Sunday, March 30, 2014

Games 74-75: Atlantic Division Champs

The city of Boston certainly has experienced its fair share of tragedies over the last year. Of course, we all remember the bombings that took place at last year's Boston Marathon. Most recently, we were struck again when some of the city's finest firefighters lost their lives fighting a tremendous fire.

What do they both have in common? The Boston Bruins paid homage to those lost in the incidents. That is what makes this city so great. Sports can be used as an escape, and the B's know how to do it right. 

That took place on Thursday night prior to the 3-0 victory against the Chicago Blackhawks. The fans were behind their team this whole weekend as they hit the road for the start of a four-game trip. 

We are in the single digits in regards to the amount of games left in the season. Divisional title? All wrapped up. Eastern Conference? Theirs to lose. Presidents' Trophy? Do we dare think about that? It is not out of the realm of possibility. 

The St. Louis Blues are keeping pace with the Bruins over in the Western Conference, and it looks like that it will come down to those two squads. Even though that is not the most sought-after trophy, it is a cool thing to add to a resume. Their quest for that prize continued on Saturday afternoon against the Washington Capitals. 

With Chad Johnson and Andrej Meszaros making their respective returns to the lineup on Saturday, one would assume that the team would be in shutdown mode. Not so much.

This was a full sixty-minute effort put in by the Bruins. Jarome Iginla, David Krejci, Patrice Bergeron, and Carl Soderberg all had multi-point games. The Caps really could not get much of a rhythm going as they fell behind early. At the end of the day, the B's were rolling to a victory and the Atlantic Division crown with the 4-2 victory. 

The Black and Gold wasted little time in taking the ice again. They were in action on Sunday afternoon against the Philadelphia Flyers, a team that is playing at a scorching-hot rate right now. 

There has not been a game in recent memory where the Bruins were dominated in most facets of the game; face-offs, hits, shots, you name it. Philadelphia had the edge in this game. What do resilient teams do? They find a way. 

After the Flyers tied the game up with seconds left in regulation, the Bruins ended up taking the full two points in the shootout. Tuukka Rask recorded a career-high 49 saves to post his 100th career win. The B's have now won nine road games in a row. Bergeron, who scored in this game as well, now has goals in seven straight games. 

Up next for the Bruins: Detroit and Toronto in a back-to-back set.

Gold Star: Jarome Iginla...30 goals for a guy who was supposedly nearing the end. The Bruins need to re-up him for the foreseeable future. He belongs in Boston. 

Black Star: Brad Marchand...This past weekend was sloppy for the B's agitator. He was lackadaisical in his own zone, which led to a couple of goals.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Game 73: Revenge

It had to end sooner or later....

The Boston Bruins put up a valiant effort in an attempt to defend their 12-game winning streak against divisional and heated rival, the Montreal Canadiens. The Habs made good on their promise to come out playing hard, and they forced Boston to play their agitating style. The B's could not get to 13 games. Congrats, Montreal. 

Now, some of the pressure is off their shoulders for the remainder of the year. Perhaps this would be an ideal time to rest some of the starters? Well, maybe after Thursday's game. The Bruins took on the Chicago Blackhawks in a rematch from last year's Stanley Cup Final. 

The Blackhawks took the only meeting of the year back in January-a 3-2 shootout victory. With Patrick Kane out for the rest of the regular season, Chicago has been struggling to find some offense. They still have enough veterans to give the Bruins a good game.

Hey, this could very well be another preview of the Cup Finals in June. Even though this was just a cross-conference game, both teams would love the edge in case that matchup comes to fruition. 

In the first period, the Bruins suffocated the Hawks by shutting down the stretch pass. They were in control for most of the game, but Chicago racked up the shots early on. After jumping out to a 1-0 lead, the Bruins never looked back.

As quickly as the game went by, it still seemed like it could sway either way. Once the Bruins scored two quick goals in the third period, it was over. Tuukka Rask recorded his seventh shutout of the year to seal the 3-0 victory for the B's. When you go 13-0-1 in your last 14 games, that is how you know that you are playing at a high level. Expect Boston to rest most of its starters in the upcoming games.

