First Line Keeps Form, B’s Storm Past Canes
Oh, what a difference a year has made.
In Saturday afternoon action, Iginla and the Bruins top line led the charge, storming past the Carolina Hurricanes 5-1 and extending Boston’s winning streak to eight games.
Iginla has helped solidify the first line as a consistent threat and one of the leagues more productive lines capable of playing physical hockey with the ability to score.
“He’s exactly what he was advertised as,” said Bruins head coach Claude Julien. “A good team player, a hard-worker, competitive guy, and I can see why he had a letter in Calgary because he’s got that leadership quality in him.”
After todays the game, the first line has combined for 47 points in the last 14 contests.
“We’re doing a good job supporting each other and using our strength and our speed. When we get fore checking, it tends to turn pucks over and get some zone time where we’re able to create some chances.” said Bruins top line forward Milan Lucic. “It just feels like everything is clicking for our line right now. It’s a good feeling that we have right now, we’ve got to keep pushing and keep wanting more.”
Lucic led the Bruins with 5 hits on the afternoon in 16:04 TOI while tallying a goal and two assists.
The goal came on a beauty of play from David Krejci in the slot, who made pass while falling to the ice after being tripped up by Canes captain Eric Staal for his first of three assists in the game.
“I was talking to him after the play and he said he was going to shoot,” said Lucic recalling the goal. “It was kind of a lucky play to come back to me, but again you’ve got to be lucky to be good sometimes.”
Lucic would later provided a dish of his own after forcing the puck from Carolina D-man Jay Harrison in the corner, finding Iginla in front who deposited the puck over the glove of Hurricanes goaltender Cam Ward for his first goal of the afternoon.
The 25-year-old forward was also credited with a secondary assist on Iginla’s second goal of the game, which came only 13 seconds after Chris Kelly made it 3-1. It is the quickest back-toback goals by the Bruins this season.
The explosive day brings all three forwards above the 50-point mark on the season with Iginla leading the team in goals (23), and Krejci in assists (43).
HAMILTON BRINGS THE HAMMER DOWN
After sitting out twice this week as a healthy scratch, Bruins defenseman Dougie Hamilton made his presence felt with a massive open-ice hit on Carolina forward Jeff Skinner.
“I was kind of looking for him and waiting for him to cut to the middle,” said Hamilton. “Luckily he did. I got good contact, so it was kind of nice to have one of those.”
Gif courtesy of @PeteBlackburn
BOYCHUK BEING BOYCHUK
Defenseman Johnny Boychuk was leading all Bruins in ice-time when he and Carolina forward Patrick Dwyer tangled sending Boychuk into the end boards feet first.
Boychuk was able to get back to his feet under his own power after the scary collision, but would be helped by trainers to the Bruins bench. But his day was not over, Boychuk barely missed a shift.
“Did you expect anything different?” said line mate Torey Krug, who jumped in to defend Boychuk after he crashed into the boards. “That’s just Johnny being Johnny.”
Just minutes after gingerly exiting the ice, Boychuk took a shot off the same right leg that he was favoring after crashing into the boards.
“Yeah, he’s a warrior and he’s durable and you know he’s not afraid to get his body in front of pucks and get himself in those dirty areas to take big hits and he gives big hits,” added Milan Lucic. “He’ll block big shots to make big plays.”
But Boychuk would not accept any of the spotlight.
“It’s not just me, It’s our whole persona,” said Boychuk of the team’s toughness. “You wanna get back out there and do whatever it takes to win. It’s not just me, it’s the whole team.”
Bruins center Patrice Bergeron was whistled for three minor penalties… Torey Krug scored the team’s 5th and final goal of the day, giving him 14 on the season, surpassing Bobby Orr for goals by a Bruins rookie blue-liner… Bruins goaltender Chad Johnson made 29 saves in the contest, the win moves his record to 14-3-1… The Bruins are now 45-17-5 and stand atop the Eastern Conference standings.
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