Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Game 38: End of 2014

The unofficial first half of the National Hockey League regular season came to a close on Wednesday night for the Boston Bruins. They played their last game of 2014 on New Year's Eve.

Leading up to this point, the B's have posted a 19-15-3 record (41 points), good for fifth place in the Atlantic Division. However, they are still out of the playoff structure. It is a true godsend that the B's are where they are in the standings because this team has under-performed. Head coach Claude Julien has done an admirable job with what he has been dealt with in terms of players.

The Bruins possibly (probably, in all likelihood) will need to make a deal or two to acquire some scoring power. As of right now, they are not a contender in the Eastern Conference.

With that being said, the team exploded for five goals on Monday night against the Detroit Red Wings. Will that be an aberration or just a glimpse of false hope? 

The next opponent for Boston was the Toronto Maple Leafs, another divisional foe. The Leafs were just two points ahead of the Black and Gold in the standings heading into this game, so this was another must-win contest for Boston. Both teams split the first two meetings of the season with each other. 

Tuukka Rask was back in net for the Bruins. Also, Patrice Bergeron and Milan Lucic each made a return to the lineup for this important night.

What a night of hockey it turned out to be. After the Leafs jumped out to an early lead in the first period, both teams combined for five total goals in the second period. This was another night where the Bruins had a different player score each goal. 

With the game tied at three goals a side in the third period, the B's out-shot the Leafs 9-2 in the final 20 minutes. They were dominant in every facet of the contest and in every zone on the ice. The puck just could not find the back of the net. After a scoreless overtime, the Leafs ended up getting the full two points by winning the shootout in the fifth round. It does not seem right for a team that was outplayed to win the game. The resilient effort by the B's was all for not. 

The Bruins will close out the homestand on Saturday afternoon against the Ottawa Senators.

Gold Star: Carl Soderberg...Another multi-point game for the Swed. Keep it going.

Black Star: Patrice Bergeron...It is quite rare for him to have a minus rating in a game. He will quickly be back to his usual self in the coming days.

Game Thirty-Eight Box Score

Monday, December 29, 2014

Game 37: Undermanned? Not a Problem

Well, the Boston Bruins did not exactly get off to the most auspicious start to the post-Christmas section of the schedule. In what looked like a favorable matchup against the Columbus Blue Jackets, they got steamrolled by a score of 6-2. 

That was absolutely embarrassing. 

Here in Boston, we are not used to seeing our teams play at an average rate or coast through games. Even though the B's have a 18-15-3 record, we are not satisfied. They are not one of the worst teams in the league and everyone out there seems to think so. Excluding the gaping holes on the roster, the Bruins needed to rebound this week. What better way to do that than a three-game homestand?

The Bruins begun a string of games on Monday night that featured teams all within the Atlantic Division. Time for some catching up. Up first were the Detroit Red Wings. 

Tuukka Rask was back in net for the Bruins after entering the game on Saturday in relief of Niklas Svedberg. Jordan Caron got a chance to play in this game after the Bruins put Matt Fraser on waivers. Also, both Patrice Bergeron and Milan Lucic did not play in this game due to undisclosed injuries. Lastly, Matt Lindblad was recalled and skated on the fourth line against Detroit. 

In the first period, the Bruins swarmed the Red Wings. The amount of pressure that Boston put on Detroit was intense. Everyone assumed that this team would come out blazing, and that was exactly the case. The Bruins recorded three goals in the first 20 minutes--the team's first three-goal period of the season. Boston out-shot Detroit 19-12 in the first period with Rask making some big stops

With the Bruins holding a 3-1 lead heading into the second period, the Red Wings started to ramp up the pressure. The Bruins did not manage the puck well early on in the period, but the scoring chances came in abundance as the minutes elapsed (especially from the Chris Kelly-Carl Soderberg-Loui Eriksson line). However, it was Detroit who capitalized on the power play to pull within one.

In the third period, Boston did not let up. The B's ended up scoring another two goals in the final 20 minutes, which made the game unreachable for the Red Wings. The Bruins racked up 45 total shots on goal in a rebound 5-2 victory on home ice. Are we back on the bandwagon yet? 

The Bruins will play their next game on Wednesday night against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Gold Star: Carl Soderberg...Impressive stat line, but what did not show up was him willing to go into the dirty areas and take some punishment to put his team on top. 

Black Star: Brad Marchand...He was more concerned about being a pest than celebrating a TEAM goal, plus he was not sharp in the defensive zone. #selfish

Game Thirty-Seven Box Score

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Game 36: Ugly, Embarrassing, and Effortless

Here is to hoping that everyone across the National Hockey League had a great holiday break. 

But now that it is all over, it is back to business.

The Boston Bruins are approaching the halfway point of the season and they have a lot of ground to make up in the Eastern Conference. Even though they are in fifth place in the Atlantic Division, they have some upcoming games against opponents that are ahead of them in the standings. The time to make up some ground begins now.

The Bruins took on the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday night, hoping to end the momentum of a hot team on road ice. The theme on this night: settle some scores and get two points. 

In the first period, all was good. The Bruins and Blue Jackets each played with a physical nature that accurately portrays the style of hockey the teams wanted to play. The score was even at one, the shots were being racked off at a decent pace, and anyone could have emerged with the victory.

Then the second period happened.....

The Bruins were outscored 4-1 in the second 20 minutes, forcing Niklas Svedberg to be pulled from the game. When Tuukka Rask entered, it did not get much better--both netminders recorded the exact same stat line. To be fair, the team in front of them did not do anything. They were lazy in the defensive zone and did not come close to getting back into this game. The B's were just looking to get back on the plane to Boston as soon as possible. After a 6-2 loss to the Blue Jackets on this night, this is the type of happening that will quickly humble you. 

The next game on the schedule for the Bruins will be Monday night against the Detroit Red Wings. 

Gold Star: Patrice Bergeron...He had a goal, a plus rating, and was one of three Boston players who were 50% or better at the face-off dot. 

Black Star: Team effort on this one ......

Game Thirty-Six Box Score

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Game 35: Remember This Team?

First of all, something needs to be addressed before anything is said....Matt Bartkowski, you are lucky.

It was ruled earlier on Monday afternoon that he would not receive a suspension nor a fine for his high hit against Buffalo Sabres captain Brian Gionta. It was deemed as a "hit made with incidental head contact." That may be true, but there have been similar hits that were punished with heavy consequences. 

We all understand that he wanted to make a statement upon returning to the lineup, but he almost crossed the line. #lessonlearned

Okay, rant over. More importantly, there was a game at the TD Garden on Tuesday. This was the final game before the regular holiday stoppage for the observation of Christmas. The Boston Bruins were in action against the Nashville Predators, the same team that they lost to in a shootout just last week. 

David Krejci and Mike Fisher was a matchup to focus on all night, not to mention Zdeno Chara and Shea Weber as defensive walls. Also, Tuukka Rask and Carter Hutton were expected to shine in goal for their respective teams. Wow, how about all of these similarities? The only difference is that things have actually worked out well for the Predators thus far. The B's wanted to show them otherwise on this night even though they were 3-5-2 in their previous 10 games. 

In the first period, we saw some inconsistent play from both teams in the defensive zone. Not only was there no REAL rhythm to the game, but the puck seemed to get away from several of the players in the opening frame. The Preds and B's each scored twice, with Brad Marchand and Krejci (his first tally since returning from injury) netting the goals for Boston. Neither goal came from a drawn-up play, but they resulted from strong pressure and forcing turnovers. That is the way to do it. 

