Boston, MA -- The Boston Bruins defeated the Chicago Blackhawks, 3-1, Thursday night at the TD Banknorth Garden. Phil Kessel had two goals to pace the Black & Gold, while Tim Thomas was solid between the pipes with 26 saves.
"We are playing pretty good hockey," said Kessel after the game. "Our goalies are playing well.
We are six and three and need to keep working hard and continue to get better."
The B's hosted the Blackhawks in the only game between these two storied teams during 2007-08 campaign and the Blackhawks first visit to Boston since Jan. 30, 2003.
Both sides featured a lineup full of young stars -- Phil Kessel, David Krejci and Milan Lucic to name a few on the Boston bench, and Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews, in particular, on the Chicago side.
However, nobody on either team, young or old, shone very brightly, as the first period started very, very slowly. In fact, through 10-minutes, the Bruins had just four shots on goal to the Blackhawks three tries. As a result, the Garden remained uninspired -- and quiet.
Boston Bruins' Zdeno Chara (33), of Slovakia, fights Chicago Blackhawks' David Koci, of the Czech Republic, during the first period of an NHL hockey game, Thursday, Oct. 25, 2007, in Boston. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)
The entire building erupted, however, when with 8:18 on the clock, Bruins captain Zdeno Chara took exception to some shoving after a Tim Thomas save. He then proceeded to obliterate Chicago defenseman David Koci in a decidedly one-sided fight.
“Z got challenged and he went after him and certainly gave us some momentum," explained Boston head coach Claude Julien. "I thought that really gave us some life after that so it was certainly a positive thing."
"It’s just part of the game," said the Bruins captain. "He was doing his job going hard to the net and I was doing my job protecting the crease and the goalie.
"Things like that happen."
Following Chara's personal pugilistic victory, the Bruins faithful continued to make their presence felt and the B's play seemed to take a higher gear. The Bruins were unable to take advantage of their newfound momentum, however, and the scoreboard remained static. Despite Boston outshooting Chicago in the period, 9-6, the game remained tied at zero going into the first intermission.
Kessel remedied all of that at 2:08 of the second when he coverted on a rink-length rush.
Boston Bruins' Philip Kessel (81) moves in to score on Chicago Blackhawks goalie Nikolai Khabibulin, of Russia, as Magnus Johansson, right, of Sweden, defends in the second period of an NHL hockey game, Thursday, Oct. 25, 2007, in Boston. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)
Boston's young sniper skated unabated down the right side of the sheet, used Chicago defenseman James Vandermeer as a screen, and beat Nikolai Khabibulan cleanly to make the score, 1-0, Boston.
With two Bruins in the box, the Blackhawks tied the score, 1-1, when Chicago's Toews converted on a power play at 5:13.
Kessel did it again though, converting on another rink-lenth rush at 14:09 -- this time however, he made sure that he made Sportscenter.
In what could only be described as a "filthy" move, Kessel faked the entire building out of their seats before surprising the Chicago netminder yet again.
When all was told at the end of the frame, however, it was Chicago that had garnered much of the period's puck posession time. But thanks to Kessel's antics and Thomas' glove, the Bruins led, 2-1, as the end of the session sounded.
Boston's Glen Metropolit added his first goal as a member of the Bruins via a nifty snapshot at 7:08 of the third to put the B's up 3-1.
"It’s nice to contribute offensively," said Metropolit. "I’m playing with (Shawn) Thornton and (Milan) Lucic and our jobs are to create some energy and that’s what we are trying to do every night.
"(But) It’s always nice to score."
Boston Bruins' Tim Thomas, right, stops a shot by Chicago Blackhawks' Robert Lang, of the Czech Republic, in the second period of an NHL hockey game, Thursday, Oct. 25, 2007, in Boston. Boston won 3-1. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)
And although Boston's Thomas was continuously tested in the third but remained unbeaten in the stanza to finish with 26 saves on the evening.
"Timmy was very good tonight," said Julien. "He’s still the same goaltender we’ve seen since day one -- a goaltender that battles, a goaltender that competes. And he’s certainly given us some big games."
Thomas and his teammates have also begun to defend their den consistently.
"We have to build a reputation that (says) you’re a hard team to beat at home," said Julien. "Right now, we’re doing that."
The Bruins next play on Saturday versus the Philadelphia Flyers. Game time is 4:00 p.m.
1 - 0 BOS