin to score at least one point, putting scoring a breakaway shorthanded goal for a 9-0 lead at 8:43 in the third.
Bergeron and Horton lead the Bruins with two goals and an assist apiece. Seguin scored one and notched two assists, while Pouliot assisted three times. Peverley and Chara each had two assists.
The Bruins will face the Vancouver Canucks Saturday afternoon in their first meeting since the Stanley Cup. “We want van!” the crowd cheered throughout the third.
With an offense this good, the crowd is right to call them out.
Tags: Andrew Ference, Benoit Pouliot, Boston Bruins, Calgary Flames, Chris Kelly, Daniel Paille, David Krejci, Dennis Seidenberg, jerome iginla, leland irving, Miikka Kiprusoff, Milan Lucic, Nathan Horton, Olli Jokinen, Patrice Bergeron, Rich Peverley, tom kostopoulos, Tuukka Rask, Tyler Seguin, Zach Hamill, Zdeno Chara