The Bruins absolutely skated circles around the Predators in the second period. Normally, the B's have been horrendous in the second 40 minutes, but they were on point here. Boston unloaded five shots on goal and capitalized on two of them to extend the lead. Physical play was also in abundance and of course there were some dull moments, but that was the B's best period of the night. 

In the third period, the Bruins had the chance to extend their lead early when they went on the power play for four minutes. After failing to score, Nashville beat Rask with a weak goal to pull within one. The Preds kept putting more and more pressure on Rask and the rest of the Bruins, but Boston narrowly escaped with a victory after adding an empty netter. The final score was 5-3 in favor of the home team. The Bruins have now won consecutive games for the first time since November. 

The Bruins will not play again until Saturday night when they take on the Columbus Blue Jackets. Merry Christmas, everyone!

Gold Star: Brad Marchand...He buried some great goals in this game. In a time of offensive peril, that was huge for this team.  

Black Star: Matt Fraser...With only a little over five minutes of ice time and a minus rating, why bother even dressing him for this game?

Game Thirty-Five Box Score

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Game 34: This is Awkward

Ummmmmm yeah. It really is a bit awkward. A hockey game played on a Sunday night? That is a very interesting scenario to say the least.

No matter how many football games that are on and no matter what the status is of particular fantasy teams during championship weeks (this guy), this night was all about hockey.

The Boston Bruins returned to the TD Garden on Sunday night against the Buffalo Sabres. After a mediocre road trip, the B's wanted to salvage this Christmas week and catch the Florida Panthers and Toronto Maple Leafs in the Atlantic Division standings. Every. Point. Matters. 

The encouraging news is that the B's took the first two meetings in Buffalo back in October. Yes, the Sabres are a smidge better this year, but they do not have the consistency. Boy, looks like the kettle is calling the pot black. Regardless, this divisional game should have been solid and worth watching.

Tuukka Rask got the start in net for the Bruins as he opposed Jhonas Enroth. Matt Bartkowski finally made his return to the lineup after the demotion of Joe Morrow to Providence. Unfortunately, Bartkowski's night did not last long.

In the first period, he lined up Sabres' captain Brian Gionta with a shot to the head that resulted in a fighting major and game misconduct. He will be hearing from the league offices shortly.

As for the rest of the period, the Bruins got out to an okay-ish start. What really stood out was the incredible puck control by the Black and Gold, an aspect of the game of hockey that is underrated. Dougie Hamilton put the B's on top early with a beauty of a power play goal, and the penalty killing was great after the Bartkowski situation. Overall, not too bad of a start. 

The second period, however, was a disaster. They let the Sabres dictate everything, including shots on goal. They eventually took the lead over Boston. If it were not for a tip in off the stick of Chris Kelly, the Bruins would have been trailing in the second frame. The Sabres played with an edge for the rest of the night and the B's could not contain it.

Eventually, Buffalo acquired a 3-2 lead in the third period. The echos coming from the TD Garden crowd was alarming because the product on the ice just was not there for most of the game. The lack of effort in the second half of the game was pathetic. With the extra attacker on late in the game, Hamilton saved their skin and knotted the tying goal to send the game into overtime. That set up Loui Eriksson to score yet another game-winning goal to give the Bruins the full two points. It was not pretty, but they got the win....much like another Boston sports team on this day. 

The Bruins will play their next game on Tuesday night against the Nashville Predators.

Gold Star: Dougie Hamilton...All of a sudden, he is becoming the B's most valuable player. He racked up another three points in this game (2 goals and 1 assist) and is starting to throw his body around. 

Black Star: Tuukka Rask...Allowing three goals to a struggling team on home ice is not good, especially when you could have had a couple of those back.

Game Thirty-Four Box Score

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Games 31-33: Trying to Get Back Into the Playoff Picture

The front half of the Boston Bruins' schedule this season has been bombarded with lots of road games and road trips. Normally, that would be a great thing to have a home-friendly second half of the season. With the Bruins basically hovering around the .500 mark, that really does not matter. 

Up next on the slate was a three-game road trip through the Central Division. All three of their opponents have winning records and are threats in the Western Conference. The Nashville Predators were on top of the list for Boston on Tuesday night.

The Preds are clearly the front-runners as the surprise team of the year. After hiring head coach Peter Laviolette, trading for James Neal, and giving Pekka Rinne time to re-surge as an elite goaltender, this was going to be one of the toughest games of the season for the Bruins. 

As it turned out, it really was. However, the B's hung with Nashville as both teams exchanged goals that featured some gorgeous pin-point accuracy. Milan Lucic and Reilly Smith netted the tallies for Boston, but the Predators eventually emerged with the two points in a shootout by a score of 3-2.

After wasting little time, they took the ice Wednesday night against the Minnesota Wild. David Krejci made the trip with the team, and eventually made his return to the lineup after missing several weeks with an undisclosed injury. Niklas Svedberg was in net for the Bruins since Tuukka Rask got the start on Tuesday. 

This game was all about strong neutral-zone play and hard battles along the boards. That part of the game went to Minnesota, but Svedberg was ridiculous in goal on this night--he made 35 saves in 60 minutes. At the end of the night, the Bruins stopped their slump and won this game on the stick of Loui Eriksson in overtime. Carl Soderberg posted two points in this one for his troubles. 

The Bruins wrapped up the road trip on Friday night against the Winnipeg Jets as they looked to sweep the season series.

The Bruins played from behind for the entire game after the Jets grabbed an early goal, so chasing the lead in any game is never beneficial. Winnipeg was just too tough an opponent on home ice. Costly mistakes and missed opportunities for Boston proved to be the downfall. They lost the final game by a score of 2-1 and are returning home with a 1-1-1 record on the road trip. 

Boston will play a Sunday night game next on the schedule. Its opponent: the Buffalo Sabres.

Gold Star (combined): Milan Lucic...He had a goal against Nashville, but the bigger story here is how he has been playing in the absence of some key players. When he gets going and uses his size, he is a straight-up force.  

Black Star (combined): Daniel Paille...He has done nothing all season. He is barely getting ice time on the penalty kill, which is a huge part of his game. Naturally, he was a no-show on this trip.

Game Thirty-One Box Score

Game Thirty-Two Box Score

Game Thirty-Three Box Score

Current Playoff Standings

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Game 30: Divisional Games Matter

What better way to spend your Saturday afternoon than by watching the Boston Bruins play a hockey game? 

Rhetorical question or not, this matchup was going to be intriguing. The B's closed out the week by hosting the Ottawa Senators in a matinee game. This was the second time this season these two Atlantic Division foes squared off, with the B's getting the better of the Sens back in November. 

The Senators just recently fired their head coach and the team is not at full strength, so this was an opportune time for Boston to steal a victory before heading out on yet another road trip next week. Ottawa does have a stud in Bobby Ryan, and he is a legit offensive weapon. The Bruins were going to have to be cautious with his line throughout the day.

Tuukka Rask was back in net for Boston on this day as he opposed Robin Lehner. The player output remained the same as Thursday, but the line combos were often mashed up throughout the afternoon. 

