At times it wasn’t pretty, but the Black and Gold got the result they wanted.
After a subpar 40 minutes, the Bruins put the foot on the gas pedal with sustained pressure and good defense in the third period. That eventually paid off in overtime - after Shea Weber tied the game at 2-2 late in the third - when Brad Marchand’s nifty game-winner snapped the B’s two-game losing streak in their 3-2 victory over the Nashville Predators Thursday night at the TD Garden.
Here are three takeaways from Boston’s 41st game of the season.
Svedberg impresses in NHL Debut
When Niklas Svedberg was recalled from Providence the last week, the thinking was he would get one of the starts in a home and home with the Ottawa Senators. But Dennis Seidenberg’s season ending injury in the B’s 5-0 win last Friday over their Atlantic Division rivals altered that plan and Tuukka Rask wound up getting his second start in as many nights.
Six nights later, Svedberg got the call up again and finally gave Rask a much-needed breather. And its safe to say he fared well in his first career start in the National Hockey League.
As any rookie who makes their first start, Svedberg was jittery in the opening 20 minutes giving up several juicy rebounds. But as the game went on, his rebound control got better, and, despite some sloppy play from his teammates, Svedberg kept his team in it throughout making 33 saves in his first career NHL victory.
“There were some rebounds in the first period and stuff, but I got going pretty good with some shots outside early on, so it was good,” Svedberg said about his debut. “Ever since I started playing, this is where I wanted to be so I’m real happy with the win. It’s just one game, but it’s real fun to get the win in my first game.”
Svedberg was reassigned to Providence shortly after the overtime win. But Claude Julien expects him to be back in the near future.
“He’s heading back to Providence, but there’s a good chance you’ll see him here again real soon,” Julien said about Svedberg.
After Thursday’s performance, its hard to argue against the seventh-year Bruins coach.
Spooner continues to impress
Speaking of Providence, the Bruins are getting healthier, and many of the Baby Bruins will be sent back down to get more seasoning and game action. Even with forwards Chris Kelly (broken tibia) and Loui Eriksson (concussion) healing up from their respective injuries, and Shawn Thornton’s suspension ending next week, Ryan Spooner continues to make his case to keep his spot in the front 12.
Spooner’s speed and crafty playmaking has been on display since being called up with the big club back in December. That speed and crafty playmaking was on display again for most of Thursday’s contest, including Johnny Boychuk’s goal at 4:55 of the third to tie the game at 1-1.
Its amazing that Spooner is still without a goal in 18 career games with Boston. It should only be a matter of time, though, when Spooner lights the lamp for the first time as he should stay in The Hub of Hockey for the foreseeable future.
“First couple of games I was here, I was not really making anything happen,” Spooner said about his time in Boston these last few weeks. “I feel I’ve kind of went up and down [to start], and I think if I can maintain creating chances and using my speed, I’ll be fine.”
Bruins’ top line en fuego
For those who don’t speak any spanish, en fuego means on fire in english. That is probably the last time you’ll see me write in a different language again, but there’s no denying that David Krejci, Jarome Iginla and Milan Lucic are one of the hottest lines right now in the NHL.
Driving hard to the net, as they usually do, Lucic and Krejci assisted with Iginla’s 13th of the season to put the Bruins ahead 2-1 with 7:31 left in regulation. Each of the three extended their point streak to six games with the goal.
“It all starts with Krejc turning the puck over there and I just saw a 2-on-2 happen and Iggy did a great job of getting around the defenseman there and was able to present his stick and I just tried to put it on there,” said Lucic, who tallied the primary assist on Iginla’s goal. “It ended up working out and being a big goal.”
Even with Marchand’s winner, the B’s first line was arguably the best unit Thursday night. The lines beneath them struggled on and off through the first two periods until all four units came together in the third, but the top line kept the pressure on Nashville goalie Mark Mazanec combining for nine of the team’s 25 shots.
Iginla’s presence has certainly been a nice boost for the top line, and its entertaining to see the longtime Flames captain gel with Lucic and Krejci.
All three are providing the Black and Gold with scoring, grit and playmaking. Not bad for a trio that’s only been together for four months.
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