The final two games before the Olympic break were intended to be very huge for the Boston Bruins. However, they were without one HUGE asset.
B's captain Zdeno Chara did not play in these two games because he had to fulfill his duties as the captain of the Slovakian national team. He was chosen to carry his country's flag during the opening ceremony, so he had to take an early flight over to Sochi. David Warsofsky took the place of Chara in the lineup for both games, but the bulk of the minutes went to Johnny Boychuk.
With that being said, the B's still needed to finish strong before the break and they were not going to make excuses. Up first was a road game against the St. Louis Blues. In the first meeting of the season, the Blues took the full two points in a shootout. Tuukka Rask was in net on Thursday night for the B's.
As expected, this game was a physical one. What wasn't expected was the fact that the Bruins had to come back after trailing the Blues for most of this game. It was because of two quick third-period goals, which were scored by David Krejci and Brad Marchand, that the B's finally picked up some momentum heading into overtime. However, the Blues ended the game on a sloppy turnover that produced a goal from T.J. Oshie (STL) to give his team the 3-2 victory. Hey, at least they got one point out of the trip down to St. Louis, right?
They returned home for a game against the Ottawa Senators on Saturday afternoon. The Sens always give the B's a run for their money and judging from the season series thus far, it really came down to a bounce of the puck. Chad Johnson got the start for the Black and Gold.
Holy smokes, what a game for the Bruins. They knocked off the Senators by a score of 7-2 behind a solid performance from Patrice Bergeron. Also, 12 different players had at least one point for Boston and seven had multi-point games. They out-shot Ottawa 42-28, chasing starting goaltender Craig Anderson after the fifth goal. That was a great way for the Bruins to end this part of the season. They will head into the break with a great deal of confidence.
See you in two weeks, NHL!
Gold Star: Patrice Bergeron...The Bruins will wish him the best of luck while he is over in Sochi, but his performance on Saturday afternoon (two goals, one assist) and his solid effort on Thursday proved to be vital once again. Word of advice: don't get hurt, please.
Black Star: Daniel Paille...He really did not do too much in these two games. Yes, his penalty killing is always solid, but the lack of production is worrisome.