Sunday, January 12, 2014

Games 43-45: Week of Late-Night Puck Drops

We are going West!

Well, not so much the common folk in this particular case. However, the Boston Bruins were the lucky ones. They enjoyed their time that they spent in California this past week, but they had to keep in mind that this was a business trip. 

They took on three of the better teams in the Western Conference and they all hale from the "Golden State." If there was one positive thing that the B's could have taken away from this trip before the first game, it would be the fact that they got Shawn Thornton back from suspension. He missed 15 games for his actions in the tussle against the Pittsburgh Penguins. He returned and suited up on Saturday night.

The Bruins still had two more games to play prior to that occurrence and they were looking to make a statement in some cross-conference games. The Anaheim Ducks were up first on Tuesday night.

This game featured seven defensemen dressed for the Bruins due to the absence of Milan Lucic (illness), so make-shift lines (and lack of discipline) were prominent in this one. This strategy did not go well for the B's as they dropped this game by a final score of 5-2. Ducks goaltender Jonas Hiller was ridiculous in net. After a competitive and scoreless opening 20 minutes, Anaheim just exploded and never looked back, netting three power play goals. 

After Tuesday night, they hit the road briefly for their Thursday night matchup against the Los Angeles Kings. 

This game had all of the action a die-hard hockey fan could want. From big hits to slick skill, these two teams know how to put on a show. On this night, L.A. emerged victorious. They took this game by a final score of 4-2. They jumped out to a 3-0 lead and capitalized on some sloppy defensive play by the Bruins. However, Justin Florek (BOS) scored his first-career NHL goal in this one. Hey, that's a positive note, right?

The Black and Gold concluded the road trip on Saturday night when they traveled to "The Tank" to take on the San Jose Sharks. Before the game, Johnny Boychuk returned to Boston for personal reasons. Kevan Miller got his spot in the lineup. Also, Loui Eriksson was cleared for contact earlier in the week and he ended up playing in the finale. He skated on the third line and received some time on the penalty kill. It feels like it has been an eternity since we have seen "number 21" take the ice. 

After a very brisk and scoreless 40 minutes of hockey, the B's and Sharks were out to steal the two points. The only goal of the game occurred when Carl Soderberg beat Antti Niemi (SJ), giving Boston the 1-0 victory. This was a decent way to the end the road trip and they can build on a solid win with the lineup back intact.

The Bruins will head back home for a Tuesday night game against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Gold Star: Dougie Hamilton...He recorded a point in each of the first two games of the trip and racked up numerous shots.

Black Star: Tuukka Rask...He allowed eight goals in the first two games and was eventually pulled in the game against the Kings. Overall, not a great road trip for the netminder even though he had a solid outing in San Jose. 

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