BOSTON – Pulling an Ovechkin.
That’s what Boston playmaker Marc Savard called his hysterical celebration after his game-tying goal at 14:12 of the second period tonight at TD Banknorth Garden.
The Boston Bruins went on to win the game, 3-2, in overtime, on a David Krejci goal. But that wouldn’t have been possible without a diving play to keep the puck alive by Patrice Bergeron and then a power-play goal in front from Savard, who promptly skated full speed to the right-wing half-wall and thrust himself into the glass.
“I was excited,” said Savard, who was coming off his second straight All-Star weekend appearance. “I’ll tell you, it was a tough game because it was a busy weekend – a lot of stuff going on. I really had to dig down deep. It wasn’t one of my best efforts.”
“I think that’s why I was excited so much,” the center continued when asked about Bergeron’s dramatic dive and pass to the front. “He makes a great play to keep it alive, it gets over to me and I caught (Jose) Theodore cheating.”
For the Bruins to make their banner regular season continue and then mean something in the annals of the franchise with a big-time postseason, Savard’s going to have to pull more Ovechkins, and the Bruins are going to have to solve more Ovechkins, Semins, Kovalevs, Gomezes and Eliases. That’s why taking down the Caps was so important. The Bruins had already proven they could beat Montreal and New Jersey. And they earned a point in their lone meeting with the New York Rangers. But Washington was the only Eastern Conference team they had played more than once and failed to at least take one point from. Now the battle is really on, with the Bruins and Caps both earning head-to-head victories and setting the tone for what might be a dramatic seven-game series come spring.
“We know that if we’re going to get to where we want to go, we might have to play these guys in the playoffs,” Savard said. “We’ve got to get some wins against them in the regular season and tonight we were able to squeeze it out.”
Winger Shawn Thornton, who scored the Bruins’ other regulation goal, refuses to look beyond the regular season. But even he knew it was big to take down the Caps.
“We lost the first two to them and we definitely wanted to play better. They’re second in the East right now behind us and they’re creeping up,” he explained. “So we wanted to go out and have a strong game. We weren’t really thinking too far beyond that.”
The Bruins need only look at their regular-season failures against Montreal the last two seasons to see how those little glitches in the schedule, those inadequacies you can have against one team, can snowball and make life difficult. Although the Bruins proved their mettle against the Habs in the playoffs last season, earlier wins against them could’ve helped them avoid that match-up altogether. Now they at least have a chance of grabbing a tie-breaker over the Caps with one more win in the regular season and then some other totals falling into place. Home-ice advantage has meant everything in the season series so far, and in the playoffs it’d be impossible to measure.
The Bruins didn’t win this one pretty, but as defenseman Andrew Ference put it, “A win is a win, so we’ll gladly take it against a very good opponent.”
It’s not the attactiveness it’s the value, and this one could end up meaning the world to the Bruins down the road.