Good Times Garden

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Things are going well when a guy scores a hat trick and is the second star of the game.

The party atmosphere at TD Garden was thanks to a phenomanal game by Tuukka Rask who made 41 saves to earn his first win of the year via a 4-0 shutout of the visiting Florida Panthers. The Bruins were a bit on their heels all night with Panther forwards buzzing around Rask’s goal but the young Finnish netminder rescued everyone’s bacon with save after save.

In the end, it allowed Milan Lucic to slam home three goals for his second career hat trick. Cue the music and dancing. Fun times at the Beantown Rink.

Lucic is blossoming in a big way this season. He’s becoming the sort of Power Forward that NHL scouts have wet dreams about. Big, nasty and talented. The puck is going in for him like never before in his career. One thing is certain, the man is finally healthy. I don’t think we can discount just how badly that high ankle sprain hampered his game last season. We all said it at the time. He wasn’t the same player.

So welcome back, Looch. You have arrived in style, for sure.

Nathan Horton had three assists on all three Lucic goals. The Bruins’ number one line, even without pivot David Krejci, is becoming one of the killer lines in the entire NHL. Something to keep other teams’ coaches awake at night before they play Boston.

The fun part is that we all know the team can play better, too. With Krejci back and a guy like Boychuk shaking off the rust, the team’s performance will only improve. You now have what might be the best goaltending tandem in the entire League. Think about it. A recent Vezina winner currently leading the league in all goaltending statistical categories in Tim Thomas and Tuukka Rask, the guy who finished the year as the leader in those same categories last season.

It’s all going pretty well. Hell, Shawn Thornton has 4 goals. Talk about a gentleman who deserves a little success. Go toe-to-toe with the nastiest pugilists the NHL has to offer (last night it was Darcy Hordichuk) then go out an pop one in the net in the third period. How valuable is a guy who can do that and also play a solid defensive game on your grinding line? The Bruins seem to have all the puzzle pieces falling into place this season and last night was a great example of how excellent things can be when that happens.

Good times, indeed.

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