The Bruins will embark on a four-game road trip, starting on Saturday when they travel to Washington D.C. to take on the Capitals. 

Gold Star: Patrice Bergeron...Will this guy ever take a game off? Never. Two goals and a plus-two rating for him was enough to overcome the defending champs. 

Black Star: Shawn Thornton...In a game like this, it was like picking the worst of the best.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Game 72: Lucky Thirteen?

Okay gentlemen, we get it!

There are several naysayers out there who believe that peaking too early is a bad thing. Why? How is that possible? When you are on a roll, keep it that way.

With the grind of the NHL season being what it is, stealing and maintaining any type of momentum is vital for success. The playoffs are right around the corner, and the Boston Bruins are among the favorites to reach the Stanley Cup Finals. 

Let's focus on the present for right now. The Bruins are coming off a grueling last couple of weeks, but this week will not be too intense-they have three games on the slate for the week. Although the quantity of games will not reach optimum level, the quality of opponent that they will encounter is through the TD Garden roof. 

Monday night was the B's last meeting of the regular season with the Montreal Canadiens. Both teams will get into the playoffs, but it is all about seeding at this point. In terms of physicality and the "rough stuff," this rivalry knows no boundaries when it comes to how late in the season they face off. What a game this turned out to be in an attempt for Boston to extend its winning streak to 13 games and split the season series with the Habs. 

Tuukka Rask opposed Peter Budaj in net, a matchup that we saw back up in Montreal due to Carey Price's injury. Torey Krug got the nod as the sixth defenseman in this one.

It certainly did not take long for things to boil over. Early on in the first period, Milan Lucic took a low hit to the knees from Alexei Emelin (MTL). From there, it was typical Boston/Montreal. The scoring chances came often for the Bruins, but they could not capitalize in the first 20 minutes. The Habs really brought the bruises, and they did so without two of their tough power forwards (Dale Weise and Travis Moen). They were both lost minutes into the game during the same sequence....

The Habs took a 1-0 lead heading into the second period, which eventually carried over into the third period. The Bruins started seething and seeking out every white sweater on the ice. That cost them because they became more concerned with hitting than scoring. For what it is worth, Boston outhit Montreal 30-9 through 40 minutes. With some timely saves by Rask and key penalty killing, the B's remained in this. 

In the third period, the Bruins got their fair share of power play opportunities-four to be exact. Patrice Bergeron netted his 23rd goal of the year to tie the game. It remained tied all the way through overtime and into the shootout. From there, it was Montreal's Alex Galchenyuk who beat Rask in the fourth round to seal the 2-1 victory and end the B's streak. #sadface 

The Bruins will play their next game on Thursday night against the Chicago Blackhawks. 

Gold Star: Patrice Bergeron...He played hard all game long, and it was nice to see him get rewarded on the power play. 

Black Star: David Krejci....Way too much passing in this one. You have to shoot the puck if you want to score.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Games 70-71: Playoffs, Here They Come

Do you want to be informed on how you know that the NHL season is starting to wind down? 

Well, taking that last cross-country trip is certainly one of the giveaways. 

The Boston Bruins were on the road all weekend as they traveled waaaaaaay out west for the last time this season. They were in action on Friday night against the Colorado Avalanche, followed by an intense matchup against the Phoenix Coyotes on Saturday.

Since both games were that far away from the city of Boston, they each had 9 pm puck drops. The late-night start times are always a drag, but these two games were worth the red eyes that followed suit. 

The Bruins have been saying all month long that they have not been focused on the streak. Sure, ten games is ten games, but how much benefit of the doubt are we going to give this team? It has to be on their minds-the team has been playing so hot as of late. Throughout the month of March, the top four scorers on the team have all come from a different line (Jarome Iginla, Patrice Bergeron, Carl Sodeberg, Gregory Campbell). Remember that comment about having all four lines rolling? #caseinpoint 

The team was going for 11-straight wins on Friday against the Avs, and that mark would surpass the season record co-held by the B's and the Anaheim Ducks. 

