Good time, especially for Pouliot
Through two periods of Monday night’s 8-0 demolition of the Toronto Maple Leafs, Benoit Pouliot logged 8 minutes and 16 seconds of ice time.
Pouliot, however, made efficient use of his playing time.
He skated 12 shifts during the first two periods, 18 overall for 12:12 - assisting on Chris Kelly’s goal at 2:25, then scoring two, at 10:58 of the first to make it 3-0 and at 2:31 of the second to make it 5-0.
It resulted in Pouliot’s third multiple-point game of the season and fourth two-goal game of his career. His 3 points tied a career high.
“He made the most of his opportunities that he had out there,’’ said Johnny Boychuk, who was credited with the primary assist on Pouliot’s first goal, when the Bruins left winger, planted in front of the Maple Leafs net, redirected Boychuk’s blue-line blast past Maple Leafs goaltender James Reimer. “That’s what happens when you bear down and try not to do too much.’’
Boychuk offered one word to describe Pouliot’s 11th goal of the season: “Unbelievable,’’ he said.
“First, we haven’t had many tips this year,’’ Boychuk said. “And he tipped it over, top shelf. So it was pretty intense.’’
That would be another way to describe the manner in which the Pouliot-Kelly-Brian Rolston line attacked the Maple Leafs’ zone, combining for 9 points on four goals and five assists, including 4 points by Rolston, whose sixth goal of the season came at 19:25 of the second period playing with David Krejci and Milan Lucic.
“We’re getting more familiar with one another and we’re not the flashiest of players,’’ said Kelly, who centered Pouliot and Rolston. “I don’t think we’ve been mistaken for that, but I think we use one another well, we come up the ice together well and support one another well.’’
When Pouliot scored at 2:31 of the second to spark a three-goal burst in the period, his linemates made it clear they would be looking to help him get the hat trick.
“It’s always nice to hear things like that from the guys,’’ Pouliot said.
Pouliot appeared to have his hat trick when Kelly found him with a backdoor pass in the second. Pouliot, however, failed to convert.
“We seem like we’re kind of finding each other pretty well in the offensive zone,’’ Pouliot said. “You have Rollie supporting great and then you have Kells doing the same thing. It’s a matter of finding the guys on your line and connecting and talking a lot.
“They’re two older guys and it is fun to play with them,’’ said the 25-year-old Pouliot. “They talk a lot and so I just try to do what I’m supposed to do.’’
In this third game back after missing three in a row because of an undisclosed injury, Pouliot extended his point streak to three games (2-3-5).
“Benny skates extremely well,’’ Kelly said. “He shoots the puck extremely well. He’s a big guy and he’s good in the corners and he’s shifty. I think there’s a reason why he was a high first-round pick [No. 1, fourth overall, by the Minnesota Wild in 2005].
“It was great to see him score a couple,’’ Kelly said. “He made a nice pass to me and I didn’t have to do much. I’m just happy that he’s doing well.’’
With a West Coast trip beginning Thursday night at San Jose and culminating with back-to-back games at Los Angeles Saturday and Anaheim Sunday, the romp over Toronto seemed to put the Bruins on the right road as the end of the season draws to a close.
“It’s huge,’’ Pouliot said of the victory, which enabled the Bruins to sweep six games against Toronto by a combined score of 36-10. “I mean, there’s not many games left and we’ve got one every other day, so it’s not easy on the body.
“At the same time, we’re trained and we’re fit for that, but going on the road is not going to be easy with the time change and everything,’’ Pouliot said. “Going out west is always a tough time, but if we play like we played the last two games, we’ll be fine.’’
Of course, after Monday night, Pouliot could probably wing his way out to the coast under his own power.
“Oh, it makes you feel good, that’s for sure,’’ he said. “We’ve just got to make sure we bring this wherever we’re going next.’’
Michael Vega can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.