In the first period, the puck remained near center ice with neither team really dominating the other. They each got very few scoring chances and had brain cramps full of sloppy play. Overall, it was a pretty listless opening 20 minutes. Craig Cunningham did break through for the Bruins on the penalty kill to record his first-career NHL goal--a shot that should have been saved by Lehner, but a goal nonetheless. 

The Senators started to pick up the pace in the second period as they put immense pressure on the B's defense. Rask made several big stops, but he did let one get by on a beauty of a play by Mika Zibanejad. Loui Eriksson was able to put the Bruins back ahead after some great zone time in the Sens end. 

Unfortunately, the Senators tied the game up at two in the third period to send the game into overtime. After a scoreless and ridiculously entertaining extra frame, Ryan was the one who ended it in the shootout and gave the Senators the full two points in this game. Rask finished with 29 saves. 

Up next for the B's: a road trip through the Central Division. 

Gold Star: Torey Krug...He played a well-rounded game for a full sixty minutes. He was all over the ice and contributed in a big way at both ends of the rink.

Black Star: Zdeno Chara...He really is still trying to shake out the rust since returning to the lineup. So far, he has four minor penalties in the last two games.

Game Thirty Box Score

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Game 29: Marquee Matchup

Arguably, the Boston Bruins just completed the most difficult part of their schedule in terms of competition and distance traveled. The West Coast road trip that covered California and Arizona is in the books.

The bad news is that the B's only salvaged two points out of a possible eight. We all think that since they won the final game of the four-game swing that everything is sweet and peachy.

Come on, guys. You are better than that. Unacceptable. 

The Black and Gold returned home for a couple games this week against some stingy opponents. On Thursday night, the Bruins welcomed the Chicago Blackhawks into the TD Garden. 

If you are playing with house money, then picking Chicago to win the Stanley Cup this year would be a safe bet. The Blackhawks are scorching hot right now and are clicking in all three phases of the game. With Brad Richards and Kris Versteeg proving to be excellent acquisitions in recent seasons, the 'Hawks are loaded and equipped to win it all.

As for the Bruins, Zdeno Chara returned to the lineup after missing several weeks with a knee injury. On the other hand, David Krejci is extremely close to returning to the lineup. In a strange note, Simon Gagne is on personal leave from the team, forcing him to miss this "Original Six" matchup. 

Now, for game action.

In the first period, the 'Hawks jumped out to an early 2-0 lead after dominating the neutral zone. The Bruins started to battle back as the game progressed--they tried to utilize their "pack it in" game plan more than ever to try and stabilize the superb speed and skill possessed by Chicago. 

Boston definitely played the more physical game against Chicago on this night. As a team you can record as many hits as you want, but it does not reflect on the scoreboard. The Bruins did crawl back after coming within one goal (which incidentally lit some fire and sparked the team), but the early hole was too much. The Blackhawks won this game by a score of 3-2 to compile their eighth-straight victory. 

The Bruins will play their next game on Saturday afternoon against the Ottawa Senators.

Gold Star: Patrice Bergeron...He led the team in shots on goal and recorded an assist; just another busy night at the office. 

Black Star: Dennis Seidenberg...This was a rare down game for the gritty blue liner. He did not communicate with his teammates well, leaving them vulnerable.

Statement From Gagne

Game Twenty-Nine Box Score 

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Games 25-28: Red-Eyed Week

^ That is what is referred to as the one week during the NHL season when the Boston Bruins head over to the West Coast and play in some arduous games that test and prepare them for the light at the end of the tunnel.

The other part of that is the late-night puck drops for us back here on the East Coast. Missing sleep and writing--the crazy things that we do for the love of our sports teams. 

Somewhere in that ridiculous cliche is a string of truth: The Stanley Cup Final preview could have taken place during this road trip. 

Although that seems unlikely at this point, the Bruins were most looking forward to the camaraderie that occurs with team bonding during a grueling trip. With that being said, they squared off against opponents that they only see a couple times a year. As a fan, that is a real treat for that to happen this early in the year. 

Zdeno Chara and David Krejci remained in Boston to rehab their respective injuries, so the B's were bringing along a few young guns to add depth to the current roster. Up first for Boston were the Anaheim Ducks on Monday night, followed by a showdown with the Los Angeles Kings on Tuesday night. Both teams have tremendous All-Star caliber players at every position. 

Was this going to be easy? That would be an emphatic "NO," especially with the Bruins emerging with only two total points against the three California teams last season. 

The Bruins held their own against the Ducks during the first half of the game, but Anaheim scored three-straight goals against Tuukka Rask to end its losing streak and knock off Boston by a score of 3-2. Brad Marchand and Simon Gagne were the goal scorers for the B's. In LA, the Kings blanked the Bruins 2-0 behind an incredible game from opposing netminder Jonathan Quick. 

Milan Lucic really has been gelling well on a line with Carl Soderberg and Loui Eriksson--he recorded a goal in back-to-back games prior to this trip. That trio was a no-show during the first two games. They combined for a minus-six rating and no points. 

Thursday night came with hope and aspirations for the B's, as they traveled to San Jose to take on the Sharks in the third game of this road trip. The Bruins beat the Sharks earlier in the year. This time around, the Sharks sought retribution. Boston held an early 2-0 lead, looking to carry over the effort possessed in the first two games. However, it then fell apart. Three different players recorded two goals for San Jose and that was plenty good to get past Boston on this night. The final score was 7-4 in favor of the home team. Rask made 37 saves in what was the worst outing of his career. #ironic

The road trip concluded on Saturday night against the Arizona Coyotes. The Bruins finally righted the ship and exploded for five goals. They scored nine total goals in the final two games of this road trip, an encouraging sign for a team who has been struggling to score. Boston secured two points in the finale by knocking off a struggling Coyotes squad (now 0-5-2 in last seven home games). 

Now, it is time for some sleep! 

The Bruins will not play another game until Thursday. They will face off against the Chicago Blackhawks. 

Gold Star (combined): Reilly Smith...He recorded a pair of goals against San Jose and a pair of assists against Arizona, and was aggressive in neutral-zone rushes. The line switch must have lit a fire under his behind. 

Black Star (combined): Milan Lucic...He always seems to do this: those moments of ineptitude. This was a period of time where he was ice cold, which led to him being somewhat ineffective throughout this road trip.

Update on David Krejci

Game Twenty-Five Box Score

Game Twenty-Six Box Score

Game Twenty-Seven Box Score

Game Twenty-Eight Box Score

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Game 24: Holiday Hangover?

Hopefully, everyone around the National Hockey League enjoyed the Thanksgiving holiday. Now that fans have binged on turkey and football, Black Friday was the day for hockey to resume. 

The Boston Bruins were at the TD Garden to conclude a three-game homestand against the Winnipeg Jets. 

The B's were coming off a very tough overtime loss on Monday night to the Pittsburgh Penguins, but they felt that they had the game won. That type of fire and motivation should have carried over to this game here. 

Slowly but surely, the B's squad is inching its way back to full health. Even though it will be a few weeks before that actually happens, the Bruins wanted to end the month of November strong before they begin an incredibly difficult December schedule. 

This was the first matchup of the season between these two teams. Winnipeg is hanging around the .500 mark, which is no small feat in a monumental Western Conference. The Jets are in flux--we do not know if they are buyers or sellers on the current roster. The Bruins should only be concerned on making the Jets believers in this B's team.

Tuukka Rask was in goal for the Bruins, as he opposed Michael Hutchinson. Chris Kelly made his return to the B's lineup after missing the last two games with an undisclosed injury. 

