It’s only eight days ago that we were standing in the lobby in Springfield, talking about how things just weren’t coming, and then we drove through the rain thinking about Donovan songs and whether it was before the flood or what.
They have won four in a row and scored 25 goals in those four games, so we won’t go with the “or what,” thanks.
“It happens fast. You’ve got to stick with it,” Chris Bourque said. “In Springfield I think I ripped off eight shots on goal [true]. You’ve got to keep telling yourself it’s coming, it’s coming. If you get your chances, it’s eventually going to go in. Keep shooting.
“We’ve got a lot of offensive power in this room. The offense is going to come from everywhere.”
It pretty much has. Everybody has scored. Both power-play units have worked. All four lines have chipped in. They’ve rearranged some lines on the fly, and they’ve still chipped in. They swap vets in and out, and everyone contributes.
“I think it’s just confidence as a team,” overtime hero Travis St. Denis said. “We’re stringing together some wins, and everyone’s playing well. Everyone’s clicking together. We’re just having fun out there.”
“We’re finishing,” said Devon Toews, who got one to go off a defenseman and was in on the overtime play, too. “Our power play has put a lot of work in, and we’ve made good strides. Special teams is kind of a roller coaster through the year; we’re trying to stay as steady, as consistent as we can. We fell off a little tonight, just not as good executing, a little off on those things, reading off each other.”
But, as their coach said, they found a way to win.
That way included the eventual hero stumbling and watching the other team rush four-on-two, included the guy who might’ve won the game knocking a rebound back into his goalie, and included a surreal postgame in which Bridgeport vacated the premises, most of the Bruins did as well, and the referees were finally coaxed into checking video replay when only six players and a couple of coaches were still around. It would’ve been fun to see what happened if Liam Sewell changed his mind, but then again, I had early deadlines.
“Saint went there. The ref had a great vantage point,” Brent Thompson said, and Sewell hopped up on top of the net for a view. “He was waving. He saw the puck go in. Our players were confident. I was confident it actually went in. That was pretty much it, end of story.”
They got there after giving up a couple of power-play goals (eight games in a row with at least one against), but when they had to kill off Steve Bernier’s boarding major, they did it pretty solidly.
Thompson came into the room while we were talking to Bourque to congratulate him on 700 AHL points. (And Thompson’s reaction to it, later, is in the gamer.) “It’s something, after my career or something, I can reflect on, look at,” Bourque said, “but right now, I’m getting points to help the team win. That means the most to me. I’ve played with some good players. I’ve played on some really special teams that were high-powered offensively, so you’re going to get some points.”
Bourque is 3-3-6 in three games after going 0-1-1 in seven. Tanner Fritz is 0-5-5 in the past three games after going six without a point. Kieffer Bellows has four goals in three games after going 10 without one. St. Denis, Bernier and Toews each has a five-game scoring streak. Jeff Kubiak has a three-game scoring streak. Otto Koivula is 2-3-5 in three after going his first seven with no points and three shots. (Michael Dal Colle is 4-2-6 in four, and Josh Ho-Sang is 1-7-8 in five, and neither had a point tonight.)
They swapped Koivula, who had yet another nice game, and Ryan Bourque after an early-second-period power play. “Otto was on the power play. The rotation of the lines,” Thompson said, “and just his vision, his hockey IQ: He’s got such a nice little touch. He makes a lot of subtle little puck plays that a lot of people don’t notice. I thought just putting him with Saint and Chris might help spark a little bit of offense, and it worked. And I love Ryan Bourque. I love the way he plays, his energy. Speed-wise, he brought up the pace of that line with Holmer (Ben Holmstrom) and Kubiak, so he brought a lot of energy on that line as well.”
Prescout. Tomorrow will match the top two teams in the Atlantic Division. The Checkers were at Binghamton on Friday, so Bridgeport has a big rest and travel advantage. But the Checkers are also pretty good.
Worcester has lost seven in a row. They fell 3-1 tonight in Portland after losing to the Mariners in overtime last night.
And RIP, Ken Howell.