Boston -- Head coach Claude Julien’s line changes paid off Thursday night, as the Bruins -- the lowest-scoring team in the NHL heading into the Northeast Divisional tilt with the Maple Leafs -- erupted for six goals in a 6-2 win over their rivals.
Tyler Seguin, Zdeno Chara and Milan Lucic each had a goal and two assists; Andrew Ference had three assists and Nathan Horton had a goal and an assist as the Bruins bounced back from their 4-1 loss to Carolina on Tuesday.
Chara, Ference and defense creating offense – There has been a heavy emphasis in practice lately on the defense jumping into the offense, and that showed Thursday night. Zdeno Chara had a goal and two assists; Andrew Ference had three helpers and Steven Kampfer had an assist. The Bruins' blue line is doing a great job of knowing when to pinch and getting those first outlet passes through the neutral zone, and Thursday night it started to pay off.
Seguin sparks “Thank you Kessel chants” -- All the picks the Bruins received in the Phil Kessel trade from September 2009 have been used, but chances are, Tyler Seguin will have many more games where Bruins fans will be thanking Kessel for wanting out of Boston with the “Thank-you Kessel” chants, as they did Thursday night. After a learning season with just 22 points last year, Seguin appears to be finding his game and is showing the offensive potential that made him the second overall pick in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft. On Thursday he had a career high in points with a goal and two assists and now has eight points this season.
Lucic and Horton find their game -- After struggling for the first six games and taking costly penalties in the 4-1 loss to the Hurricanes on Tuesday night, Nathan Horton and Milan Lucic avoided the media. But on Wednesday they were front and center accepting blame after practice, and on Thursday night they delivered on the ice. Horton had a goal and an assist and Lucic had a goal and two assists. They were skating hard while using their size to win puck battles. They both acknowledged Wednesday that’s what they needed to do to succeed.
Power play gaining steam -- After failing to score on 22 straight power plays, the Bruins lit the lamp on the man-advantage Tuesday night and did so twice more on Thursday night. Chara and Horton both scored first-period power play goals as Boston went 2-for-5.
Line changes pay off -- Averaging just 1.67 goals per game coming into Thursday’s game with the Leafs, the Bruins were in need of a scoring spark and head coach Claude Julien decided some line juggling may help. And it clearly did. Julien had Chris Kelly centering Lucic and Seguin; Patrice Bergeron centering Brad Marchand and Horton, and David Krejci -- back from three games off with a core injury -- centering Benoit Pouliot and Rich Peverley. The fourth line of Daniel Paille, Gregory Campbell and Shawn Thornton was also strong. Steven Kampfer was also on the blue line for the first time this season.
Here’s what the lineup looked like:
Brad Marchand-Patrice Bergeron-Nathan Horton
Milan Lucic-Chris Kelly-Tyler Seguin
Benoit Pouliot-David Krejci-Rich Peverley
Daniel Paille-Gregory Campbell-Shawn Thornton
Zdeno Chara-Johnny Boychuk
Andrew Ference-Steven Kampfer