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Milan Lucic’s two-goal game put Bruins over Flames 3-1

February 22, 2011

Milan Lucic's two-goal night was the difference in Calgary as he lifted his team to a hard-fought 3-1 win. (AP)

Milan Lucic‘s two goals and Tim Thomas‘ 28-save effort propelled the Bruins to a 3-1 victory over the red hot Flames. The win gave the Bruins a 3-0 record to start their six-game road trip. Lucic’s goals came in the first and last minute of the game and Brad Marchand scored his 19th goal of the year in between. Tim Thomas looked sharp after not playing for a full week. David Krejci came through with two assists, his third straight game with two points.

The Bruins came out blazing against the Flames, scoring the opening goal in the first minute of the game. Adam McQuaid gloved a lob at center ice and then found David Krejci quickly with the Bruins ready for reentry. Krejci then skated in and fired a hard pass to a streaking Milan Lucic on the doorstep for the tap-in goal past a helpless Miikka Kiprusoff. The Bruins came out skating well and being strong in the corners and their legs got them the lead early.

The fast pace game would continue when Michael Ryder was called for hooking 2:30 into the contest, giving the Flames an early chance to erase the Bruins lead. The Bruins leaned on Tim Thomas to make some saves and to control some rebounds in the first minute of the penalty and then were able to kill most of the second half away from their net thanks to great forechecking.

The Flames would respond from the early adversity by finding their skating legs and throwing pucks at Thomas at will. Thomas, looking fresh after a week off, was up to the task, making saves and clearing them to safe areas. The first period was played a lot inside the blue lines, with the teams exchanging blows with long periods of offense and not much struggle in the neutral zone. However, the Bruins early goal would hold up for the remaining 19 minutes of the period despite being outshot 13-7.

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The Bruins took it to the Flames in the opening minutes of the second period but couldn’t beat Kiprusoff, who was very solid after letting in the early goal. The Flames best chance in the first half of the game was when a hard pass from the dot went off of Tomas Kaberle‘s stick and off the cross bar during a nice stretch of play for the Flames.

The teams continued to trade punches in the second period, this time with a more fluid pace, lending to the Western Conference style of play that is much more North-South than East-West. The first penalty of the period would come nearly 18 minutes into the frame when the Bruins went on the power-play thanks to Curtis Glencross‘ high stick. The penalty ended up being a double-minor although it wasn’t clear who was injured on the play and if any blood was drawn. The first penalty would expire but the Bruins would take most of the second half of the four minutes into the final period with a 1-0 lead in tow.

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At the beginning of the period the mystery of the high stick was uncovered. It turned out that when Glencross butt-ended Michael Ryder the infraction was noted by a lineman who didn’t have the authority to make the call. So 90 seconds later when play stopped, the referees talked it over and a penalty was called. Also, Ryder wasn’t on the bench to start the third period, indicating an injury. He would return to the bench a few shifts into the period however.

The rest of the penalty went by the wayside as the Bruins did little to try to extend their lead. They would expand their lead a few minutes later though when Brad Marchand found himself in great position to eat up a rebound and roof it past Kiprusoff for the cushion. Andrew Ference threw a puck on net and with Patrice Bergeron taking his man out of the play, the puck was able to find its way to Marchand on the weak side who lifted it over the already committed Kiprusoff.

The Flames nearly scored with under eight minutes left when a shot went off the post, hit Thomas, and then squeaked just past the far post. It was a small miracle that the puck didn’t end up in the net. The Flames would take the near goal to heart and turn on the jets down the stretch.

To make things worse for the Bruins, they couldn’t muster much of any offense, forcing Thomas to be on top of his game at the most crucial of times. Patrice Bergeron would make things really interesting when he took a slashing call with 3:04 left in regulation, giving the Flames a chance to pull their goalie early and get a two-man advantage.

The Flames would score without having to pull their goalie, just 30 seconds into the penalty when they went tic-tac-toe for a beautiful goal. Curtis Glencross finished the play off with a layup of a goal. Jarome Iginla‘s presence in deep made Thomas respect the shot and left him helpless to stop Glencross’ shot.

The Flames would pull their goalie with 1:20 left in regulation and Milan Lucic would finish off the Flames with an empty-netter. The Bruins were able to clear their zone when David Krejci hacked a puck into the Flames zone and Lucic was able to beat his man up the ice and finish off the game with a tap-in from the paint.

The Bruins will take their three-game winning streak to Vancouver on Saturday night, the second of their tour of Western Canada.

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