The Jets jumped out to an early lead on the power play, putting the thought in the minds of everyone present at the Garden that this was going to be a long night for the home team. But thanks to Rask and the 35 total saves that he made in the game, the Bruins were in it the entire time.

Milan Lucic eventually tied the game up after tipping in a beautiful pass from Carl Soderberg, who tallied two assists in this one. The two teams stymied each other for the full sixty minutes, leading to a thrilling ending in overtime--Dougie Hamilton blasted the puck high glove-side after carrying the puck slightly into the offensive zone. 

Boston won this game by a score of 2-1, grabbing two hard-earned points and setting up a Herculean stretch of contests.

The Bruins will start the month of December with a four-game road trip along the West Coast. This will be no easy task.

Gold Star: Tuukka Rask...The team has relied on him more than once to offset another sub-par offensive performance. He kept the Bruins in it the entire time and came up with the timely stops. 

Black Star: Brad Marchand...Coach Claude Julien had some harsh words for him after the game--he alluded to him almost costing the Bruins the game because of his late and unnecessary high-sticking penalty. Even before that moment, he did not play a smart game.

Game Twenty-Four Box Score

Monday, November 24, 2014

Game 23: Bruins Needed This One

There comes a point when talking about injuries with this team becomes moot. Breaking news will surface when players actually start returning, not going down. From this moment forward, discussing injuries will be no more. The only way to keep fighting is just having the next man step up.

Random soliloquy over. However, it is worth noting that Brad Marchand made his return to the lineup for this game. 

Anyway, the Boston Bruins needed to win this game. This week will be relatively light with the Thanksgiving holiday approaching, so getting some points at home was the only salvageable aspect of their recent struggles. On Monday night, the B's hosted the Pittsburgh Penguins.

We all know the deal: Sidney Crosby is arguably the best player in the world. The Penguins also have a few new (and less) faces, but playing with "The Kid" proves to work. Sitting pretty in the Metropolitan Division, the Penguins are rolling. 

The Bruins are hanging in every game themselves, but they just are not finding that many scoring opportunities. Tuukka Rask, who has done his part lately, was back in net for the Black and Gold...the real one. Sorry, Pittsburgh fans.

In the first period, the Bruins were on the receiving end of some bad-luck happenings. They had a goal disallowed and also--specifically Reilly Smith--was the victim of a tough goaltender interference call. Regardless, Boston still had great zone time and puck possession. It was the Penguins who emerged with the lead on a goal by Crosby.

The Bruins pounded the Penguins down to size when they beat Marc-Andre Fleury for two quick goals in the second period. Joe Morrow was one of the goal scorers, making that his first-career NHL goal--one heck of a slap shot. 

The heavily-depleted Bruins squad matched the physicality brought along by Pittsburgh, but they could not hold the lead. The game was tied at two goals each after 60 minutes of regulation hockey. 

All it took was an extra 32 seconds for the Penguins to strike. Evgeni Malkin netted the beautiful one timer past Rask for the full two points. The Bruins lose a tough one in overtime. 

The Bruins will play again on Black Friday evening against the Winnipeg Jets.

Gold Star: Dougie Hamilton.....The kid is maturing at such a rapid rate. Without Zdeno Chara, he is the number one option back there. He added an assist in this game to boot. 

Black Star: The entire fourth line (Jordan Caron-Alexander Khokhlachev-David Pastrnak)....This was a make-shift line with all three of these players combining for under five NHL games this season. With the line recording a minus-2 rating, these guys hardly saw any ice time as the game went on.

Game Twenty-Three Box Score

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Games 21-22: An Emotional Weekend

The proverbial "bug" has been spreading around the Boston Bruins organization, and it has no signs of letting up. 

Not only has the injury bug demolished the depth on the blue line, but the flu bug has taken affect as well. Adam McQuaid suffered a broken wrist during Tuesday night's game and will be sidelined 6-8 weeks. Also, Dougie Hamilton has come down with the flu. The Bruins just cannot seem to get fully healthy.

Well, this was the perfect weekend for the team to get some motivation and dig deep to pull out a couple of victories. First off, the B's traveled to Columbus to take on the Blue Jackets. 

This was an emotional game because of the recent news that has surfaced in Columbus--former Bruin Nathan Horton may never play again due to a degenerative back injury that will require surgery. As fate would have it, Horton has never suited up against Boston since signing with the Blue Jackets (various injuries or conflicting schedules). Regardless, the Jackets are always a handful for the B's, especially on home ice. 

Since Brad Marchand did not make the trip, both Alexander Khokhlachev (such an awesome name to say) and Zach Trotman were recalled from Providence to join the team. Niklas Svedberg made his return between the pipes for this one as well. 

Koko (as the B's like to call him) was reunited with Seth Griffith on the top line, shades of their days down in Providence. He got the insertion after David Krejci was a late scratch, and he made the most of his opportunity. He ended up giving the Bruins the full two points after seven rounds of shootout hockey. 

Leading up to that epic conclusion, Boston showed some resiliency by coming back from an early two-goal deficit. Defensively, both teams played okay. However, the goaltenders let some relatively easy pucks slide past the crease. In an intense, physical, and entertaining road game, the Bruins came out on top despite being heavily undermanned. 

On Saturday night, the Bruins returned home to take on an already-waiting Montreal Canadiens squad. Why was this one emotional? ....... Self-explanatory.....

With Tuukka Rask back in net for the Black and Gold and no Chris Kelly, that was not enough to shake the demons. Montreal defeated Boston for its third-straight victory in the season series. The Bruins dominated the game and got great scoring chances, but two breakdowns when they were outnumbered haunted them on this night. 

The Bruins will play their next game on Monday night against the Pittsburgh Penguins. 

Gold Star (combined): Dennis Seidenberg.....He was the best defensive option for the Bruins over the weekend. He buckled down when needed and helped out his goaltender when he could. 

Black Star (combined): Kevan Miller.....He made his return to the lineup for the weekend, but it will take some time for him to get his full game back.

Press Release

Press Release

Game Twenty-One Box Score

Game Twenty-Two Box Score

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Game 20: Great Weeknight Game

There is a scarce number of games that the Boston Bruins will play that can be considered "must watch." It does not necessarily have to do with star power or even an intense divisional score to settle, but it has everything to do with the potential contest that will result when two great teams clash.

Tuesday night was one of those moments, and we are only 20 games into the 2014-15 NHL season.

The B's remained at home for a great matchup against the St. Louis Blues, one of the best teams in the NHL. They roll four lines, have excellent depth on defense, and top-notch goaltending--all of this has resulted in a top spot in the Central Division thus far. Both teams have aspirations of being playoff bound this year, so a cross-conference game early on in the year never hurts. 

David Krejci was back in the lineup for Boston, which was huge since he would be opposing young stud Vladimir Tarasenko (he leads St. Louis with 21 points). Also, it was great to have his offense back because the Blues lead the league in goals against average. However, Brad Marchand was not in the lineup due to an undisclosed injury. 

In the first period, the Bruins capitalized on some St. Louis miscues. The Blues just did not look comfortable and that was because of the B's intense forecheck. The best in the NHL at disrupting the offensive flow of the opposition (Patrice Bergeron) intercepted a pass and one-timed the puck home for the 1-0 lead.

