Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Game 46: Welcome Home (For One Game)

The headline of this entry says it all.

The Boston Bruins endured a grueling and intense West Coast road trip last week that did not go as well as planned. They finished 1-2-0 against the three California powerhouses, but they ended the week on a high note by securing two points in the finale. 

Shawn Thornton, Loui Eriksson, and Kevan Miller all made their returns to the lineup last week. With the exception of Dennis Seidenberg (torn ACL/MCL), the B's are only missing Chris Kelly (broken leg). He should be eligible to return in a week or two, but Ryan Spooner has played exceptionally well in his absence. 

Controversy? We shall see.

The B's were back in action on Tuesday night when they hosted the Toronto Maple Leafs. Things seemed to be heavily in favor of the B's heading into this one. They held a record of 14-1-1 in their last 16 games at home and have knocked off Toronto in 11-out-of-12 regular season games.

Tuukka Rask was looking to return to form in this one. He received some scrutiny over the last couple of weeks due to his sub-par play. Has he been living up the contract he received and his number one goaltender status? No doubt. He shut out the San Jose Sharks on Saturday night despite being pulled in the game against the Los Angeles Kings. Everyone has their critics, but those same people have the opportunity to silence them. 


Johnny Boychuk made his return to the lineup after missing the last game due to personal reasons (birth of children). However, Dougie Hamilton did not play in this one due to a mild concussion. He should not miss any significant time.

In the first period of this game, both teams certainly got their offenses rolling. Boston and Toronto alternated goals twice. Tyler Bozak (TOR) recorded both first period goals for the Leafs. 

The second period was an interesting one for the Bruins. We witnessed different power play combinations that included Spooner playing with the "Krejci line" and Carl Soderberg playing with the "Bergeron line." It did not bode well for them and it affected the penalty kill. The Leafs beat Rask for their second power play goal of the game to take the lead. 

The Leafs held a 4-3 lead in the third period, but that was when the Bruins found new life. They were hitting, skating hard, and making plays that resulted in great scoring chances. With the extra attacker on the ice and every fan in the TD Garden standing, they could not pull out the equalizer and dropped this game to the Leafs. 

The Bruins will play their next game on Thursday night against the Dallas Stars. 

Gold Star: Patrice Bergeron (1 goal, 1 assist, 3 shots on goal, plus-2 rating, 55% face-offs won)...This is why he is the team's best all-around player. He contributed offensively and his defensive play is always prominent. 

Black Star: Jarome Iginla...He received ample time on the power play, but it just did not flow right going through him. He was also a little bit off with his linemates in this one as well. 

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