Monday, January 20, 2014

Games 48-49: Ghosts (Teams) of Stanley Cup's Past

Apparently, there was some epic football game on Sunday afternoon that had tremendous ramifications?

It's not like that needed to be a reason to combine the past two games, but these contests featured the previous two (three if you count the Boston Bruins themselves) Stanley Cup champions and that is a treat in and of itself. 

The B's traveled to Chicago to take on the Blackhawks, a rematch from last year's Stanley Cup final. This was one game on the calendar that all hockey fans wanted to see.

Both rosters look very similar to how they were constructed last June. With the additions and subtractions of a few key pieces on both sides, this was sure to be one of the marquee games of the year.

Tuukka Rask was back between the pipes for the Bruins. He opposed Corey Crawford in this one.

After an explosive opening 30 minutes that produced four total goals, things settled down thanks to the above-mentioned netminders. Despite the lack of production throughout the rest of the game, both teams never missed a beat and we were reminded that this could still be a preview of this year's Stanley Cup final. 

Even though Brad Marchand netted both Boston goals and Rask stopped 35 shots, the Blackhawks stole this game in the shootout. Patrick Kane scored the game winner in the final round. What a contest this turned out to be.

The Bruins wasted little time getting back on the ice as they traveled back to Boston to play host to the Los Angeles Kings. There is just something about those holiday matinee games that generates a special feeling while watching the game. Luckily, this one was just as entertaining as their last matchup that took place over a week ago. 

Adam McQuaid, who was injured in Sunday's game, did not play on Monday. Zach Trotman was recalled from Providence and took his spot in the lineup. Chad Johnson looked to redeem himself as he got the start in goal for Boston.

The Bruins looked solid at the start of this one, jumping out to a 2-0 lead (one short handed and the other coming on the power play). As the game progressed, both teams continued to play physical. The Kings tried to claw their way back into it and this surge was caused by a heavyweight fight between Milan Lucic and Jordan Nolan (LA). 

Los Angeles ended up tying the game in the third period on a snipe from Jeff Carter (LA), but the B's took the lead right back on Marchand's second goal of the game. They did enough towards to end to help Johnson and they secured the two points on this day. 

One side note is that Torey Krug was literally turned into a battering ram by the Kings. Poor guy, but he took a beating like a true hockey player. The Kings knew exactly what they wanted to do. 

The Bruins will not play another game until Saturday afternoon. Their opponent will be the Philadelphia Flyers. 

Gold Star: Brad Marchand...Four goals in two games. That really is a perfect example of a player who is feeling it right now. He currently leads the NHL with four short-handed goals.

Black Star: Matt Bartkowski...He took some careless penalties on Sunday and was absolutely sloppy with the puck on Monday. This could be a result of him being matched with different defensive partners.   

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