Working to post some points
Line played well, with no results
For one complete shift in Tuesday’s second period, the Bruins’ first line did everything right. Michael Ryder and Nathan Horton nearly drove the Senators through the end boards with the ferocity of their forecheck. They cycled the puck down low.
Then when Ottawa defenseman Sergei Gonchar gained control and tried to chip the puck off the boards and out of the zone, Marc Savard pinched down the wall and cut off the pass. Ryder settled the puck and dished to Horton. The right wing snapped a sizzling shot that thudded off goalie Brian Elliott. As the rebound bounced into the air, Savard, crashing the crease, waited for it to dip below crossbar level. With a quick flick, Savard bunted the puck over Elliott and toward the net.
Ping. Goal post.
“I’m looking for a new line,’’ cracked Savard after the 6-0 win. “ ‘Stick with it’ is getting a little old.
“It’s frustrating. We’re all around the net. I thought, ‘Wait, don’t get excited.’ When it was up in the air, I waited to bat it in. I waited for it to come down below the crossbar.
“I whacked at it, it hit the top of my blade, it hit the post. I was almost going to skate right into the end wall.
“But the best thing is that you have fun when you’re winning like this. Me, Mike, and Nate, we didn’t get the results, but it was nice to see the guys get rewarded.’’
Exactly two weeks prior to Tuesday’s win, Savard and Horton were the Benched Brothers. For a third-period stretch in a 4-3 win at Tampa Bay, Savard, Horton, and Tyler Seguin paid the price when coach Claude Julien went with a three-line attack.
Last Thursday, after Savard coughed up the puck to the Wild’s Cal Clutterbuck — a turnover that led to Minnesota’s game-winning goal — Savard had his ice time cut once more.
Against the Senators, Savard and Horton — the right wing returning after a two-game absence because of an undisclosed injury — played as though they never wanted to sit again.
Savard landed a team-high four shots, not including the puck that kissed the right post. His linemates added three shots apiece.
It was an especially courageous game by Horton, who has shown flickering levels of effort and commitment as a first-year Bruin. Horton battled — literally, as he dropped the gloves with Brad Winchester in the second period — and skated at a frenzied pace.
“I thought Horton skated really well tonight,’’ Julien said after the rout. “He had a couple good opportunities. If anything, I thought his hands might have been a little rusty.
“But the rest of his game, it was nice to see him skate that way. When he skates the way he skated tonight, he’s a good player. He creates things and opportunities.
“Obviously he was involved and got into a scrap. He’s a pretty tough individual as well. We need him to play that type of game that he did tonight.’’
Late flurry In Tuesday’s second period, with his team trailing by three goals, Ottawa bruiser Matt Carkner did things the right way. Carkner, trying to spark his team, approached Shawn Thornton and engaged in an honest fight with the Boston tough guy.
But Carkner didn’t do himself any favors late in the third when he picked on non-fighter Daniel Paille. After a series of cross-checks, Carkner got Paille to drop the gloves for the first time as an NHLer, according to hockeyfights.com. As expected, the 6-foot-4-inch, 238-pound Carkner got in the best licks early. But after linesmen Derek Nansen and Tony Sericolo stepped in, Paille dropped several lefts on Carkner’s chin.
Both players recorded fighting majors, while Carkner was tagged with an additional roughing minor.
“I thought we were trying to show some class and be fair by putting our fourth line out there for the power play,’’ said Julien. “Just because one player is overly frustrated doesn’t mean you have to take it out on the whole team.
“Our guys handled it well. They stood up for themselves and we did what we had to do.’’
Slick shot Seguin, named to the All-Star Game’s SuperSkills competition Tuesday morning, showed off his stuff that night. In the second period, after David Krejci found him open in the high slot, Seguin stepped into a shot and picked the top corner. “It’s great to have a great shot like Seggy’s,’’ said Blake Wheeler. “When he’s got it all alone like that, he’s going to score nine times out of 10. I don’t think we’ve seen him skate the way he can skate yet. He’s got a gear that not many guys have in this league. I think when he gets a little confidence, you’re going to see that more and more.’’ . . . After recording his 23d career shutout Tuesday, Tim Thomas should be back in the crease tonight against Philadelphia . . . Milan Lucic remains day to day. Lucic appeared to hurt an arm or shoulder against Pittsburgh Monday . . . The Bruins were given yesterday off. They hadn’t had a breather since Jan. 4, the day after concluding their five-game road trip . . . The Flyers arrived in Boston early yesterday morning following a 5-2 road win over Buffalo. The Flyers also scrapped practice yesterday.
Fluto Shinzawa can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.