Boston, MA -- Jeremy Reich scored the game-winner with his first NHL goal and Alex Auld stopped 32 in a 2-0 shutout of the Columbus Blue Jackets Saturday at the TD Banknorth Garden in Boston.
The B's hosted the Blue Jackets in the only meeting of the season between these two teams and Columbus' first visit to Boston since January 18, 2003.
The game started with a bang -- literally, as Boston's Milan Lucic thumped Jared Boll, landing five solid blows and sending the latter to the ice, during a an early bout near the Bruins blue line at 2:18.
Then, in a severe juxtaposition Reich Boston's beat cop put the puck by Columbus goalie Fredrik Norrena at 3:20 to stake Boston a 1-0 lead and give his new daughter Addisen (not even a month old) a very nice souvenir -- the puck from her daddy's first NHL goal (in 61 contests in The Show).
Boston Bruins' Jeremy Reich, center celebrates his first period goal against Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Fredrik Norrena, of Finland, as teammates Michael Peca (19), Ole-Kristian Tollefsen of Norway, and Jan Hejda of the Czech Republic look on in a hockey game in Boston Saturday, Dec. 15, 2007. (AP Photo/Winslow Townson)
"It feels good I’m not going to lie," said a smiling Reich after the game. "I had a few chances this year and last year and finally it went in.
"I hope it continues to go in (and) I am just going to keep playing the same way and going to the net."
The rest of the period did not produce in the way of a scoreboard change, which was good for the home fans who saw their B's go to the locker room with a 1-0 lead.
The second period began with the same pacing as the second half of the first, as the two teams engaged in a chess match.
No worries there.
The intrepid Boston fandom revived "The Wave" and, at a TV break at 4:39, most of the crowd on hand made the Garden in December resemble Fenway Park in June.
Unfortunately (or fortunately depending on how you look at it), on the ice the rest of the period was equally as quiet and the clubs went to their respective dressing rooms with the scoreboard reading a familiar 1-0, Boston.
In the third, Boston knew that only a strong showing against their Western Conference brethren would produce a win.
But, perhaps owing to their similarities, neither team could create the kind of offensive chances that lead to goals. That was especially so for Columbus who ran into the very hot glove of Auld and forced the big B's goalie to make 15 saves in the third (compared to Boston, who were only able to put one on Norrena).
"They had a lot of shots from the outside, which is kind of our trademark," said Auld. "They had very few rebounds too.
"We did a great job of picking up trailers off the rush to make sure they didn’t get any second whacks at the puck."
Boston Bruins goaltender Alex Auld makes a glove-save during the third period of their 2-0 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets in a hockey game in Boston Saturday, Dec. 15, 2007. (AP Photo/Winslow Townson)
A late Boston penalty put the night in jeopardy, but Manny Malhotra went to the box to mitigate the threat and give Boston a short man-advantage.
On the power play, Marco Sturm scored his tenth of the season into an empty net at 19:48 to make the final score 2-0 Boston.
Afterward, Bruins head coach Claude Julien was quick to dispel any notion that the Bruins have become a "defense oriented" team.
"I think that’s the biggest myth going around right now (and) we’re starting to get labeled as a defensive team," said Julien.
"I want to get some offense as much as anybody else."
It was the work ethic of his team that concerned Coach Julien after this game and that lack of hard work was what the Bruins bench boss blamed for the B's lack of offense.
"We weren’t pro-active; we gave them way too much room as far as handling the puck for most of the night.," he said. "I thought we just stood around and were content with defending instead of creating some things.
"So, obviously we need to first of all acknowledge it and do something about it."
After a day off, the Bruins return to practice on Monday.
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