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Mitch's Sports Report: Bruins Best Blackhawks For Most Impressive Win Of The Season

I want to get the caveat out of the way first, because I really don't want to diminish what was the best and most important win of the season so far for the Boston Bruins.

The B's faced the defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks at TD Garden last night, a team that's bolstered its already stacked roster with big trade deadline pick-ups and is expected by many to win the Cup again, and the Bruins won the game 4-2.

The caveat is that the Hawks were playing their second road game in as many nights, traveling to Boston right after their defeat of Detroit and so a fatigue factor has to be accounted for, but that said, the Bruins played a perfect game against a high-flying Hawks team by clamping down on defense, not allowing Chicago's fastest skaters to fly through the neutral zone, and capitalizing on their chances on offense. The Bruins scored first after some good work along the boards by Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron, who wheeled and wristed a top shelf goal, marking point number six-hundred-and-six for his career, which ties him with Terry O'Reilly on the all-time Bruins list. After the Hawks tied the game at one, Brad Marchand continued his career season with a wicked wrister of his own, good for his team-leading thirty-third goal of the year. The prettiest goal of the night came seconds after the Bruins had killed off a Chicago power play, with David Krejci starting a three on two rush with a dish to newly acquired defenseman John-Michael Liles, who showed a burst of speed the Bruins have  desperately needed on the blue line, and he flipped a saucer pass right onto Loui Eriksson's stick and he deflected it top shelf past Scott Darling to increase the B's lead to 4-1, a lead they would not give up. The win also marked a milestone for coach Claude Julien, who is now tied with the legendary Art Ross for most wins in franchise history. Still, the Bruins can't rest on the laurels of the victory. Coming to town tomorrow night is Alex Ovechkin and the top team in all of hockey right now, the Washington Capitals, and that test is followed by six of eight games on the road, including back-to-backs against the first and second place Florida Panthers and Tampa Bay Lightning, as the Bruins enter their toughest stretch of the season that coincides with the homestretch push for the playoffs.

The Pittsburgh Penguins broke open a tight game against the New York Rangers in Steel City last night, scoring three goals in a span of just over two minutes near the end of the second period, going on to a 4-1 win. Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist was visibly frustrated, and was called for a delay of game penalty after intentionally knocking his net off the moorings, following a collision with his own defenseman Ryan McDonagh just seconds earlier. The Penguins scored on the ensuing power play. Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Patric Hornqvist all scored for the Pens in that game-deciding two minute stretch.

The Montreal Canadiens are playing out the string at this point but still gave the L.A. Kings a good run for their money last night on the left coast. But it wasn't enough as Anze Kopitar and Tanner Pearson scored less than 3 minutes apart early in the first period, while Dwight King scored on a breakaway in the third, to lead the Kings to a 3-2 victory.

The Division one boys' high school hockey championship game is set, and it should be a great match-up, featuring top seeded BFA-St. Albans against number two Essex, after BFA dispatched Spaulding 4-1 last night. Hunter Kirouac and Connor Wood each scored twice for BFA. The title game is set for March 10th at Gutterson Fieldhouse on the UVM campus in Burlington.

In Division two, Jackson Felis and Max Carr each had two goals as Stowe beat Burr and Burton 5-1. The Raiders will shoot for their third straight division two title in the final next Thursday.

The Division two girls final is set after Mount Mansfield sispatched Rice 6-1 last night. The Cougars will skate against top-seed U-32 on Wednesday at the Gutt.

In Division three girls' basketball, Seniors Emilee Bose
poured in fifteen points to lead top-seeded Enosburg past defending champs Richford 49-35, and number two Thetford got by Williamstown 44-30.

The state high school Nordic skiing championships wrapped up at Rikert yesterday and in Division one the North Country girls' team emerged the winner. Callie Young won the 5-K classic and North Country also took the team relay race. On the boys' side it was the Mount Mansfield Cougars taking top honors. Sophomore Greg Burt won the individual freestyle event. CVU came in second overall.

In Division two, the Middlebury boys' team came out on top with U-32 as runner-up. Scott Mooney of Burr & Burton posted the fastest time in the individual competition. The U-32 girls took first place in Division two with Woodstock coming in second.