The second period was a totally different story; St. Louis dominated the middle frame from a possession standpoint. The physicality picked up as well, which was no surprise considering the construction of these two teams. The Bruins, led by Tuukka Rask, were able to remain composed and survived an onslaught created by the much so that they grabbed another goal scored by Torey Krug.

In the third period, the Bruins got out-shot 15-3 and were taken off-guard by the Blues. Rask was forced to be the Tuukka that we all know and love, stopping all 33 shots he faced in the game. The Bruins won this game by a score of 2-0, shutting out one of the hottest offensive teams in the league. 

The Bruins will play their next game on Friday night on the road against the Columbus Blue Jackets, followed by a home game on Saturday night against the Montreal Canadiens. 

Gold Star: Matt Bartkowski.....No, you are not seeing things. He has played out of his mind over the last couple of games, but this was his best game in quite some time. Not only did he record his first point of the season in the form of an assist, but he was sacrificing his body to make great defensive plays. Unreal. 

Black Star: Adam McQuaid.....He left the game early in the second period after he took a shot off the arm. The guy just cannot stay healthy. Enough is enough with him. It is time to move on.

Game Twenty Box Score

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Game 19: Maybe the Daytime Will Help?

Goaltending, offense, puck possession, defense, and quality scoring chances--these are all attributes that the Boston Bruins would like to possess right now, but they are struggling to find the answers.

Hope was at a premium earlier in the week, but after a two-game road trip to Eastern Canada in which they got outscored 11-2, something significant needs to happen with this team. With the loss to Montreal on Thursday night, they have fallen five points out of first place in the Atlantic Division.

Saturday afternoon was a chance to right the wrongs and get two points at home. They took on the Carolina Hurricanes in this matinee game. 

The Hurricanes started out with a winless October, but have put together a record of 5-1-1 since then. This was not going to be an easy matchup for Boston. Both teams have a solid mixture of youth, skill, and veteran leadership, so this contest was going to be entertaining nonetheless. 

Tuukka Rask was back in net for the Bruins. Matt Bartkowski also made his return to the lineup after being a health scratch for the last seven games. 

In the first period, the Bruins were definitely the more physical team. Even players that you would not think to be dishing out hits were doing just that. By that same token, the Hurricanes controlled the puck by out-shooting the B's 16-7. But the Bruins grabbed the 2-1 lead after the first 20 minutes on goals by Seth Griffith and Patrice Bergeron. 

Boston could not let up as they had the momentum headed into the second period. They were disciplined enough to kill off a key penalty and kept the shots to a minimum. No score changes in the period, but the Bruins played well through the first 40 minutes.

In the third period, the Canes started to shift the momentum in their favor. They tested Rask early on, but the defense was well positioned for him to make the saves manageable. When the time came to buckle down, Boston held its zone and kept the Hurricanes in check. The B's held on to win this game by a score of 2-1. Rask finished with 33 saves, while Brad Marchand picked up his 100th career assist on Bergeron's goal. 

Even though this team was only coming off two-straight losses, it felt worse. This win was huge for the team's morale. 

The Bruins will play their next game on Tuesday night against the St. Louis Blues.

Gold Star: Milan Lucic.....Even though he did not produce any points, his compete level on this day was huge. This was a game where he led by example and his teammates followed suit. 

Black Star: Torey Krug.....He has not been himself. He was too eager to pass off the puck instead of carrying it and he was not physical in the defensive zone.

Game Nineteen Box Score

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Games 17-18: Redemption North of the Border?

The Boston Bruins have certainly found their stride in recent weeks.

They are now winners of five-straight games, including sweeping through the homestand that occupied all of last week. With the recent surge, the B's sit in a healthy spot in the Atlantic Division. They can be considered one of the front-runners in the Eastern Conference up until this point in the season. 

Another positive sign is that this particular team is doing this while they are not at full strength. Boston did, however, get word that Kevan Miller is almost set to return and that will bolster the blue line. 

The Bruins are getting their core back at an opportune time. They played a couple of road games on Wednesday and Thursday night in a back-to-back set. They took on the Toronto Maple Leafs in the first game. Boston took the first meeting back in October, and the team has won six of its last seven games without Zdeno Chara. No problem, right? Eh. 

The B's played the Leafs extremely tight in the opening period. Once the second period rolled around, it was a horror show. Boston surrendered four quick goals, which led to a goaltender change during the barrage. The top line of the Leafs (Phil Kessel-Tyler Bozak-James van Riemsdyk) was scorching hot on this night, combining for eight points. Toronto ended up unloading six goals on the B's, forcing them to take a hard look at themselves after a tough loss. 

Montreal was the next destination for Boston, culminating in yet another Bruins/Canadiens showdown. The Habs got the better of the B's in the first matchup in Montreal, so let's see if this night provided a different outcome. After not being satisfied with what they have had offensively (cough cough...Simon Gagne...cough cough), the Bruins recalled Alexander Khokhlachev from Providence for this game but ended up being a scratch. 

The Bruins only had flashes of excellence during this game because the Canadiens dictated much of the pace and the quality scoring chances. The plethora of minor penalties called in the game did not contribute to a steady flow either, but the onus remained with Boston. Montreal scored three unanswered goals on Niklas Svedberg in the second period. The final score was 5-1 in favor of the Habs, sending the Bruins home empty handed in their trip to Canada. 

The Bruins will play their next game on Saturday afternoon against the Carolina Hurricanes.

Gold Star (combined): Chris Kelly.....You really cannot say that he had a great trip, but he was not the worst player out there. In fact, he strung together a couple of solid outings. 

Black Star (combined): Dougie Hamilton....Maybe it was due to exhaustion, but the lack of hustle and the moments of defensive vulnerability were questionable during this trip.

Game Seventeen Box Score

Game Eighteen Box Score

Monday, November 10, 2014

Games 13-16: Early Test During Early Homestand

The Boston Bruins were absolutely in for a stiff test this week.

Yes, they began a four-game homestand this past Saturday night, but teams could possess the feeling of coasting by not taking their opponents seriously. 

The four teams that the B's locked up with this past week may not jump off the page as "juggernauts" in terms of record, but they all had the qualities to give the B's all they could have handled. 

Homestands are great, but sometimes those games can get away from a team who does not focus. Attention Bruins: Focus for these games so you can keep winning and get above .500.  

Before the start of this stretch, the team announced that they had re-signed head coach Claude Julien to a year-three extension. Details of the deal are in the release posted below. 

Up first for the Bruins were the Ottawa Senators. Due to a late scratch of David Krejci from the lineup, Matt Fraser got the nod in this game. He sure made the most of his opportunity as he scored a pair of goals en route to a 4-2 victory for the Bruins. The Sens played well and there were several occasions where one bounce of the puck could have changed the outcome, but a little luck does not hurt. The B's will look forward to playing this team again shortly.

On Tuesday night, the B's hosted the Florida Panthers. This was the first time that Shawn Thornton made his return to the TD Garden as a member of the opposition, a rough site to witness. What WAS great to witness was just how similar the Panthers play to the Bruins due to their new system put in place. The defensive-minded Florida squad was structured in its own end, which led to a tight game between the two teams. In overtime, Brad Marchand broke through for Boston and netted the game winner on a minor breakaway and some nifty moves through the defense. 

Well, we are halfway through the homestand. 

