Week in Review
The Bruins continue to chase Montreal in the race for the Northeast Division crown. The eventual champ will be all but guaranteed at least a 2-seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs, as each team has a 10+ point lead over the Southeast Division leaders. Whether or not either team can get hot and chase down Pittsburgh is unclear, but the runner-up in the Northeast can do no better than the 4-seed, and that spot should not be a problem for the runner-up in the division. The B’s took the ice for four games this week, and after a promising start, had to settle for a 2-2-0 week, gaining 4 out of a possible 8 points. The Bruins will also welcome Swedish forward Carl Soderberg who will try to make the adjustment to the North American game in time to be a contributor in this year’s playoff run.
Monday night the B’s hit Garden ice for a meeting with the struggling Carolina Hurricanes. In a reversal of fortune, the Bruins were outplayed territoriality and in the shots department, but took advantage of some horrific Canes goaltending. Justin Peters was lost in net as the B’s scored on two of their first four shots on goal in taking a 2-0 lead on goals by Rich Peverley and Brad Marchand. After Peters got the hook, Dan Ellis wasn’t much better and Marchand got his second of the 1st period and the B’s took a 3-0 lead into the locker room after one despite being outshot 18-9. Boston added two more in the 2nd and another in the 3rd and Rask saved 40 in a 6-2 win.
Wednesday night the B’s headed to New Jersey in what looked to be a tight checking battle with the defensive minded Devils. To everyone’s surprise, a score-fest ensued as the Bruins again launched themselves in front 3-0 after one, led by two goals by Gregory Campbell. Boston made it 4-0 when Chara scored on a rare Bruins power play as boos reigned down on the Devils. After Patrick Elias got New Jersey on the board the Bruins were given a 5-minute man advantage after a completely unnecessary and blatantly brutal elbowing penalty on the Devils Anton Volchenkov. The elbow left Marchand dazed and he would miss the rest of the game with what may be a concussion. With Marchand out the Bruins not only failed to capitalize on the 5-minute man advantage but even let up a shorthanded goal by Travis Zajac to cut the lead to 4-2. Early in the 3rd the Devils cut the lead to one on a goal by Andy Greene and the Bruins were in free fall and without two of their best forwards with Bergeron already missing time with a concussion. Fortunately Tyler Seguin answered less than two minutes later to give the B’s a two goal lead back, and they held off a late surge and a Devils goal with :37 left to hang on for an important but costly 5-4. For the moment the Bruins took over 1st place in the division leapfrogging Montreal.
Unfortunately the flat, unmotivated Bruins returned the next night at home against the surprising New York Islanders who are contending for a playoff spot of their own. Josh Bailey scored in the final minute of the 1st period to put the Isles on top 1-0. Seguin cashed in the B’s only power play of the night (what is with the lack of PP chances!!) to tie it but Bailey struck again later in the 2nd and gave NY a 2-1 lead heading into the 3rd. The third period generated a whole lot of nothing as the Bruins could only muster 7 shots on goal and failed to draw a penalty. The 2-1 loss coupled with Montreal’s 5-1 win over Buffalo put the Habs back into the lead in the Northeast.
The Bruins had another chance on Saturday to beef up on the struggling Hurricanes, this time in Carolina. But the same brand of uninspired hockey carried over from the Thursday night game and the B’s let an opportunity to take over the division lead slip away. The teams traded first period goals, but again a late period goal allowed killed Bruins momentum, this time it was Jeff Skinner tying the game at 1-1 with under a minute remaining in the 1st. The teams traded goals in the second as well as Seguin tied it late in the period but former Bruin Joe Corvo cashed in a power play opportunity midway through the 3rd and Jiri Tlusty added the empty netter for his 2nd goal of the game in the B’s 4-2 loss to the Canes. Amazingly Justin Peters, who looked so lost in the Monday game was named the games number one star.
Player of the Week: Brad Marchand
Marchand played only two games registering two goals and an assist but since his apparent head injury suffered against New Jersey, the Bruins have been lethargic at best. The Bruins lacked life and sense of urgency with him out for the last two games.
Opponent of the Week: Josh Bailey
The Islanders center scored both goals in New York’s 2-1 win over the Bruins on Thursday night and was a +2 for the game.
Fun Fact of the Week:
Through 41 games, which represents one half of a regulation season, the Bruins record of 26-11-4 would project to 52-22-8, which would give them 112 points. This would be the 7th best point total in team history. They would also have a +50 goal differential and their .683 winning percentage would be their 15th best all-time. It still does not feel right though.
The Week Ahead:
Mon Apr 15 Ottawa 7:00
Wed Apr 17 Buffalo 7:30
Fri Apr 19 Pittsburgh 7:00
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