By Kevin Flanagan
BSD Bruins Senior Staff Writer
BOSTON – If there is any such thing as a statement game in November in the NHL, the Bruins had one on Friday in their 4-3 comeback victory against the New York Rangers.
Trailing 3-2 with just over half a period to go due to a penalty to Brad Marchand for goalie interference – a call that most definitely should have coincided with an embellishment call on Henrik Lundqvist, who put on an Academy Award worth diving performance – the Bruins, if faced with this situation only a couple of weeks ago, most likely would have folded.
Instead, they battled back and showed that they can play – at least for a game – against the elite of the Eastern Conference. Asked if this was a character win for his team, head coach Claude Julien didn’t hesitate. “Absolutely. I think we knew it was going to be a tough game. I thought we came to play tonight – this afternoon – I guess there was you know, back and forth where momentum switched around you know, but we just stuck with it. Of course, when you go down 3-2, the way we battled back to win, it certainly makes it a character win.”
His resident pest, Brad Marchand, was in total agreement with his bench boss’s opinion saying, “Yeah, we showed a lot of character tonight. I think we have to be really happy about it. How we finished the game, it shows that we’re learning and we’re coming together as a team. These are games you have to know how to win and it’s great that we have different guys stepping up every night.”
However, those in the Bruins locker room know that the current five-game winning streak that the club is currently on hasn’t been all rainbows and unicorns. Center David Krejci was pretty blunt about a couple of gifts the B’s received on the recent road trip. When asked about building on the big win at the Garden on black (and gold) Friday, the assistant captain said, “We’ve won five in a row, and especially the one in Detroit, and in Toronto, maybe we didn’t deserve to win, but we got the two points. We’re finding ways to win hockey games now. So, today was a little bit better, but there’s still some areas we’ve got to improve.”
That was a theme the Nose Face Killah repeated. When the bothersome Bruin was asked if this was a win the team could build on, he said, “It definitely gives us more confidence. We’re starting to be able to learn how to win different games different styles. And you know last game we were able to battle through where, you know; we really didn’t deserve to win in Detroit.”
Before the black and gold eyeglass wearing Bruins’ fans start breaking into their chorus of “I told you so,” keep in mind that the same problems that have haunted the team – the turnovers in their own end and the inexplicable sleep walking in the second-period – were present against the Blueshirts during the matinee on Friday. They had numerous giveaways that could have resulted in goals during the first period, only to be bailed out by goaltender Tuukka Rask on multiple occasions.
Nevertheless, their response in the third period was impressive, and when Krejci posted what would be the game-winner with 3:46 remaining in the third, the Garden erupted like it hasn’t all season.
What this win against the Rangers actually means going forward will probably not be known for sometime. There are still plenty of games yet to be played, and there is just as much of a chance that the team will play to the level of mediocrity that they have during the first two months of the season as there is that they will build on their recent success.
However, one thing they showed on this last Friday afternoon in November is that they will fight back when facing adversity. And that, no doubt, can only be a good thing.