1/5 Bruins 2 – Sabres 1
In the last meeting this season between these two division foes, it was the Bruins who came out victorious. They started quick in this game being fast and physical since the opening faceoff. This was a big game for the Bruins when it comes to the standings, as now one game past the halfway point in the season, the B’s are two points clear of Buffalo for that third position in the Atlantic Division Standings. Yes, we’re only halfway through the season, and a lot can change between now and the end of February, but the more points the better, obviously.
The goal scoring was started by a very emotional Chris Wagner, or so we thought. Early on in the first period, Wagner was able to snag a rebounded Sean Kuraly shot and fire it in to an empty net. Well the goal was consequently disallowed due to the empty net which wasn’t supposed to be empty. Kuraly ended up taking out goalie, Linus Ullmark, after taking his shot. Going back to my earlier statement, Chris Wagner was very emotional in this game, and not because his goal was disallowed, but because news broke after the game that his grandfather had passed away earlier in the day. Thankfully for Wags, he was able to score about 10 minutes later as Noel Acciari picked off a loose puck with a little tip to Wagner who beat Ullmark glove side and immediately pointed to the sky. This was undoubtedly a bittersweet moment for Wags, who even said after the game that he knows his grandfather was probably laughing at him when the first goal was disallowed.
David Backes scored the second goal for the Bruins, early on in the second period. Tuukka Rask actually wound up with the primary assist on this goal as he knocked the puck up ice where Backes picked it up and skated 2-on-1 with Brad Marchand but ultimately took the shot himself, beating Ullmark once again on the glove side. From here the Bruins were able to hold off the late attack of the Sabres who did put one in, late in the third period, but they could not finish the comeback and left Boston dropping two points on the night.
1/8 Bruins 4 – Wild 0
The B’s are buzzing! After Tuukka Rask shuts out Minnesota with a 24 save effort, they now have won 5 straight games. Tuukka Rask has been insurmountable in the win streak as he has seemed to have found his game and appears to be in classic form. It really helped to have Jaroslav Halak play as well as he was when Tuukka struggled. Now, however, it seems that things have done a 180, as Halak has struggled a bit, but he is playing better than the average NHL backup goalie so as Bruins fans, we’ll take it.
Things got off to a fairly quick start for the Bruins in this one as Danton Heinen scored his first goal in 12 games when he tipped in a shot by John Moore at just over five minutes into the first period. Brad Marchand got the second goal on the night after Patrice Bergeron fired a quick release shot off the glass behind the goal and the puck found its way to Marchand’s stick and consequently into the net.
As the first period was winding down, the Bruins were able to score yet again and this was one of the most interesting goals I have seen. It really excited me, mainly because of my soccer days way back. Well anyway, Jake DeBrusk took those pregame soccer juggles to heart and actually took the puck off the chest and into the net. Bergeron held the puck on the power play and shot it right at DeBrusk who was next to the goal trying to screen the Wild goalie, Alex Stalock. As DeBrusk tried to get his stick to the puck, it hit him right in the spoked B and went in over the head of Stalock.
The fourth goal of the game for the Bruins came about 6 minutes and 30 seconds into the second period as the Bruins were on the power play once again. Brad Marchand was the main puck handler on this shift as he skated from one side wall, out to the blue line, and to the left circle where he shot the puck right at the feet of Patrice Bergeron who got credited for the goal as it went in off his skate. There was no kicking motion, so the goal stood after a brief review. The game would stay 4-0 for the remainder of the period and the third as the Wild couldn’t get anything going on the second half of back to back games.
With a five game win streak going, the Bruins play host to the Stanley Cup winning Washington Capitals for the first time since opening night where the Caps crushed the B’s 7-0. This game should be much, much different as the Bruins have been hot. However the Capitals somewhat own the Bruins in the past few seasons, so while I hope that the win streak will live on another day, I’m not too positive it will. But we shall see.
1/10 Bruins 2 – Capitals 4
It’s no surprise that the Boston Bruins have had their struggles against the Capitals recently. They haven’t beaten this Washington team since 2014. The Bruins are 0 for their last 13 against the Capitals since they beat them twice in 2014. That has to change. These two teams play each other three times per season, and they cannot get swept for a 5th consecutive season.
Well, that’s 14 losses in a row now for the Bruins against the Capitals. This might be one of the worst losing streaks one team has against another. In fact it is one of the longest. The 14 straight losses for the Bruins is tied for 5th worst losing streak against one team in NHL history. Not good. But anyway, this is how the game went.
The Bruins got on the board tonight starting with Ryan Donato who got his career high 6th goal of the season. The only reason this is a career high for Donato is because in the 12 regular season games he played in last year right before playoffs, he had 5. However, Donato is still considered a rookie this year since he only played 12 games last season. His goal to get a new career high was a beauty of a shot. He held the puck at the top of the right circle and fired off his favored back foot snap shot that beat Braden Holtby on the short side, right over his glove. These are the types of goals that the Bruins expected out of Donato who has a great shot, he just needs the opportunities to score.
After the goal, the Capitals would immediately take the lead back and end the second period up 2-0. David Krejci started the scoring in the third period where he tied the game at two on the power play. He sat at the blue line above the right circle and when he got the puck, he saw a nice shooting lane, and fired a slap shot past Holtby. Almost immediately after Krejci scored, the Capitals would once again take the lead not allowing the Bruins to build any momentum after they tied the game for the second time.
It was a good effort for the Bruins tonight, but you can’t allow multiple goals within 2 minutes of your own goal. That just won’t give you a great chance of winning. It’s astonishing that the Bruins only lost by 2. Regardless of that, they played well. I thought there were some really good shifts by multiple lines. The Chris Wagner, Sean Kuraly, and Noel Acciari, third line played really well. They were very physical all night against a team that is consistently one of the most physical in the league every year. The last thing I want to say is, watch out the next time these teams match-up and there’s no better day for it than Super Bowl Sunday. This game will be a 12:30 game, a perfect way to start the day before the big game that night.
On to the next as they say.
The Week Ahead
The Bruins will have a busy week of hockey coming up as they play four times. They start on Saturday at 7pm up in Toronto where they have a chance to take out the team directly above them in the standings, and the Maple Leafs starting goaltender Frederik Andersen has been sidelined with an injury. Unfortunately for the Bruins, he is trying to comeback from injury for that game.
The B’s will then head back to Boston where they will host longtime rival Montreal at 730pm on Monday. They will head back out on the road once again as they head Philadelphia to take on the really struggling Flyers at 730pm Wednesday night. Their last game of the week comes without much rest as the Bruins immediately head back to Boston Wednesday night to play host to the St. Louis Blues on Thursday night at 7pm.
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