It is rare for an NHL team to have an entire weekend off during the regular season. Although the Boston Bruins did practice, they experienced the luxury of having a game-free weekend.
However, that was probably the best thing for them because they have a full schedule this week with four games on the slate. Yes, they had a minor bump in the road with a loss to the Ottawa Senators, but they accumulated 9 out of a possible 10 points during their five-game homestand. That kind of confidence would certainly be called upon this week.
The Bruins were in action on Monday night against the Carolina Hurricanes. They followed that up with a game in New York against the Rangers.
Cam Ward (injury) made his return between the pipes for the Hurricanes. However, the Canes sent out a depleted roster for this one with Alexander Semin and Jeff Skinner out of the lineup. For the Bruins, Shawn Thornton was a healthy scratch and he was replaced by Jordan Caron.
The Bruins jumped out to an early 2-0 lead, but it looked like history was about to repeat itself. Carolina climbed back into the game and cut the lead in half. In the end, it was two goals in the third period that put the Bruins over the top. They secured the 4-1 victory over a team that has had their number over the last couple of seasons.
They also avoided blowing a second-consecutive 2-0 lead due in large part to Tuukka Rask. He came up with 23 big saves in this one. Milan Lucic, Reilly Smith, and Carl Soderberg posted multi-point games. Overall, a solid start to the week.
They looked to continue that trend on Tuesday night against the Rangers. Rick Nash made his return to the lineup for New York after missing the last 17 games with a concussion. Adam McQuaid, who did not travel with the team for this road trip, looks to make his return from a hip injury later this week.
With Rask back in net for the Bruins, these gentlemen were in for a physical confrontation. The Rangers piled up the shots as well as the hits, making every trip up ice for the Bruins difficult. Thornton and Daniel Paille of the "Merlot Line" each recorded a goal in the second period. Despite being out-shot 33-13 through the first two periods, the B's held a 2-1 lead in the third period and that was the way it ended.
The Rangers ended the Bruins consecutive penalty-killing streak at 33 before scoring on the power play early in this game.
Dennis Seidenberg left the game on Tuesday night after only one shift. His status remains unknown for the rest of the week at this point.
The Bruins will play again on Thursday night against the St. Louis Blues.
Gold Star: Tuukka Rask...He only allowed two total goals in these two games, including tying a career high in saves with 43 of them on Thursday. He has been stealing games for the Bruins.
Black Star: Brad Marchand...He was demoted to the fourth line during Monday's game, the same line where his career began three years ago. His play has been that bad as of late.