Bruins’ ‘Gutsy Effort’ Outweighs Slow Start, Shootout Win Caps Fairly Successful First Month

Zdeno Chara, Torey Krug, Milan Lucic, Nick Bonino, Cam FowlerBOSTON — The Bruins were more trick than treat for much of their Halloween tilt with the Anaheim Ducks, but when it was all said and done, there was just enough of the good stuff to come away with the two points.

Cheesy analogies aside, the Bruins won a hockey game in which they had no business winning for the better part of 60 minutes, and they will certainly take that. One night after losing a highly contested Eastern Conference Finals rematch in Pittsburgh, the Bruins bounced back to get a 3-2 shootout win over Anaheim.

It certainly wasn’t easy, and it was far from pretty. Boston came out and played its worst period all season in the first period, managing just one shot on goal. An ugly turnover from the revamped third line had the Bruins down 1-0 after one. The second period wasn’t much better with Boston tying the game only to give up a goal with 20.9 seconds in the second period.

The Bruins didn’t necessarily storm back to win the game, but they found a way nonetheless. A power-play goal late in the third period tied the game, and the Bruins eventually came away with the shootout win. They were far from their best on Thursday night, but it’s tough to be upset with a night in which you grab two points.

“That goal in the last 20 seconds of the second would have probably broken a lot of teams’ backs; it didn’t break ours,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said. “We came back out in the third and fought. I’d rather give my team credit for this one rather than say we’re fortunate. I’m not gonna stand here and say we’re playing great hockey. It’s a game of momentum and right now the momentum is not quite where we want it to be. We played a tough game yesterday in Pittsburgh and it took a toll on us. For us to come out here and play a gritty game and to win this against a team that was fresh and waiting for us here, it was a real gutsy effort on our part.”

With the first calendar month of the season gone, Thursday night’s game was something of a microcosm for the entire season thus far. Have the Bruins been a great team so far? No, not really. Have they had some spots where they’ve made some mistakes and played some uncharacteristically sloppy hockey? Certainly. But when you look at the win-loss record, which is all that matters, you can’t argue with the results. The Bruins are 8-4-0 right up there with the league’s best teams.

“Good teams find a way to get wins and it’s important for us,” defenseman Torey Krug said. “We didn’t have the greatest game but at the end of the day we have two points and we get to move on from here.”

The shootout win featured some uneven play in all three areas of the ice. The Bruins have yet to find solid, consistent production from all four lines — admittedly no easy task — but they are showing signs of coming around. After the third line coughed up the game’s first goal, Carl Soderberg rebounded to score his first career NHL goal. After Zdeno Chara couldn’t score on the power play in the first period because he couldn’t get a puck from his skates to his stick blade, he finished the game-tying power-play goal in the final minutes of the third.

The slow starts have become something of a habit for the Bruins and no doubt those will need to get better moving forward.

“It seems like maybe when we get behind then we start feeling the urgency to start playing with more energy and more pressure,” Chara said. “But we just have to have better starts. We can’t be waiting the whole time to fall behind and then chasing those goals. That’s and area we have to improve for sure.”

That’s far from the only area to improve upon. Those changes will come, and the Bruins will get better. But on Thursday night, like much of the seasons’ first month, the results speaks for themselves — and that’s all that really matters.

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