The Avs, who took the only meeting of the season back in October, have the skill this year to make a deep playoff run. Well, so does their opponent, and both teams are looking to play hockey deep in the month of May. 

Johnny Boychuk traveled with the team, but he only ended up playing in the second game of the back-to-back set. He missed the previous three games with an injury. The defense continues to see some tweaks in order to get everyone involved. Chad Johnson was between the pipes for Boston. 

This game was slow and brisk, but the Bruins still stuck to their game. They held the skilled players of the Avalanche in check while keeping true to their identity.With goals by Bergeron and Soderberg, that was all they needed to seal the victory. Dougie Hamilton also recorded a pair of assists. What was great about this effort is that the B's held the lead and kept on playing without letting up. They are now the first team in the NHL to clinch a playoff spot. 

The Coyotes were up next on Saturday to close out the fifth back-to-backer of the month for the Bruins. Holy cow. Tuukka Rask was in net for this game. 

This one turned out to be a little scary for Bruins fans. Is it odd that we are so hooked on regular season games? We just do not want them to lose. Anyway, the Coyotes gave the B's all they could handle....then the third period happened. They scored three goals-two from Iginla and one from Shawn Thornton-to seal the win. #12games

The Bruins will return home on Monday night for a game against the Montreal Canadiens. 

Gold Star: Dougie Hamilton...Three points in two games to accompany his hard-nosed defense that he finally discovered. Those two healthy scratches seemed to have done wonders. 

Black Star: Zdeno Chara...His play has been rusty as of late, but he should get all of those kinks worked out before the playoffs.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Games 68-69: Ten

Before we get to the actual games that need to be discussed, something else needs to be stated. The third line? Holy smokes. 

The line of Chris Kelly-Carl Soderberg-Loui Eriksson has been on point and very consistent. Sure, the numbers are not "off the charts," but if you just do the simple eye test, they are playing solid in all three zones and have finally solidified the depth of the Boston Bruins.

It is a shame that Eriksson had to suffer those concussions for him to get bumped down to that line, but it was a blessing in disguise. Not one fan will say "thank you" to John Scott or Brooks Orpik for it, though. Plus, Soderberg plays best at center and Kelly can play tight on the wing. 

Perfect. All four lines are rolling.

They needed all four lines rolling this week because they had two back-to-back sets in seven days. On Monday night, the B's took on the Minnesota Wild in what was their first meeting of the season. Yes, it is mid-March.

The Wild are a good team with some great American-bred skill in Zach Parise and Ryan Suter. Those two alone can be enough to change a game plan. For the B's, Johnny Boychuk was ruled out for both games due to a lower-body injury. Corey Potter made his B's debut in Tuesday's game. 

With the Wild controlling much of the puck through the first two periods, the Bruins still had a leg up on their competition. The third period was all Boston. And guess what? We had a Reilly Smith sighting! He scored the third goal for the Bruins, his first goal since January 28. Tuukka Rask was superb in net, and Jarome Iginla had a pair of goals as well, all positive things that played in favor of Boston. The Bruins finally ended their skid against Minnesota by securing the 4-1 victory. #ninegamestreak

The B's were right back in action on Tuesday night against the New Jersey Devils. This was the first game of a three-game road trip.

It turns out that this one was not a close contest either. The Devils, known for their sluggish style of play and yawn-inducing boredom, actually gave the Bruins an entertaining game. However, the B's would not be denied their #tengamestreak. The goals came from three different lines and even through special teams as they knocked off the Devils by a score of 4-2. Iginla, who scored a pair on this night as well, now leads the team with 26 goals. 

The Bruins will head out west for games against the Colorado Avalanche and the Phoenix Coyotes later this week.

Gold Star: Jarome Iginla...He has posted eight goals during his six-game point streak. The aging seems to be ageless. What a perfect fit he has turned out to be for this team. 