Thursday night brought the Edmonton Oilers to town, a team that was missing both Andrew Ference and Taylor Hall. For the Bruins, Krejci made his return to the lineup. He got robbed of a goal, but his teammates picked up the rest of the loose pucks. The B's exploded for three goals in a span of 2:34 in the third period when they were trailing. With Tuukka Rask coming up with some timely saves (24), Boston held on to win this one by a score of 5-2. The Bruins now have won 13-straight regular season games against Edmonton. 

Finally, after a weekend off, the B's wrapped up this home stretch on Monday night against the New Jersey Devils. Torey Krug made his return to the lineup after missing some time with a broken finger, and he did not miss a beat. 

This was another sixty minute effort put forth by the Bruins, which resulted in a 4-2 victory. The B's were a perfect 4-0-0 during their homestand. Way to climb up the standings. 

The Bruins will be in Eastern Canada next to take on two divisional rivals in a back-to-back set. They will see the Toronto Maple Leafs and Montreal Canadiens. 

Gold Star (combined): Brad Marchand (2 goals, 2 assists, plus-6 rating, 10 shots)...The pest is on fire with a scoring line like that. Hopefully, this will be the start of bigger things this season. 

Black Star (combined): Gregory Campbell...The lack of production and no contributions at all are bad enough. When your line is also allowing goals, now that is just awful.

Game Thirteen Box Score

Game Fourteen Box Score

Game Fifteen Box Score

Game Sixteen Box Score

Release on Claude Julien's Extension

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Game 12: Everything Falling Apart?

It really does seem like everything is coming off its hinges as we know it. We certainly are not used to the Boston Bruins playing this way, not to mention the number of casualties they have suffered so far this season.

This past Tuesday night, the B's lost another staple on the blue line. Torey Krug will be out of action for 2-3 weeks with a broken finger. Joe Morrow and David Warsofsky were both recalled from Providence to fill his void back there.

With all due respect, who knows if that will even work at this point? 

Aside from the injury to Krug, the Bruins are in dire straights because we do not know where their heads are. They seem psychologically fragile, and it showed during their 4-3 loss to the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday. Blowing a lead is never a good look.

Luckily, they had a familiar opponent on Thursday. The Black and Gold took on the Buffalo Sabres in what was already their second meeting in Buffalo this season. 

Bruins head coach Claude Julien mixed up the bottom three lines in order to get some sort of spark out of a handful of struggling players...and that list could go on for awhile. 

After a scoreless first period, the action started to pick up in the second period. Both teams had enormous struggles getting any sort of rhythm going right out of the shoot, so things dragged and became mind numbing for a bit of time. The Sabres beat Niklas Svedberg twice in the period, with Adam McQuaid recording a goal for the Bruins sandwiched in between. The Sabres scored on the power play and just as the B's power play expired, respectively. 

The physical play picked up in the final 20 minutes, with the mindset that the teams knew that the game was on the line. Boston dominated the period from a puck-possession standpoint, as well as getting some great looks on net. The B's eventually broke through on a goal by Brad Marchand to tie the game. 

In overtime, who else? Marchand blasted home the game winner after the Bruins spent the entire opening minute of overtime in the Sabres zone. It was just a matter of time at that point. The Bruins get a much needed victory on the road. 

The Bruins will begin a four-game homestand, starting on Saturday when they take on the Ottawa Senators.

Gold Star: Brad Marchand...He was one of the struggling players who found his game in this one. He had two goals and an assist in a game where he actually made himself existent. 

Black Star: David Warsofsky...He is getting used to the NHL early on this season, so the rust was evident.

Game Twelve Box Score

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Game 11: A Wild Game

Oh man, those awful puns do get old. 

Aside from the ridiculous title, there really is some decent content here. That is because the Boston Bruins took on the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday night back at home.

After years of putting together a team the right way (free-agent signings and drafting raw talent), the Wild could easily be considered one of the best teams in the Western Conference. They have strong leadership qualities and excellent skill players at the three positions. This is probably the deepest team in the West, especially if you have Mikko Koivu skating on the second line. This is a year they should be considered a favorite to contend for the Stanley Cup.

As for the Bruins, they had similar aspirations. Although they have taken some early blows this year, the B's will get stronger as the season progresses. This was going to be a tough test against an opponent who has gotten the better of them over the last several seasons (11-2-1). 

The Wild were coming off a physical encounter with the New York Rangers the previous night that limited their full-strength status, so the Bruins were hoping to seize this chance and steal a victory. 

Tuukka Rask opposed Niklas Backstrom in the goaltender matchup. Zach Trotman was back in the lineup as he skated with Matt Bartkowski on the third defensive pairing.

In the first period, the teams were pretty even in terms of shots, scoring chances, and possession of the puck. The Wild, however, were more aggressive on the fore-check. Both teams traded a goal with each other--both were pretty sweet looking--in the opening 20 minutes. Seth Griffith scored for the Bruins on an epic saucer pass from David Krejci. He really is a magician with the puck.

As for the second period, the Bruins had some sloppy moments. Rask saved the day for the B's because they legitimately gave the Wild plenty of chances off turnovers. Regardless, Boston put in another two goals scored by Griffith (2nd of game) and Milan Lucic. 

After that point, the Bruins fell apart. They allowed the Wild to score three unanswered goals in the third period. They racked up over 40 shots on Rask, so some of those are going in sooner than later. He played well throughout the game, but his teammates had their focus come and go on this night. Minnesota won this game by a final score of 4-3. 

The Bruins will be in action on Thursday night against the Buffalo Sabres. 

Gold Star: Seth Griffith...The kid is finding his stride skating on the top line. With two goals and an assist against a team that has haunted the Bruins, he found the hot hand. 

Black Star: Matt Bartkowski...He continues to get beat out there. He just does not look comfortable, so much so that he got benched in the third period.

Game Eleven Box Score

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Game 10: Captain Down

The Boston Bruins were fully expecting to head up to Toronto to take on the Maple Leafs with a full bill of health. Even though they were coming off a loss on Thursday, the B's are starting to score some goals.

Arguably, they suffered the biggest blow that they could endure from a player standpoint--they lost their captain.

Zdeno Chara suffered a knee injury on Thursday against the New York Islanders, and will be sidelined for about 4-6 weeks. Thankfully, no surgery is required, but this could be a blessing in disguise. The team would rather have him healthy come playoff time. With the heavy load he picks up during the spring, this could help out his chums in the long run.

Regardless, the B's had to move on in the aggregate. They recalled defensemen Joe Morrow and Zach Trotman to try and fill the void. This injury will force the Bruins to step up and play harder. 

As previously mentioned, they were in action on Saturday night against the Leafs, a team that is struggling yet again. Why not take advantage, right?

Tuukka Rask was back in net for the Black and Gold

The first half of the game was difficult for Boston. The Leafs actually held their own and certainly were playing off the home crowd in Toronto to keep them in the game. The Leafs got their chances, but Rask proved why he is in the hunt for a second Vezina Trophy this year--he made 32 saves on 33 shots for the Bruins.

As for the offense, it picked up in the latter half of the second period and into the third period. The team had four different goal scorers, so that is something that the Bruins can build off of going forward. See, everyone is picking up the slack and it started on this night. In what has become an emotional time for the country of Canada, we all can expect that the Bruins took this 4-1 victory with a heavy heart on Saturday.

The Bruins will play their next game on Tuesday night against the Minnesota Wild.

Gold Star: Dougie Hamilton...This is his defensive core now. With his three-point night, he is quickly being thrust into a dependable player. 

