Saturday, January 14, 2012

Game Forty One: Marchand's Absence Shows In B's Loss

The Bruins kicked off a four-game road trip on Saturday when they traveled to Raleigh to take on the Carolina Hurricanes. This was game three of Brad Marchand's five game suspension. Coming into the game, Carolina was one point ahead of the last place New York Islanders whereas Boston was one point back of the first place New York Rangers. You can say that is an Eastern Conference mismatch.

When these two teams get together, it is anything but a mismatch. The last time the Bruins faced the Canes was during that stretch when they went 3-7-0 in the first month of the season. Boston lost their cool and took some ridiculous penalties that pretty much forfeited their shot to win the game. What have they done since then? They have gone 25-4-1. Not too bad right?

Two veteran goaltenders shined in this game as Tim Thomas opposed Cam Ward. Zach Hamill and Steven Kampfer were the scratches for Boston.

Even though the opening period was scoreless, the Bruins seemed to control the puck slightly more than the Hurricanes. Ever since the game against the Canucks, the Bruins seemed to have lost their edge. They shook that off a bit in the opening period, yet they did not really have a great scoring chance against Ward.

The B's finally broke through in the second period on a goal by Patrice Bergeron. Johnny Boychuk blasted a shot on goal that was saved by Ward but it produced a rebound for Bergeron to tap in. Carolina tied the game at the midway point of the period when Patrick Dwyer deflected a shot by Brandon Sutter past Thomas.

The Hurricanes put heavy pressure on Boston and there were times when they could not even leave their own defensive zone without turning the puck over. If it was not for Thomas coming up with some huge stops, the score would not have been tied.

Milan Lucic put the Bruins back on top less than two minutes into the third period. David Krejci had an assist on the goal, extending his point streak to 11 games. The rest of the game belonged to the Canes. They scored three unanswered goals (one of them being an empty net goal) and Ward made some great stops to shut down the Bruins. Carolina gets the victory in this game with a score of 4-2.

The B's will continue their East Coast road trip on Monday night when they skate against the Florida Panthers.

Gold Star: Patrice Bergeron (1 goal, 4 shots on goal, 61.1% face-offs won)...He was snubbed from the NHL All-Star Game for the second straight year. Look for him to have a big week to get some retribution.

Black Star: Rich Peverley...His speed was a non-factor in this game, which was surprising to see.

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