The Bruins have been given today off. They will practice tomorrow at Ristuccia Arena at 10:30 a.m. in preparation for Tuesday’s game against New Jersey. The Bruins will be gunning for their sixth straight win on Tuesday.
With no practice and no media availability, here’s the latest version of Plus/Minus:
+Four-line attack. The Bruins have been relentless offensively because every line is clicking. The Patrice Bergeron line – very tough to call them the second line these days – scored four goals against Buffalo. Nathan Horton scored 16 seconds after Tyler Seguin’s first strike. Rich Peverley, the third-line right wing, tied the game in the second. For all that, fourth-line center Gregory Campbell might have been one of the team’s best forwards in the 6-2 win over the Sabres. Campbell created regular scoring chances. For some reason, Campbell wasn’t credited with an assist on Peverley’s goal, even though he stripped Tyler Myers of the puck.
+Team toughness. Consider the Black-and-Gold personnel on the ice during the Milan Lucic-Ryan Miller incident: Lucic, Horton, David Krejci, Zdeno Chara, and Johnny Boychuk. Had Paul Gaustad, the Sabre best equipped to respond at the time, tried to get at Lucic, he would have faced stiff resistance. The Bruins have eight players who will gladly throw down in such situations: Lucic, Horton, Chara, Boychuk, Campbell, Shawn Thornton, Adam McQuaid, Andrew Ference. Add in Brad Marchand and Chris Kelly, who have also dropped the gloves this season. If the Sabres come calling on Nov. 23, the Bruins have the beef to respond.
+ The performance of referees Ghislain Hebert and Marc Joannette. They were correct to call charging on Lucic. Per the NHL rule book, “a goalkeeper is not ‘fair game’ just because he is outside the goal crease area. The appropriate penalty should be assessed in every case where an opposing player makes unnecessary contact with a goalkeeper.” But their best stuff came late in the game when they tagged Patrick Kaleta and Thornton with matching roughing minors and 10-minute misconducts. The game could have blown apart had Kaleta connected with one of his signature borderline hits. Good to get Kaleta into the room and off the ice at that point.
– Seguin not being on the All-Star ballot. And Marc Staal, he of the zero games played this season, is on the ballot. Yet more confirmation that the All-Star Game is a waste of time.
– The play of Myers. Stripped of the puck before one goal, a brutal giveaway leading to the next one. But the disappointing part was his lukewarm response to Lucic’s hit. Yes, fighting isn’t part of Myers’s game. But he’s 6-foot-8, 228 pounds. Because of Myers’s size, he was in the best position to do something about his goalie getting run over. He didn’t.
– The mayhem that might be coming in the rematch. If things followed The Code, Buffalo’s tough guy would challenge Lucic right away on Nov. 23. Lucic would accept. That would be that. But Buffalo doesn’t have a designated enforcer. What we might see is Buffalo taking a run at either Tim Thomas or Tuukka Rask. That’s a far more dangerous situation than a one-on-one fight. Of, if things really get nuts, the Sabres could go after Boston’s skilled guys. Please recall what took place in 2006-07, when Chris Neil wiped out Chris Drury. The Sabres responded by sending out the shock troops against Jason Spezza’s line. Of course, the highlight was Ray Emery fighting Martin Biron, Andrew Peters, and just about all of greater Buffalo.