BOSTON – Brad Boyes is probably giving the Boston Bruins trader’s remorse.
Making his first appearance in Boston since being sent to St. Louis at the deadline last February for defenceman Dennis Wideman, Boyes scored his 21st goal to lead the Blues to a 4-1 win over Boston on Saturday.
It was Boyes’ 12th goal in 17 games. On Thursday, Boyes posted his 20th in the team’s 31st game – the quickest to 20 goals since Brett Hull did it in 29 games during the 1994-95 season.
Boyes overcame some pre-game jitters, missing a good chance early, before making it 2-0 in the second period.
“Early on, through warmups, but other than that I felt pretty good,” he said of his nervousness. “I had a great chance, but put it over the net. I knew Timmy (Thomas) knew what I was trying to do so I tried to mix it up a little bit.”
For a Bruins team that’s struggled often to score goals, Boyes’ upfront play might have fit in. It was the fourth time in five games Boston has been held to two goals or fewer and the 20th this season.
“It’s a slump,” Boston coach Claude Julien said. “But let’s keep in mind the age of our upfront guys.”
Lee Stempniak, Jamal Mayers and Keith Tkachuk also scored for the Blues, who won for just the second time in six games. It was the teams’ only meeting this season. Manny Legace made 24 saves.
Zdeno Chara had a power-play goal for the Bruins, who started the week hoping to close the gap on Ottawa for the Eastern Conference’s top spot, but lost their third straight and finished their homestand 1-4.
“It’s not where we wanted to be on this homestand,” defenceman Mark Stuart said. “It is disappointing.”
Boston goalie Tim Thomas, starting his second straight game after missing six with a strained groin, had 25 saves.
The Blues made it 1-0 when Stempniak tipped Tkachuk’s shot past Thomas 11:56 into the game. Tkachuk fired a wrist shot from the right circle and the puck slipped inside the far post.
In a second period that had a pair of crowd-pleasing fights, St. Louis made it 2-0 at 17:40 when Boyes collected Jay McClement’s pass and snapped off a quick wrister.
“Yeah, he was stumbling, fumbling the puck around there in the first period and a half. He was pretty nervous coming in,” Legace said of Boyes. “It was great to see him get that goal. It’s just been a great trade for us.”
Chara collected a rebound of Wideman’s shot from the point, cutting it to 2-1 early in the third period. Mayers put it away with his goal with 2:58 to play while the teams were skating four aside. Tkachuk’s was an empty-netter.
The Blues nearly made it 3-0 late in the second when Andy McDonald’s shot had Thomas beat, but hit the right post.
During a somewhat listless opening period, a chant of “wake up Bruins!” could be heard coming from behind Thomas.
Notes: Bruins D Aaron Ward was sidelined after breaking his broken left foot in practice Friday when he was hit by a shot, but LW Shawn Thornton returned after missing 21 games with a broken foot. … Boston D Andrew Alberts missed his third straight game with post-concussion syndrome and winger Glen Murray was sidelined with a hip flexor suffered in Thursday’s 5-4 shootout loss against Pittsburgh. … It was the anniversary of Phil Esposito’s 500th career goal 33 years ago. … Boston recalled D Matt Lashoff from Providence of the AHL Friday.