BOSTON — Those childhood dreams of goals scored in the NHL are usually a lot prettier or dramatic than the way Byron Bitz scored his first NHL goal today. But the rookie winger, who was one of the better Bruins skaters during the club’s 4-3 overtime loss to Philadelphia at TD Banknorth Garden, wasn’t about to give it back.
“No, I imagined a breakaway type. Maybe a crossbar and in, something like that, but I’ll take it at this point,” said Bitz after his 13th NHL game.
Bitz scored with 1:01 left in the first period to give the Bruins a 2-1 lead. Mark Stuart’s wrist shot off the crossbar landed behind Philadelphia goaltender Martin Biron, and Bitz tapped the puck in before Biron could grab it.
“I guess it was a little bit fortunate,” he said.”I’ve had a lot better chances and missed and I kind of got a lucky bounce sitting on the goal line, just came up and tapped it, but I’ll take it.”
Bitz is making it hard for the Bruins to justify sending him back to Providence (AHL). And with Michael Ryder out indefinitely with a facial fracture, Bitz might continue to play a prominent role.
“He keeps improving every game,” said head coach Claude Julien. “We really like the way he competes along the walls; he doesn’t turn the puck over too often, (he’s) not afraid to go to the net. Obviously he’s got the size and the strength to do that, and I think he plays in his limits and utilizes the assets he has to his advantage.”