Seth Griffith scored another highlight-reel goal Monday. (Claus Andersen/Getty Images)
One goal can make a game. Seth Griffith’s second-period goal did just that.
With the Bruins and Devils tied at two goals apiece late in the second period, the Bruins rookie scored what is likely the most impressive goal he’ll score in his career when he battled for a puck through Bryce Salvador and got tangled up with Marek Zidlicky as he raced to the net. After getting spun around, he backhanded the puck through his legs and over the left pad of Cory Schneider to give the Bruins a 3-2 lead. Reilly Smith would score soon after, giving the Bruins two goals in the final two minutes of the second period and sending them on their way to a 4-2 victory (box).
Griffith, who was playing in his 12th NHL game after getting called up for top-six duty last month, is becoming no stranger to sensational goals. After flying through the air Bobby Orr-style on his Oct. 28 goal against the Wild, Griffith is setting the bar pretty high for himself going forward in his young NHL career.
The win was Boston’s fifth in a row. It improved the B’s to 6-1-0 since Zdeno Chara went down, while the B’s have won all three games that David Krejci has missed over this recent stretch.
Here are four other things we learned Monday night:
Torey Krug returned to the lineup after a four-game absence caused by a broken pinky finger suffered on Oct. 28.
Krug skated on the team’s third pairing with Zach Trotman, taking the place of the injured David Warsofsky, who is out 2-4 weeks with a groin strain. The second-year defenseman also returned to his usual spot on the point of Boston’s first power play unit.
Matt Bartkowski served as a healthy scratch for the fifth consecutive game.
PP2 CARRYING THE LOAD
The Bruins have been missing multiple players from their top power play unit for a while now, as Zdeno Chara and any combination of Krejci and Krug (all three twice) have been out of the lineup. As such, Boston’s second power play unit has been the healthier group. It’s also made up for the lack of production you could expect from the banged-up first unit.
Carl Soderberg’s power-play goal in the first period of Monday’s game marked the third goal for Boston’s PP2. Patrice Bergeron orchestrated the tally by skating the puck behind the net and finding Reilly Smith at the left circle. Soderberg whacked the rebound of Smith’s shot past Cory Schneider for his second goal in as many games.
This followed a performance in which both Soderberg and Dougie Hamilton scored power play goals in the third period of Thursday’s win over the Oilers. Boston had gone three games without a power play goal prior to that.
With Krug back but Krejci out, the Bruins’ top power play unit consisted of Krug and Zach Trotman at the point and Seth Griffith, Milan Lucic and Brad Marchand up front.
SMITH GETS BOGUS EMBELLISHMENT CALL
Everyone wants players who embellish to be held accountable, but there are points at which it’s more cringeworthy to watch officials try to accurately identify diving than it is to watch a player get away with it.
Reilly Smith was the victim of a bad embellishment call Monday. He lost his footing and fell to the ice as Michael Cammalleri took him down with a hook in the neutral zone, but both players were taken off the ice. Replays showed that there was nothing Smith could do to stay on his feet.
All suspected dives get reviewed by the league now and, if deemed to be egregious, players get a warning and then start getting fined on subsequent infractions. Smith shouldn’t worry, as a review will confirm Monday’s incident was just another botched call.
Smith would get the last laugh, as he took the shot that led to Soderberg’s power play goal in the first. He also scored late in the second period, giving him goals in two straight games. Smith has five points (two goals, three assists) over the last five contests.
Later in the game, Marchand was called for a dive, which was his second such penalty of the season. His previous one, which came in Detroit, was another example of a blown call. The refs probably had a case this time around.
RASK IN MONTREAL?
Tuukka Rask was given the start Monday against the Devils, meaning he played all four games of Boston’s 4-0-0 homestand.
The Bruins have a back-to-back coming up in Toronto and Montreal. Though Rask has already played both legs of two back-to-backs this season (the first two games of the season and then the mid-October Detroit-Montreal trip), it would seem logical for the B’s to split up the starts in this week’s games.
Should Niklas Svedberg get the start Wednesday in Toronto, Rask will have a chance to turn around his luck in the Bell Centre against a Canadiens team that put five goals past him on Oct. 16.