NEW YORK — On their 12th opportunity of the season, the Bruins’ power play finally broke through.
In the second period of Wednesday night’s 4-3 loss to the Rangers, Milan Lucic drew the penalty by driving to the net. Marc Staal was nabbed for slashing Lucic. On the following power play, Dougie Hamilton set up at the blue line. Brad Marchand slipped behind Dan Girardi as the net-front presence.
Hamilton’s attempt eluded the New York shot blockers. At the last moment, Marchand tipped Hamilton’s shot past Henrik Lundqvist to give the Bruins their first PP marker in three games.
“We were doing a lot of good things, but we weren’t getting the results,” coach Claude Julien said. “That was a great shot and a great tip. Guy right in front of the net and he tips it in. These are the kind of goals you need to get yourself back in the game. It was nice to see that goal to get us going here.”
The Bruins had entered the game 0 for 9 on the power play. In two opportunities against Winnipeg Monday, Julien counted six scoring chances.
Hamilton praisedThe Bruins didn’t get as many quality sniffs in their five power plays against the Rangers. But Julien credited Hamilton, not just for the shot that led to the goal, but his overall game.
“Not good. Outstanding,” Julien said of the first-year defenseman. “He was so poised and confident. If anybody thinks he can’t play in this league, they should take some time to watch this game. I really, really liked his game. Not just defensively, but offensively, he made a great play on the power-play goal. In the last two seconds, he’s poised with the puck, he just gets it out, and doesn’t turn it over. I don’t know what more to say about this guy. I think his teammates see the Dougie Hamilton that everybody’s projecting. Right now, we’ve got to keep him going with lots of confidence. That’s what he’s shown. It’s paying off.”
Hamilton played with his third different partner in the last three games. He was paired with Dennis Seidenberg in the season opener. On Monday, Hamilton skated with Zdeno Chara against Winnipeg’s first line. On Wednesday, Hamilton was with Andrew Ference on the No. 2 pairing.
Hamilton had a team-high four shots in 18:55 of ice time.
“First road game, pretty cool to be here,” said Hamilton, who now has an NHL point to his name. “It’s nice to get that, but it [stinks] losing.”
Going strongLucic and Nathan Horton, the Bruins’ first-line strongmen, submitted their third straight solid performances. Lucic tied the game in the second period with a net-front strike.
He had three shots in 20:17 of ice time, the most action of any Bruins forward.
Horton hadn’t found the back of the net in the first two games. But when Gregory Campbell fed him in the high slot Wednesday, Horton didn’t hesitate to whip the puck into the net for his first goal of the year.
“He’s been playing real good since he’s come back,” Lucic said of Horton. “It’s always tough. It’s been just under a year since he played his last game in Philly at the end of January. To see him come back and play the way he has in the last three games is great. For myself, being his linemate, it’s great having him back. I have a lot of fun playing with him.”