– Czech him out David Krejci, once again, was fantastic. Krejci has been coming around as of late, but tonight he was on a different level. His line was on the ice for all four Bruin goals, and he scored three of them himself. His great effort against Ilya Kovalchuk prior to his game-winner in overtime won’t show up on the stat sheet, but it was a terrific battle won against a bigger opponent. Krejci hasn’t exactly had a great season, but he appears to be rounding into form at the right time.
– Shufflin’ Claude Julien took a bit of a risk by shuffling his lines, but it paid huge dividends. When I heard before the game that Claude was putting Tyler Seguin on the first line, my initial thought was “why break up the Field Trip Line,? It’s been the best trio all season.” However, the new Lucic-Krejci-Seguin line ran like clockwork all night. Claude is usually hesitant to tinker, but tinker he did, and it ended up being a great move.
– The Zan man Greg Zanon fit in seamlessly with his new club tonight, logging 14:58 TOI for the B’s and not looking out of place at all. Zanon also landed a shot on goal, and laid a pretty big hit on David Clarkson in the first. Basically, a stellar debut for Stone Cold Greg Zanon. With Joe Corvo struggling again and Mike Mottau in the press box, Zanon may be staying in the line-up once Johnny Boychuk returns.
– MAAAAAAAAAARRRRTTYYYYYY! Martin Brodeur is getting old, and at the beginning of this season, it looked like he didn’t have much left in the ol’ tank. However, he was excellent tonight. He made at least three highlight reel saves, and generally kept the Devils in it, much like Tim Thomas did for the B’s on Tuesday. Like Thomas, Brodeur wasn’t rewarded with the W, but it was clear that Brodeur isn’t quite ready to be put out to pasture yet.
– Spirited bout Props to both Shawn Thornton and Eric Boulton for their terrific fight in the first. A lengthy, drag-em-out bout that was a testament to the toughness of both players.
– Uh-oh Joe Not a great night for Joe Corvo. I actually thought he was playing better of late, but he had an awful giveaway that led directly to a New Jersey goal, and ended up only netting around 17 minutes of TOI. Considering Andrew Ference left the game with an undisclosed leg injury and that Greg Zanon was making his B’s debut, Corvo needed to step up. Instead, it looked like he may have gotten benched instead. I still think Corvo will step up and surprise people down the stretch, but this wasn’t exactly a stellar start.
– Still no full 60 The B’s came out flying, which was great to see after that stinker on Tuesday. However, they were more studs than duds in the second, watching a 2-0 lead turn into a 3-2 deficit. 40 minute efforts aren’t going to get it done for the B’s down the stretch, and fans really haven’t seen a full-60 from this squad in a few weeks.
What went right
Games are often won and lost on individual battles, and this one was no exception. On Krejci’s game-winner, Krejci himself got the battling started by engaging in a one-on-one with Kovalchuk along the boards. He didn’t win the puck clean, but held up the big Russian enough to force the puck in deep. Zdeno Chara then absorbed a hit from Dainius Zubrus, kept his stick, and retained the puck; another battle won. Chara then took the puck right to Brodeur’s left post, whacked at it a few times, and sent the puck to Krejci in the process. Krejci, staying in the play, banged it home for the win. That’s two big battles won in the “winning time” moments of the game, as Jack Edwards put it. The B’s best players were at their best tonight, and it showed on that play. Winning battles goes a long way towards winning games.
Attaboy Krejci, of course. A walk-off hat trick. Pretty cool to see, and the culmination of stronger and stronger recent play from the Czech pivot.
Providence Shuttle I’m done picking on Corvo, so I’ll go with Kovalchuk. After getting hit pretty well by Brad Marchand on the power play, Kovy was looking for revenge. He took it a few seconds later, walloping Marchand back but hitting him in the face in the process, ending the Devils’ power play in what was a tie game at the time. Not a smart play from a great player.