Black Star: Dougie Hamilton...Aside from the careless penalties, he just did not seem like himself throughout these two games.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Game 67: Eight In A Row? You Bet

Loss (n) - the fact or process of losing something or someone.

It does not appear that word is in the vocabulary of the Boston Bruins organization right now. They just will not chalk up an "L" in the right column of their overall record.

And now watch, they will drop the next five games. The metaphorical "jinks" is upon the team, but let's pray that is not the case. 

Anyway, fresh off Claude Julien's 300th win as the coach of the Black and Gold, the B's schedule continues to truck along. They hosted the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday afternoon. This was the first time since November that these two teams hooked up for a meeting. With that amount of time elapsed between matchups, one can forget their opponent rather easily.

In case you forgot, the B's have dominated the season series thus far. This is a nice change of pace since the Canes have owned the Bruins in recent memory. Boston was looking for the season sweep on this day against the Staal Brothers. 

Chad Johnson was between the pipes in search for his eighth-straight win at home. Daniel Paille made his return to the lineup after missing the last two games with a concussion. Also, Matt Lindblad was recalled from Providence on Friday and made his NHL debut in this one. It looks like it is the time to start resting some starters. Because of that, Shawn Thornton was a healthy scratch. 

The Bruins dominated this game and completed another season sweep of a particular team. This was a front-to-back effort with everyone playing hard. Bruins five, Hurricanes one. Simply put. The fans in attendance can surely attest to the prowess showed by this team, especially in the defensive zone. That turned into great offense, particularly from the top line. What an effort put in by this team on Saturday. 

The Bruins will play their next game on Monday night against the Minnesota Wild-their first meeting of the season.

Gold Star: Milan Lucic...With one goal and two assists, he got the B's going with his offense and his physical play. 

Black Star: Matt Lindblad...Patience, kid. It is your first game. You will get there.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Game 66: Who Are These Guys?

The Boston Bruins are gunning for a seventh-straight victory, potentially catapulting them into the top spot in the Eastern Conference. Overtaking the Pittsburgh Penguins would be sweet medicine for this team at the moment. 

However, that feat was not going to be easy. They had not won seven games in a row since 2011. Coincidentally, they had not taken the ice with their opponent on Thursday night since 2011 as well. 

The Bruins welcomed the Phoenix Coyotes into the TD Garden on Thursday, and it sure was a "double-take" moment witnessing the maroon and white on the ice. If you did not get enough of it, the Black and Gold will face this team next week back in Arizona. 

The Coyotes are in the middle of their own playoff push, chasing the final wild card spot in an intense Western Conference. Cross-conference matchups are always important games for Stanley Cup purposes, but both teams had their own agendas on this night. 

Many expected Chad Johnson to get the start in net for the Bruins, but Tuukka Rask was right back out there. Johnson was looking to extend his undefeated streak at home to eight games this season. Dougie Hamilton got back into the mix by replacing Torey Krug in the lineup.

Although this game seemed boring and uneventful at times, it was still a solid effort from the B's to claim two points. They opened up a two-goal lead and never looked back. The second period was brutal; both teams combined for five shots on goal. Turnover after turnover combined with good defense told the story here. With the 2-1 victory for the Bruins, they continue to look down at every team in the Atlantic Division. 

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

Gold Star: Jarome Iginla...With a goal and three shots on net in this game, that was enough to be a force on the ice. That was the type of game it turned out to be.

Black Star: Shawn Thornton...By that same token, he could not get a fair amount of ice time. He had nine shifts with a little over six minutes of game action.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Game 65: Bidding For The One Seed

The Boston Bruins are on a five-game winning streak right now, and it does not seem like many impending roadblocks can slow them down. 

That, of course, is inaccurate when it comes to the injury component of the game. Daniel Paille, who left Sunday's game after taking a hit from Florida Panthers defenseman Ed Jovanovski, was diagnosed with another concussion. Jordan Caron will step in for the time being. 

Now that the bad news has been delivered, let's focus on one positive note. Andrej Meszaros looked great in his Bruins debut, recording a goal and making smart decisions with the puck. This pickup will prove to be vital down the stretch for this team.

