By René Reyes/DFP Staff
En route to his team’s locker room, Cam Neely, sharply attired in a suit and tie, stood in a spacious but crowded elevator, surrounded by various members of the media.
“We win, huh?” asked the female security guard, who was manning the elevator.
The Boston Bruins president flashed a smile in her direction and mouthed a barely audible “yes.”
Little did the security guard know just how wide the margin of victory was for the reigning Stanley Cup champions at TD Garden last night. Patrice Bergeron and Nathan Horton scored two goals apiece, eight players recorded multi-point games, backup goaltender Tuukka Rask made 25 saves for his third shutout of the season and the B’s (26-10-1) cruised to a 9-0 shellacking of the Calgary Flames (18-19-5).
For left winger Benoit Pouliot, who filled in for an ill Brad Marchand (flu-like symptoms), the B’s offensive explosion – 15 goals in the past two games – does come as a bit of a surprise.
“It’s pretty fun to watch, fun to be a part of,” Pouliot said. “I didn’t expect that at all, scoring like we’ve been scoring all year. Our plus differential is pretty high, and it’s good. But our goalies are the main thing keeping us in the game. We backed them up, keeping the momentum on our side, scoring goals and playing pretty well.”
Bruins head Claude Julien said his squad has remained focused this week in wins against the New Jersey Devils and Flames, despite the looming showdown that is slated for Saturday with the Vancouver Canucks in a rematch of last year’s Stanley Cup Finals.
“I’ve talked about it for the last couple days on how our team has matured,” Julien said. “When you go through a process that you did last year, that’s when you learn so much. In those playoffs, for two months, it was important we focus on one game at a time and didn’t look any further than the next game. We learned from that. That’s the best approach you can take as a group and it served us well.
“We just carried that into this year. Until the media started asking us about that Vancouver game, it was never really talked about in our dressing room, and not purposely, but we just kept talking about the game coming up and that’s how we handle things with our club.”
Just 74 seconds into the contest, center Tyler Seguin put the Bruins on the scoreboard first. Bergeron received a pass from Pouliot, cleverly beat defenseman Jay Bouwmeester behind the net and zipped the puck to Seguin, who notched the goal from the slot.
Left winger Milan Lucic made it 2-0 in favor of the Bruins at 3:17 when his shot from outside the right circle took a quirky bounce off center Olli Jokinen’s skate and into the cage past Flames goalie Leland Irving.
Nearly five minutes later, center David Krejci capped the first-period scoring with a power-play goal, which extended his points-streak to seven games.
After Calgary right winger Tom Kostopoulos was whistled for tripping, the B’s capitalized on their first man advantage of the night when Rich Peverly’s cross-ice pass found Krejci, who buried the one-timer before Irving could slide over to protect the unattended side of the net.
A comeback from a 3-0 deficit after only 20 minutes of play would be difficult for the Flames to orchestrate.
“You can’t just wave a magic wand or anything,” said Bouwmeester, who finished the game at minus-4. “You have get back to basics, just work your way out of it. They are a good team, no doubt. We played bad. They proved it tonight. They will take care of their chances. We didn’t do a good job. We didn’t rebound from that tough start. Those are things you can’t let get out of hand.”
The onslaught only continued, with the Bruins netting four goals in the second period alone.
First, Seguin repaid Bergeron for his earlier goal, finding the B’s alternate captain in the slot for his 10th goal of the season. Then, 47 seconds later, center Chris Kelly tapped in a rebound off an Andrew Ference slap shot, marking the 13th time this year that the Bruins had scored two goals in less than a minute.
Right winger Nathan Horton stretched the Bruins’ advantage to 6-0 at the 4:15 mark, chasing the rookie Irving from the game midway through the second frame. Flames coach Brent Sutter put in Miikka Kiprusoff, who didn’t fare that much better, allowing another second-period goal to Horton, and a pair to Bergeron and right winger Daniel Paille (shorthanded) in the third period.
Rask did feel some sympathy for his counterparts in Irving (15 saves) and Kiprusoff (18 saves), but that still didn’t take anything away from the Bruins’ 9-0 thumping of the Flames.
“I kind of felt for the other goalie who was playing there,” Rask said. “But it’s good to see we’re scoring goals. That hasn’t always been the case for us, and if we can keep that up throughout the season, kind of a lot has to happen.”
Now, with the Flames all a thing of the past, the Bruins can finally turn their attention to facing the Canucks on Saturday.
“It’s going to be a huge game,” Bergeron said. “Obviously, it’s a tough team. We’ve seen it last year. It’s a team that’s very physical, a lot of talent, great power play and now we know them more than we used to last year. It’s going to be a tough battle, and I know it’s going to be an exciting game and we’re all looking forward to it.”