Luckily for the Bruins, style points aren’t taken into account when sorting out the standings. If they were, the B’s might be in trouble. But those aren’t the points that matter. The only points that mean anything that are the ones that teams get for wins, and on Thursday night, the B’s got two very important points.
Boston was able to avoid losing three straight by beating the Ottawa Senators 2-1 at Scotiabank Place. It wasn’t pretty. In fact, there wasn’t much of anything that was aesthetically pleasing for Bruins fans to feel good about — other than the final score, of course.
There’s no denying that the Bruins are in a bit of a lull right now. Injuries are starting to pile up and the more glaring problem is that the team just isn’t playing its best hockey right now. They’re far from it. However, the B’s were able to find just enough and squeak out a win over a division rival on a night where they were operating well below the level they’re accustomed to playing at.
Whatever the reason was — and you could blame a handful of things — Boston never looked quite right Thursday night. The breakouts were sloppy once again. There were a handful of turnovers or misplays in the neutral zone. There were missed opportunities offensively, none more damning than a blown 3-on-1 from the first line in the second period.
But in the end, the Bruins reversed their third-period fortunes as of late by scoring with just 1:04 remaining. Fittingly, it was all about getting back to simplicity. Patrice Bergeron won the offensive zone faceoff to Zdeno Chara. The big defenseman made the simple pass across the point to Dennis Seidenberg. The German defenseman hammered the one-timer toward the net by Ottawa goalie Robin Lehner with Bergeron and Tyler Seguin getting traffic in front.
It’s a great way to finally reward one of the club’s unsung heroes in Seidenberg. He continues to play monster minutes, doing all of the little things like blocking shots and taking the body, but rarely shows up on the stat sheet. But there he was with the clutch game-winner, giving Boston a much-needed two points.
“I don’t know. I can only say that we didn’t really have our legs or the confidence tonight,” Seidenberg said of the club’s efforts. “We were struggling the whole night, and the only thing that matters is we got the two points.”
Bruins head coach Claude Julien admitted that there’s still plenty of room for improvement, but with the adversity the club has faced lately, it’s tough to complain when you get out of town with the win.
“I don’t think we’re playing our best hockey right now,” he said. “But what I liked about tonight is we fought through it. There were mistakes but I saw an effort to fight through certain things. I thought the second half of the third period we started to turn the corner. We found a way to win. We realize that right now it’s not easy and we’re fighting through a lot of things. Not everybody is playing their best and those things happen over the course of the season, and you want to play through those.”
In a welcomed change from losses to both Pittsburgh and Winnipeg to begin the current four-game road trip, the third period was the Bruins’ best period. They looked to finally find their legs and maybe just as importantly, they found their nastiness. Players like Milan Lucic and Shawn Thornton started to get a little testy, but they kept their composure, too. There were no dumb penalties, but at a certain point, it looked like the Bruins had enough.
As it has in the past, those types of physical encounters bred momentum. The Bruins capitalized on that momentum, and while they waited a while to finally cash in, they’ll take it nonetheless.
They’re in the middle of the grind right now. Things aren’t necessarily going the way they want them to, so when you get wins like they did Thursday night, you gladly accept it, no matter how ugly it may be.