Black Star: Simon Gagne...Not the best game he has had since arriving here, but he needs to have a quick memory.

Game Ten Box Score

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Game 9: Welcome Back, Johnny

This was probably going to be the most emotional and bittersweet moment that the Boston Bruins will experience all year. Thursday night marked the return of one of Boston's most beloved athletes: Johnny Boychuk.

He had worked his way through the minor leagues in Colorado until earning the opportunity to play for the "big club" in Boston after his trade here. His work ethic, toughness, and character are all qualities that the Bruins currently miss back on the blue line. 

Check out some of Boychuk's greatest moments wearing the Black and Gold at the bottom of this entry....

Now, it is business. The Bruins were in action against the team they traded Boychuk to (for draft picks) prior to the start of the season. Yup, the New York Islanders were on TD Garden ice to oppose the B's. 

Boychuk, now in a top-pairing role with the Isles, was not the only problem the Bruins had to deal with. John Tavares is one of the best players in the league, and he always gives the B's fits. Would this night also be the case? 

The Bruins were coming off a big win on Tuesday, as they continue their chunk of the schedule were they play seven-out-of-nine games at home. This was the time to ride that momentum. Niklas Svedberg got the start in net for the Bruins on this night. 

As for this particular game, the Bruins played great for about 20 minutes. You cannot play well for only one period and expect to win the game. The Islanders beat the Bruins in every category in this one (with the lone exception being face-offs), but they also seemed to play with more heart out there. The B's tried to make things interesting late, but New York held on for an impressive road win. 

The Black and Gold lost their captain early on in the game due to an undisclosed injury. The Bruins will have a tough time replacing Zdeno Chara if he is out for a significant amount of time. 

The Bruins will play their next game on Saturday night against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Gold Star: Chris Kelly...His five-game point streak is no joke. Who would have thought he would be the most productive player on the roster so far? 

Black Star: Brad Marchand...He was virtually invisible out there--he did not make himself available for any significant scoring chances.

Game Nine Box Score

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Game 8: Another Team In Shambles

The Boston Bruins were entering their first extensive road trip of the year at a pretty auspicious time. 

The entire city was calling for a premature overhaul this soon into the season. Three solid games on the road later, and we have our team back. 

It's funny how things work out. 

Anyway, with the changes made to the roster (Simon Gagne skating on the first line, Gregory Campbell back centering the fourth line, and offensive production from the defense), the Black and Gold were ready to finish the month of October strong.

The Bruins welcomed the San Jose Sharks into the TD Garden on Tuesday, a team that has been dealing with its own internal issues. The captain-less Sharks play well out West against conference opponents, but let's see how they did against Boston on this night.

Kevan Miller, who was injured on Saturday during a fight, was ruled out indefinitely. Matt Bartkowski took his place on the blue line. Also, Seth Griffith was recalled from Providence for this game. 

In the first period, both teams played at a very timid pace. You can tell that both clubs had the respect for the offensive talent that they were opposing, so defensive hockey was the story during the first 20 minutes. The Bruins had the better of the scoring chances, but the Sharks were much more physical, outhitting the B's 10-5. The game was tied at one after the first period as each team netted a power play goal. 

Boston came out on fire to start the second period. The Bruins were forcing the Sharks to break down in their own end and were continuing to rack up shots. They even took the lead on a power play goal by Torey Krug. However, they fell apart in the final five minutes. Logan Couture (2nd goal of game) and old friend Joe Thornton put the puck past Tuukka Rask to take the lead.

Before anyone knew it, the Bruins were playing from behind entering the third period. The final 20 minutes started out as a back-and-forth affair, but Boston quickly took the lead back on goals by Griffith (his first-career NHL goal) and Campbell. The Bruins had to kill a double minor to end the game, but they stood on their heads to protect Rask. The Bruins took this game by a score of 5-3 in what was a very entertaining hockey game. 

The Bruins will play their next game on Thursday night against the New York Islanders.

Gold Star: Milan Lucic...This was his best offensive game this season. His three assists proved to be huge in this game. Let's see if he can keep this up. 

Black Star: Patrice Bergeron...Not only did he not play his best, but his late penalty almost cost his team the game.

Game Eight Box Score

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Games 5-7: First Road Trip of the Year...Uh Oh?

Boston has always been an unrelenting city when it comes to its sports franchises. We as fans can be the harshest of critics, but that keeps our athletes on edge. 

The four major franchises in this city should be grateful, though. Why would an athlete want to play in a pretentious town where championships mean very little to them? Everyone should want to display their craft in Beantown.

With that being said, the Boston Bruins should not take anything that they have been reading in the media personal. However, they should pay SOME attention to it. They need to turn things around....but we can also be a little patient. 

Once David Krejci notches a few games under his belt and the rest of the offensive plays with some consistency, the B's can flip the switch and start playing better hockey. This pattern is reciprocal. 

The first big test for this team came this week when they embarked on their first three-game road trip of the year. The Detroit Red Wings, Montreal Canadiens, and Buffalo Sabres were on tap over the past four nights. 

Earlier in the week, the team announced that they had officially signed veteran forward Simon Gagne to a one-year deal. Could that have been the boost up front that the Bruins have been looking for? Also, Jordan Caron and Bobby Robins were both sent down to Providence. They need goals, not fights. 

The Bruins came to play on Wednesday night. They out-shot the Red Wings 24-12 through the first two periods, and they were perfect on the penalty kill during that time. Tuukka Rask, who made his return in net, came up with some big saves when the team needed him to. Things were looking good, but the Wings tied the game at two in the third period. Ironically enough, the B's offense woke up in the shootout to take the full two points in Detroit. It was not pretty, but it was Boston's second win of the year. 

On Thursday night, the team rekindled its historic rivalry with the Habs in their first meeting of the year. In this game, the goals came aplenty. The Bruins and Habs decided to forego the physical antics and concerned themselves with scoring. Montreal did end up winning this game by a score of 6-4, chasing Rask from his net after the fifth goal. Despite Gregory Campbell making his season debut, the Bruins should have been happy with the goal output and disappointed with the ugly loss in a hostile environment. 

The Sabres were up on Saturday to conclude this road trip. The Bruins were clicking on all cylinders in this game for the first time all year. They blasted home four goals, were solid in the defensive zone, and Niklas Svedberg recorded his first-career NHL shutout. The B's finished the road trip with a 2-1-0 record, so not a bad way to turn things around. 


The Bruins will return home on Tuesday night when they take on the San Jose Sharks. 

Gold Star (combined): David Krejci...He certainly has been racking up the points ever since he made his season debut (one goal and three assists). This was exactly what the team was looking for. 

Black Star (combined): Adam McQuaid...Ouch. This was a tough trip for the rugged blue liner. He was awful in his own zone and was sloppy with the puck. That is never a good combination for a defenseman.

Game Five Box Score

Game Six Box Score

Game Seven Box Score

Monday, October 13, 2014

Game 4: Jealousy and Envy

Even though this is a long season, this city is wired so tightly that a lot of folks were considering Monday afternoon a must-win game for the Boston Bruins. 

The Colorado Avalanche came to town on this Columbus Day matinee at the TD Garden. This was the first time that the B's got a look at Jarome Iginla in an Avalanche sweater. You have to wonder if the organization is starting to regret not being more aggressive in an attempt to re-sign the veteran goal scorer. He is fitting in well in Colorado with all of the young talent, making everyone here envious. 

