Monday, March 25, 2013

Game 31: There Was No Way That The Bruins Would Lose This Game

After finishing 1-3-0 on their four-game road trip, the Boston Bruins returned home on Monday night. They took on the Toronto Maple Leafs in the second game of the home-and-home series.

This was the final game of the season series between these two teams. The Leafs grabbed the 3-2 victory over the Bruins on Saturday night, snapping their eight-game losing streak against the Black and Gold. Plus, they did it without the services of Joffrey Lupul (suspension).

In order to shake things up, B's head coach Claude Julien switched up all four lines during Sunday's practice in preparation for this game. The biggest change came when Milan Lucic was dropped to the third line and Brad Marchand was bumped up to the first line. At this point, anything would be an improvement over scoring only six goals in the last four games.

Tuukka Rask was back in net for the Bruins after coming on in relief of Anton Khudobin during the last game. Even though the lines were switched up before puck drop, they were constantly rotated throughout the game.

In the first period, the Bruins put together a few rushes but nothing worth bragging about. You would think that after a major shake-up that the Bruins would come out firing on all cylinders. We were all mistaken, even with the Bruins wearing the traditional road white sweaters at home for this game. Just a little side-note right there.

The second period did not start off any better for the B's. The Leafs were able to capitalize on an early power play opportunity on a goal by a returning Lupul. The Leafs were not done there as Nikolai Kulemin split the Bruins defense and beat Rask stick-side high to increase their lead. All of a sudden, we had a Lucic sighting. He beat Toronto goaltender James Reimer for his first goal in 16 games. From that point on, the energy of the game completely favored Boston. It was so chaotic on the ice that the Bruins kept bumping into each other in order to get that breakthrough goal. Regardless, they put themselves in a good spot for the final 20 minutes. 

What was interesting about the third period is that the Bruins defensemen kept cheating up ice to contribute in the offensive zone. Luckily, it did not come back to haunt them. In fact, it was because of Dougie Hamilton's pinch up ice that led to the tying goal off of the stick of Patrice Bergeron. Toronto really was no match for Boston in the third period as this game went into overtime.

After a scoreless extra period, the B's sealed the 3-2 victory on the game-winning save by Rask on Kulemin. Tyler Seguin and Bergeron recorded goals in the shootout. Rask finished with 23 saves.

The Bruins will be back on the ice Wednesday night when they take on the Montreal Canadiens.

Gold Star: Dougie Hamilton...This was the first game where he proved that he belongs in Boston. His physical play combined with his assist showed why he will be the future of this organization.

Black Star: Nathan Horton...As far the Bruins forwards were concerned, it was as if they were using only 11 of them. He did not record a shot on goal. His play might be worthy of a demotion or a benching. 

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