For the time being, the Bruins had bigger things to worry about presently. They ended their road trip on Wednesday night against their heated rival, the Montreal Canadiens. This was Thomas Vanek's first home game as a member of the Habs. For the B's, this was the first half of their third back-to-back set of the month. 

Oh, and by the way, the Bruins are winless against the Canadiens this season.....

Tuukka Rask was back in goal while the defensive lineup remained the same as the last game-Meszaros in place of Dougie Hamilton. Rask possessed a career record of 2-10-2 against Montreal heading into Wednesday, so this one was all too important for him on a personal level. Carey Price (MTL) did not play on this night as he is still recovering from a lower-body injury he suffered during the Olympics. 

In the first period, the Habs completely owned it from the face-off dot. It was because of that they controlled much of the possession. The Bruins did get some chances, but Rask saved their skin on several occasions throughout the first 20 minutes. Also, Montreal just cannot score on the power play as of late. 

With the game scoreless heading into the second period, the Bruins changed that very quickly. Carl Soderberg netted the game's first goal just one minute into the period. Patrice Bergeron put the B's up by two some eight minutes later. While the first goal was a solid one-man effort with pressure on the forecheck, the second one involved slick passing and skill-both exemplifying the nature of this team. Milan Lucic added a late goal on a wicked slapper to give his team the 3-0 lead. 

Boston dominated the second period, but the final 20 minutes of regulation slightly drifted away from that theme. The Canadiens tried to claw their way back into it, but the dagger came when Zdeno Chara buried his 15th goal of the year to seal the 4-1 victory for the Bruins. The weight has been lifted. 

The Bruins will return home on Thursday night to take on the Phoenix Coyotes (first time since 2011). 

Gold Star: Tuukka Rask...His 35-save performance on this night could be the one that propels him to the front of the Vezina race. 

Black Star: Andrej Meszaros...Even though he was familiar with the opponent, this was not his best game. The speed of Montreal got the best of him. 

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Games 63-64: Weekend In Florida/Pair Of Season Sweeps

The folks in the media were not kidding when they said that the Boston Bruins have an intense March schedule ahead of them. 

The B's will endure six back-to-back sets throughout the month. They already battled through one, earning a split result. This past weekend was the second of six back-to-backers, and this one was going to be much more difficult than advertised. 

They took on the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday night. Even though the Lightning lost long-time Bolt in Martin St. Louis on the day of the trade deadline, they received a bolt of energy (pun intended) by getting Steven Stamkos back from injury one game prior. Stamkos, ironically enough, broke his leg against the Bruins on November 11 and has not played since. 

It sure does seem that the "Hockey Gods" have their own agenda when it comes to certain facets of the game such as this one. 

With the Bruins trailing in the third period, they got a late goal from Johnny Boychuk. This came shortly after a disallowed goal, so the B's could very well have been deflated after that point. At the end of the night, Reilly Smith gave Boston the full two points by scoring in the seventh round of the shootout. Another season sweep of a team is in the books. 

On Sunday afternoon, the Black and Gold were also looking to complete the season sweep of the Florida Panthers. If they were to accomplish this feat, it would be a successful trip. Chad Johnson got the start for Boston, and he opposed Roberto Luongo; this is now his second stint with the team. Also, Andrej Meszaros made his Bruins debut in place of Dougie Hamilton. 

After a highly-physical and scoreless first period, the Panthers and Bruins started to find their respective styles. Both teams capitalized on a goal in the second period, which was a blessing for the B's due to the way Florida was dominating the game at the time. 

What was entertaining about the final 20 minutes is that the teams alternated three goals in a 60-second span. Also, Jack Edwards needs to keep his mouth zipped when it comes to stating the results of a game before the final whistle. Regardless, the Bruins grabbed the 5-2 victory and improved to 9-0-0 on the season against Florida teams. 

After a couple days off from game action, the B's will hit the ice again on Wednesday for the start of yet another back-to-back set. Their opponent will be the Montreal Canadiens-with Bruins killer Thomas Vanek on their side.

