Going into Saturday’s game, it seemed unlikely that the Bruins would score three goals.
In the first period.
Against the New York Rangers.
With Henrik Lundqvist in net.
It all happened, strangely enough, capping off yet another game of ‘who knows what’ll happen next’ Bruins hockey. More importantly, it happened with Tuukka Rask exiting the game due to dehydration, just ten seconds into the second period.
But most importantly, the 4-2 win over the Rangers gave a much-needed boost of confidence to the team and some specific Bruins players.
Start with Milan Lucic, who opened up the scoring when the puck deflected off of his skate and past Lundqvist 1:41 into the game. Though it had to be reviewed, it was eventually reversed from the no goal call on the ice. Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien was careful to not call it a “break,” but rather a legitimate goal, while Lucic said he’d take the goal anyway he can get it.
“It happened so fast,” said Lucic. “I just tried to stop the puck with my foot and didn’t try to kick it. Thankfully the call went our way.”
Lucic scored again, about eight minutes later, and then Carl Soderberg followed suit on a breakaway goal. Reilly Smith finished the scoring for the Bruins after a monster shift, when he banked in a Loui Eriksson rebound.
“Right now you needed guys like we just talked about [Reilly Smith & Carl Soderberg],” said Julien. “Everybody needs to respond at this point and I think that everybody can bring something to the table.”
Then, there was Niklas Svedberg’s game. Svedberg came in unexpectedly in the second period and stopped 16 of the Rangers’ 18 shots.
“You have to get ready right away and it all happens pretty quick,” said Svedberg. “It’s all about trying to stay calm and focus on your game and get into the game as fast as possible. The guys helped me out a lot in the beginning, gave me some time to work myself into the game, and I thought after that we played a solid game throughout and a I felt good too so good win for us.”
Though Rask left the game with dehydration, Julien said he is expected to travel with the team to Carolina on Sunday. Julien also made it a point to mention that he was impressed with Svedberg’s game.
“When you’ve got a goaltender who can come in there and do a job like he did today…that’s what you need right now,” said Julien. “We can use all the help we can get, and he was a great help for our team today to step in there cold in the second period and make some of those saves he did in [early on] to keep us in there”
Everyone who needed a boost of confidence got it: Smith, Soderberg, Lucic with goals, Svedberg with a solid performance in relief of Rask, and the Bruins team in general who were winless in their last six games. Even though the Bruins don’t control their own destiny right now, Saturday was as much of a must-win game for their postseason hopes than ever.
“It’s going to be important from here on in,” said Julien. “We talked about how these last nine games will tell a tale and now we’re down to these last seven. If we continue to do those kinds of things we’re giving ourselves a chance.”
The story now shifts to the last seven games. By compiling the positives taken away from the loss against the Ducks on Thursday and the win on Saturday versus the Rangers, the Bruins have a chance to build momentum (yet again) for a season that will be remembered with the team having anything but.
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Mike Miccoli covers the Boston Bruins for The Hockey Writers and has been a credentialed member of the media for all Bruins’ home games for the past five years. As a former player, coach and official, Miccoli has been around the game of hockey since the age of three. Along with his work on THW, Miccoli has also been published in the New England Hockey Journal, Improper Bostonian magazine and on BostInno.