The bullies are back.
It is socially unacceptable to be a bully these days, unless you play hockey for the Boston Bruins and are looking to establish rights to your turf…
…which should be any sheet of ice that they skate onto – but that hasn’t always been the case this season, much to the chagrin of coach Claude Julien, who called out his team for being cream puffs after a less than inspiring victory over the bottom feeding Florida Panthers a few nights back.
They responded in Boston Bruins’ fashion with a thorough 4-1 stomping of the Washington Capitals at TD Center in downtown Boston on Saturday afternoon.
It started with the business of establishing turf rights, which Brad Marchand took upon himself and picked a fight with young Mike Ribeiro, giving him a taste of the hate – and ended with Adam McQuaid seeking out Caps center Matt Hendricks for a well deserved beating.
Once the turf was established and the defense properly set, the scoring came – fulfilling the prophesy that intimidation and defense spawn offense.
Nathan Horton, David Krejci, Andrew Ference and Rich Peverley each scored goals and Milan Lucic had three assists, aggressively feeding his teammates the puck from behind the net for two of the tallys. Goaltender Anton Khudobin stopped 32 shots for Boston, who raised their record to 19-4-3 on the season.
The Bruins’ defense was so dominant that Washington’s only goal on the day came courtesy of a Krejci clearing pass glancing off the skate of defenseman Johnny Boychuck’s skate and into the open net past a stunned Khudobin. The goal was credited to Marcus Johansson.
The Bruins’ defense stepped in and challenged and mirrored whatever the Caps tried to do on the offensive end, leading to favorable opportunities for themselves on the other end. Two goals came from the high slot, Horton’s a wicked drive and Ference’s a long range snap shot that Caps’ goalie Michal Neuvirth had no chance of stopping.
The other two came from directly in front of the net where the Bruins simply outmuscled and outhustled the overmatched Capitals, Krejci taking a Lucic feed from behind the net for an easy score, then Peverley stood tall in the middle of chaotic scrum to tap home the final goal.
Now the Capitals have to get back to Washington to take on the Buffalo Sabres on Sunday night, then they embark on an old fashioned AHL road trip, hitting Pittsburgh on Tuesday night before heading out for a back to back “double header” at Winnipeg on Thursday and Friday while the Bruins embark on a four games in six nights road trip starting tomorrow night in Pittsburgh, then Winnioeg on Tuesday, Ottawa on Thursday, winding up in Toronto for a faceoff with the Maple Leafs.
The Physical play was great to see, but it was even better seeing that it was a contained aggression, nothing wild or out of control – just hard nosed Hockey.
Boston Bruins Hockey.