Things got messy at TD Garden on Tuesday. Yes, the Bruins blew out the Senators with a 6-0 victory (recap), but the place was literally a mess given the two showers of hats for Patrice Bergeron.
Fans thought that the Bruins center had scored his third goal of the game on on the B's fourth tally, which came in the second period, and they reacted as such, tossing their caps onto the ice. The goal was announced as Bergeron's but a scoring change was made very shortly there after to give Brad Marchand the goal. Perhaps to avoid making the fans feel foolish, the public address announcer waited until the intermission to sneak in the news.
So, with the Bruins leading, 5-0, after two periods, fans were without hats for no reason. Bergeron made up for it by actually scoring his third of the night with a sharp wrist shot from the face-off circle that beat Senators backup Mike Brodeur. A smaller number of hats flew from the stands after the goal, but Bergeron was just happy to justify the first batch of tossed caps.
"Everyone was leaving the building with no hats on, so I guess I wanted to get it, because everyone threw their hats on the ice," Bergeron said after the game.
It was Bergeron's first career hat trick, and while Claude Julien was happy for the 25-year-old center, he sarcastically admitted to some confusion on etiquette regarding the false-alarm.
"We don’t know if we have to give the hats back from the first time, but it was nice," Julien said.
Marchand on the other hand, didn't know how to feel about the new craze of tossing hats onto the ice after his first goal of the game. He was just glad that his teammate was able to get his first hat trick.
"He is pretty persistent," Marchand said with a smile after the game. "It was fate. He was due to get one."
As if "Hat Trick" hasn't been written enough, here's the Hat Trick:
MARCHAND MAKING MOST OF SECOND-LINE MINUTES
With offensive flexibility an asset that every team would like to have, the Bruins can look to their fourth line -- or second, depending on the night -- to see Marchand providing everything needed of whatever role he's given.
Marchand, who has become a fan favorite with his scrappy play, non-stop trash talk, and, more recently, single goals capable of eliciting a hat trick's celebration, made his name this season on the Merlot Line with Gregory Campbell and Shawn Thornton, as well as on the penalty kill.
Because of line-shuffling caused by injuries, Marchand has seen time here and there on the second line with Patrice Bergeron and Mark Recchi -- a line that's expected to produce more points than Marchand's usual crowd. Marchand seemingly has gotten the opportunity to play with a higher line because with Nathan Horton or Milan Lucic being out, it makes more sense to insert Daniel Paille as a fourth-liner and let a regular see more minutes.
Marchand has been perfectly capable playing on his new line the last three games, and he's got four points and a plus-six rating over that span to show for it.
"He’s a hard worker and he’s in other teams’ faces and he forechecks well and creates some opportunities," Claude Julien said after Tuesday's game. "There’s been a good fit [on that line] and I’m really hesitant … to break that trio up because they’ve been so good for us."
Marchand feels that the adjustment from the Merlot Line to playing with Bergeron and Recchi hasn't been too difficult given the talents of his new linemates.
"They are two unbelievable players," the rookie said. "It is very easy to play with them. If you just get to the right spot they will get you the puck. Bergy does a good job down low and Recchi gets to the net. It is pretty easy to play with them."
That's not to say he doesn't see similarities between his linemates this season. While Bergeron and Recchi produce more points, hard work on the forecheck is something Marchand's tried to pride himself on regardless of who he's skated with.
"For the most part, guys just try to get the puck in deep and work it low," Marchand said. "That’s pretty much what we did on the Merlot Line. We just tried to get it low and work hard. I think that is what makes them so good. They work hard."
Marchand and fellow rookie Tyler Seguin each had multi-point nights, picking up a goal and assist. The 22-year-old Marchand leads Bruins rookies with eight goals this season.
NEW HIGH IN SHUTOUTS JUST ANOTHER REMINDER OF THOMAS' STELLAR SEASON
While Bruins fans question the inconsistency of their team and wonder what it means to the 2010-11 club's fate, they should dedicate their remaining efforts to appreciating Tim Thomas' masterful season. Thomas, who along with Zdeno Chara will represent the Bruins in the All-Star game on Jan. 30, spoke highly of the distinction prior to Tuesday's game. The 36-year-old, who's set to make his third All-Star appearance, called the nod "a feather in your cap."
When all is said and done in Thomas' career, his selections to the All-Star game will certainly be among the milestones. Yet on Tuesday, the news of him being an All-Star wasn't the only reminder of all he's accomplished. In a career defined by his ability to one-up himself time and time again, Thomas made the latest step by setting a personal high with his sixth shutout.
Buried a bit beneath the hoopla of Bergeron's hat trick, the pieces of headware that were prematurely tossed, and just how awful the Senators were in their own end was the fact that Thomas had indeed topped his career-best five blankings. The previous high was set in his Vezina season of 2008-09 and repeated last season.
Given Thomas' start to the season, it wasn't exactly outrageous to expect him to set a new personal best in shutouts, but Tuesday marked just the first game of the season's second half. He's on pace to have his shutouts total end up in the double-digits. However many more times he's able to blank an opponent this season, it's pretty tough to imagine him not winning a second Vezina.
KAMPFER DOESN'T WANT TO BE AN ALL-STAR
On the same day that Thomas and Zdeno Chara learned that they would be All-Stars, Steven Kampfer received similar news. He just hopes it doesn't matter.
The rookie defenseman, who has made a name for himself since being called up to replace the injured Mark Stuart in the lineup, received a call from Providence head coach Rob Murray Tuesday afternoon. Murray notified Kampfer that he has been named to the AHL All-Star team for his play in Providence (16 points in 20 games). The Providence coach added that he hoped Kampfer would get the opportunity to miss the game.
"He said, 'It's for you, but we hope that you're going to stay up there and we find a replacement down here that goes and fill in for the game,'" Kampfer recalled.
The game will take place on Jan. 31, the day after the NHL All-Star game.
"If you're going to miss an All-Star game, I think that would be the only one," Kampfer said.
In 16 games in the NHL, Kampfer has three goals and an assist for four points.