After a sub-par start to the year, the Bruins were hoping to get some firepower back into their lineup. David Krejci made his season debut in this game, which led to Craig Cunningham being sent down to Providence. Also, Seth Griffith was recalled from the P-Bruins to shake things up offensively. 

Niklas Svedberg also made his season debut in net on this day for Boston. 

The Bruins hung in there for most of the game. In fact, this matchup is underrated when it comes to producing physical and entertaining hockey. These two teams always give us a good watch when they get together. 

The score remained tied at one for most of the game. However, the dagger was driven into the hearts of the B's when Bruins' killer Daniel Briere scored the game-winning goal with less than a second remaining in the game. Yes, this was a tough loss, so no need to dwell on the obvious. Expect changes to surface in the immediate future. 

This was the perfect opportunity to get some momentum going before embarking on their first road trip of the year, but the team could not put it together. The Bruins will play their next game on Wednesday night in Detroit against the Red Wings (again).

Gold Star: Niklas Svedberg...He allowed two goals in his season debut,  but he made 28 saves and kept the Bruins in the game for quite awhile. Not bad so far. 

Black Star: Matt Bartkowski...He was on the ice for both goals and completely lost his man in front of the net. He looks overwhelmed already.

Game Four Box Score

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Games 2-3: Tough First Week

When a team has to play six games in nine nights to start the year, that immediately puts the pressure on you to do well from the get-co. 

Well, the good teams thrive under that type of pressure.

The Boston Bruins just so happen to be placed in that exact scenario this season. They are looking to respond in the right way to close out this busy start to the 2014-15 campaign. The B's were right back in action on Thursday night for the first road game of the year. They took on the Detroit Red Wings.

Despite Boston being short handed, this was a very winnable game. Wings' Pavel Datsyuk was placed on injured reserve to begin the year, so any type of playoff revenge planned by Detroit took a major hit right off the bat. 

The Bruins sent out the same lineup as they did on Wednesday hoping for a repeat performance. Unfortunately, that did not come to fruition. The Red Wings powered their way to a 2-1 victory on home ice. Patrice Bergeron was the lone goal scorer for the B's. Although Tuukka Rask was great in goal, he just could not get the help he needed. Those back-to-backs are killer, especially the second half of them. The second period has always been the Achilles heel of the Black and Gold since the dawning of the "Claude Julien" era in Boston...things were no different on this night.  

The Bruins closed out the week on Saturday night against the Washington Capitals, a team that gutted their core and underwent a major overhaul during the offseason. 

The new look is paying off, and it showed on this night. The Bruins got spanked by the Capitals in a 4-0 blanking at the TD Garden. Alex Ovechkin (WSH) recorded a pair of goals. The bigger problem here is that this Boston team looks inept and deficient in many areas. When you score three goals in three games as a team, everything needs to be reevaluated.  

The Black and Gold will play their first matinee game of the year on Monday afternoon against the Colorado Avalanche.

Gold Star (combined): Patrice Bergeron...This is a default selection, considering how bad the team is playing right now. However, he is the lone spark on the offensive side of things. 

Black Star (combined): Milan Lucic...His play is horrendous, not to mention that he is getting thrown around out there with ease. Something drastic has to happen here.

Game Two Box Score

Game Three Box Score

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Game 1: Who Doesn't Love This Time of Year?

That's right, everyone. We have finally made it. Although we all enjoyed a great summer, hockey is back and better than ever. 

The 2014-15 NHL season is now upon us. The debut of "Wednesday Night Rivalry" this time around featured your Boston Bruins. They kicked off their season at home against the Philadelphia Flyers. 

The Bruins finished the preseason with a 3-2-2 record, showing signs of both rising and sinking as this year will evolve. However, all flashes of hope and glimmer disintegrate once the regular season starts. Although this roster looks vastly different from when the team opened training camp, this team is still good enough to win the Atlantic Division. Here is what the opening-night lineup looked like:

Milan Lucic-Ryan Spooner-Matt Fraser
Brad Marchand-Patrice Bergeron-Reilly Smith
Chris Kelly-Carl Soderberg-Loui Eriksson
Daniel Paille-Craig Cunningham-Bobby Robins

Zdeno Chara-Dougie Hamilton
Dennis Seidenberg-Adam McQuaid
Torey Krug-Kevan Miller

Tuukka Rask-Niklas Svedberg

Gregory Campbell remained out of the lineup because of a core injury, but we all can expect him to be among this group when he returns. Also, David Krejci was placed on injured reserve to start the season due to an undisclosed injury. He should be back next week.

Now, it is time for game action. 

In the first period, the Bruins came out strong. They put pressure on the Flyers and got under their skin. The eagerness to agitate led to a power play opportunity for the Bruins, and Smith capitalized on the chance to put the Bruins up by one. They started getting sloppy in the latter half of the period, but that did not carry over into the second period.

Boston started to put untapped pressure on the Flyers to the point where they could not even carry the puck out of the neutral zone. Lots of hits and a fight thrown in combined to make for some very entertaining hockey.

In the third period, Philly tied the game and completely outplayed the Bruins. However, sometimes a bounce of the puck is all you need. After McQuaid unleashed a shot on goal, the puck bounced to the stick of Kelly for him to tap in. The 2-1 lead would hold up and the Bruins took the full two points on opening night. Soderberg had two assists in this game while Rask finished with 19 saves. 

The Bruins will play the Detroit Red Wings on Thursday, followed by a Saturday night game against the Washington Capitals. 

Gold Star: Reilly Smith...Along with his goal, he set up several of his teammates with great scoring chances. He will earn that new contract this year. 

Black Star: Milan Lucic...We know the offensive production was not there in this one, but not a single hit? This better not be a trend.

Game One Box Score

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Almost Time For The Real Thing

The Boston Bruins are beyond eager to get this 2014-15 NHL season underway. It really is almost time for the real thing. However, they had one last hurdle to clear before that can happen.

The B's closed out their preseason schedule this week with a back-to-backer on Friday and Saturday night. The New York Islanders were up first, followed by the Detroit Red Wings to close things out.

David Pastrnak, Reilly Smith, and Torey Krug all made their preseason debuts, indicating that B's head coach Claude Julien has a pretty solid idea of what the opening-night roster will look like. Speaking of which, Ryan Spooner was among the notable cuts made by the team this week. This was surprising, considering that the Bruins were vocal about getting younger and more skilled on the bottom two lines. Interesting move here. 

Also, in a heartbreaking deal, the Bruins traded Johnny Boychuk to the Islanders for draft picks. This was a move motivated by money to generate more cap space, but this was an emotional decision made by management. His time in Boston will NEVER be taken lightly. He was a great Bruin. 

Either way, the Bruins and Isles played an extremely physical game on Friday night. Something like that usually plays into the hands of the Bruins, and it did. The B's went on to shellac the Islanders by a score of 6-1 in this game. Notably, Malcolm Subban looked great in net and was arguably the best player out on the ice. Could he be making a case for the backup goalie spot? 

In Saturday's game, Patrice Bergeron recorded a hat trick. However, it was not enough as the Wings skated to a 4-3 shootout victory in the last preseason game. We will soon see how the final roster will play out. 

Wednesday night marks the start of the regular season. The Bruins will be home against the Philadelphia Flyers. Let the campaign begin. Best of luck, Boston.