Sunday, December 15, 2013

Games 30-33: Canadian Road Trip/They're Dropping Like Flies

The Boston Bruins are in quite the predicament right now. 

This was supposed to be a week that was highly anticipated by the players and fans alike. Some of the highlights included the following: Jarome Iginla squaring off against a team/city that he called home for the majority of his career, the first time facing Andrew Ference in a different sweater since leaving Boston, and a high-profiled showdown between two teams that hate each other.

All of that did take place this past week, but that quickly became an afterthought. 

After an amazing victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins last Saturday night, the likes of Shawn Thornton (suspension) and Chris Kelly (broken ankle) did not join them on the road trip. This led to the call-up of both Matt Fraser and Ryan Spooner. Also, Adam McQuaid was placed on long-term injured reserve.

This was not exactly what the Bruins had in mind when embarking on the week-long journey north of the border, but things quickly got worse.

Yes, the Bruins secured the 5-2 victory in Toronto against the Maple Leafs on Sunday (a game that featured Kevan Miller's first-career NHL goal), but Dougie Hamilton suffered a lower-body injury and flew back to Boston. Long story short, another man down. This was overshadowed by a superb game by Chad Johnson between the pipes. 

The rest of the week was intriguing. You have to love those late-night puck drops against opponents rarely seen on a regular basis. Welcome to Western Canada.

Tuesday night featured the return of a beloved player to a city he spent well over a decade showcasing his craft. The Bruins traveled to Calgary, Alberta to take on the Flames. That city and organization is filled with class, as made evident by the tear-jerking video tribute to "Iggy" prior to puck drop.

Before the game, it was announced that Loui Eriksson was placed on injured reserve and the team recalled Nick Johnson. Also, Daniel Paille was ruled out with an upper-body injury. On the plus side, Johnny Boychuk made his return to the lineup after missing the last two games with a sprained back. It would not surprise anyone if the entire Providence Bruins roster was called up to skate for the big club with the way the players have been dropping. 

Iginla and the B's bested the Flames 2-1 in his return. Now, it was on to another reunion of sorts. Despite having a warm spot in their hearts for Ference, who now wears the "C" for the Oilers, the Black and Gold secured another two points against Edmonton. The final score was 4-2 where Iginla recorded a pair. This was their 11th consecutive victory against this franchise.

Their last stop on this trip was to a city and against a team that they spoiled some Stanley Cup dreams back in 2011. We all remember those Vancouver Canucks, correct? 

Well, they certainly remembered the Bruins. They put a shellacking on the B's Saturday night by defeating them 6-2, snapping their four-game winning streak. 

Overall, a decent road trip for Boston. 

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