Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Game 45: Line Shuffle/Goalie Shuffle Did Not Matter For Bruins

The Boston Bruins are entering the final week of the regular season, just like every other team around the NHL. With only four games left on their schedule, it will really come down to the last weekend of the season for the Black and Gold.

Over the next seven days, they will be doing a lot of scoreboard watching in order to see what is going on with the Montreal Canadiens. The B's have one extra game in hand, so they control their own destiny and the path to the Northeast Division title is right in front of them.

They continued their chase for the second spot in the Eastern Conference on Tuesday night when they wrapped up their season series with the Philadelphia Flyers. Both teams have each won a game against each other this season and this was the rubber match.

It is always nice to see the Bruins and Flyers face off because these two teams are very similar. It is like skating against a mirror image from front to back, with the exception of the goaltenders (Boston having the clear advantage in that category). What is disappointing is that the Flyers will not make the playoffs, so everyone should have enjoyed this final match-up. 

Anton Khudobin was back in net for the B's. As it turned out, Nathan Horton did not travel with the team. He stayed in Boston to heal a lingering wrist injury. Adam McQuaid made his return to the lineup in this game as well while Johnny Boychuk took a rest for this one.

In the first period, the Bruins fell into an early hole. Scott Hartnell capitalized on a defensive brain cramp from the B's and blasted the puck past Khudobin. On the flip side, Khudobin actually made some key stops in the opening 20 minutes to keep the game close. The Bruins later tied the game on a goal from Wade Redden, his first as a member of the Black and Gold. Other than those two tallies, it was a hard-nosed physical period as usual between these teams. 

The second period started out slow, but gradually picked up in intensity. Shawn Thornton dropped the gloves with fellow tough guy Jay Rosehill. The fight seemed to spark the Flyers because they recorded two goals in seven seconds. Matt Read and Oliver Lauridsen had the tallies. Even though Lauridsen got credit for the goal, Zdeno Chara deserved the blame as he passed the puck towards the net and it slid underneath Khudobin. 

Tuukka Rask briefly replaced the shaky netminder. The Bruins finished the second period with back-to-back power plays, but could not capitalize on either one. 

The story of this game was the sloppy play by the Bruins and that continued into the third period. The number of giveaways that the Bruins had soon became uncountable if you were watching the game live. It became so bad that Rask was pulled in favor of Khudobin after a fifth goal was allowed. There really is not much else a coach can do besides the verbal abuse the players must have received after this game.

After a completely forgettable game, the Bruins fell to the Flyers by a final score of 5-2. David Krejci was able to beat Flyers goaltender Steve Mason with some sweet stick work and he sent the puck to the top of the net. That was the lone bright spot in the second half of the game.

The Bruins will play their next game on Thursday night against the Tampa Bay Lightning. 

Gold Star: Wade Redden...He did have a goal, but he was one of the only defensemen who did not play terrible and this was coming from a player who will not be a regular when the playoffs come around.

Black Star: Anton Khudobin...Although there were several players who did not play well, getting pulled in the middle of a game is the perfect way to negatively stand out. 

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