When two teams are as evenly matched as the Boston Bruins and the St. Louis Blues are, it's a shame a game has to end in a shootout.
After 65 minutes of exciting hockey between two of the top teams in the NHL this season, the Blues were able to get the extra point over the Bruins by winning the shootout, 2-1, giving them a 3-2 victory in Boston on Thursday night. The win moved St. Louis ahead of both the Blackhawks and the Wild for first place in the Central Division with 33 points on the season, while the one point the Bruins picked up for the shootout loss adds to their slim lead in the Atlantic Division.
Alexander Steen, who entered Thursday's game tied for the league lead in goals scored with 17, and Derek Roy beat Bruins' goalie Tuukka Rask (12-6-1 this year) in the shootout for the Blues, with Roy ending the game with his tally in the fourth round. Patrice Bergeron opened the shootout with the Bruins' only successful attempt against Blues' goalie Jaroslav Halak (12-3-2), while David Krejci, Jarome Iginla, and Chris Kelly were all turned away by the St. Louis netminder.
Gregory Campbell got the scoring started for the Bruins with just 100 seconds left in the first period, when he scored his first goal of the season. Campbell was able to beat Halak from close range, thanks to passes from Torey Krug and Daniel Paille, who tallied assists on the play. The momentum from the Bruins' goal was short lived, as just 31 seconds later the Blues evened the score with a goal from Derek Roy, which took many awkward bounces before narrowly squirting past Rask to tie the game at 1-1.
The Blues took a 2-1 lead with just under four minutes left in the second period, when David Backes deflected teammate Kevin Shattenkirk's shot into the Bruins' net. The assist was Shattenkirk's 14th on the season and 100th in his three year career. The Bruins wasted little time scoring the equalizer, as Reilly Smith was able to find an open Carl Soderberg for a slap shot goal just over two minutes later for his third goal of the year.
The third period saw no goals scored but tons of up-and-down action from both teams. Loui Eriksson had the best chance late in the third period, as he found himself wide open directly in front of Halak with just over a minute left in the game. Eriksson's shot was just over the crossbar of the net, squandering a chance for the Bruins to end yet another game in dramatic fashion. The overtime period also had a great opportunity for a dramatic ending, as Derek Roy hit the crossbar on a breakaway chance early in the overtime period. Roy was able to overcome his mistake in the shootout, as he picked up the game winner for the Blues past Rask, who took out his frustrations on his goalie stick, the net, and the ice on his way out of the Garden.
The Bruins played this game without two of their top six defenseman, as Dennis Seidenberg joined Adam McQuaid on the injured list with a lower-body injury. Seidenberg was replaced in tonight's lineup by Kevan Miller, who was called up from Providence and made his NHL debut on Thursday night.
Next up for the Bruins is a Saturday afternoon matchup with the Carolina Hurricanes, which will be the second time the two teams have played in five days, as the Bruins defeated the Hurricanes on November 18th 4-1 in Carolina.