*Daniel Paille took a hit in the early moments of Sunday's game and did not return. His status will be monitored throughout the week. 

*Jarome Iginla recorded his 550th career goal in Sunday's game against the Panthers. 

Gold Star: Johnny Boychuk...He is becoming a true workhorse for this team. His offense has improved and his defensive effort is admirable. 

Black Star: Milan Lucic...His play over the weekend could definitely be considered sloppy and lazy.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Game 62: New-Look Teams

Well, that was surely an interesting trade deadline day across the NHL.

With 15 deals occurring that involved 24 players and a plethora of draft picks, the Boston Bruins accomplished what they originally set out to do: bolster their defensive depth.

They acquired Andrej Meszaros from the Philadelphia Flyers and claimed Corey Potter off waivers from the Edmonton Oilers. Meszaros could prove to be a solid pickup for this team with his versatility and his ability to eat up some minutes. With Adam McQuaid being shut down for two-to-three weeks with a quad strain, adding multiple guys was necessary 

Their opponent on Thursday night, the Washington Capitals, came into the TD Garden with a refreshed identity as well. They added Dustin Penner up front, along with Jaroslav Halak to provide some goaltending depth. As if this team was not scary enough with the likes of Alex Ovehckin and Nicklas Backstrom, just to name a few of their weapons. 

When it came to this game, the Bruins still had a bitter taste in their mouths from last weekend when they fell to the Caps, so this was all about retribution. 

Tuukka Rask was back in goal, trying to top Chad Johnson's performance on Tuesday night. Loui Eriksson made his return to the lineup as well after missing Tuesday's game with an infected heel. No Meszaros in this one. 

If you could ever imagine a lopsided 20 minutes of play to the fullest extent, then that is what happened in the first period of this one. The B's just had their way with the Caps, dominating the zone time and unraveling shots with ease. All four lines were rolling, but did not have a goal to show for it. 

In the second period, the Bruins cashed in on a pair of goals. Gregory Campbell and Eriksson beat Braden Holtby (WSH), solidifying the stellar play of the third and fourth lines in this game. Washington possessed the puck much better in this period, but could not find a way to get the puck past Rask. 

Washington was held to eight total shots through the first 40 minutes, but they brought the surge in the third period. In what turned out to be a penalty-free affair (the first in 13 years for Boston), the B's got some payback. They won this game by a score of 3-0. Campbell now has four goals in four games and Rask recorded his sixth shutout of the season. 

The Bruins will be in the state of Florida for the weekend when they take on the Lightning and the Panthers, respectively. 

Gold Star: Carl Soderberg...He absolutely owned the puck in this game, specifically in the offensive zone as he picked up the primary assist on the second goal. He was arguably the best forward on the ice. 

Black Star: Reilly Smith...When is this guy going to start producing goals again? He may have come back down to reality.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Game 61: Full Sixty Minutes

If we could pinpoint a time of year during the NHL season where the drama is at its highest-excluding the Stanley Cup playoffs-it would be the trade deadline.

With one game left to play before the 3pm deal-making day on Wednesday, the Boston Bruins still have the need for another defenseman. That gaping hole on the blue line was not made evident until the loss of Dennis Seidenberg for the rest of the season. 

This need was even more significant after the news broke on Monday about Adam McQuaid potentially being shut down for the year. His nagging lower-body injury just will not cooperate. 

With that being said, the Bruins welcomed the Florida Panthers to the TD Garden on Tuesday night. Not to be overzealous, but Boston has swept the season series thus far against this team. The B's and Cats will hook up again early next week, but until that happens, we have an entertaining hockey game to discuss on this night.

Chad Johnson got the start in goal. Also, Loui Eriksson was held out of the lineup in this game in favor of Jordan Caron. The team called it a "minor issue." Mmmmmmmm.....

In the first period, the Bruins looked great. They out-shot the Panthers 14-7 and dominated the neutral-zone play. They held a 2-0 lead after the first 20 minutes on goals from David Krejci and Jarome Iginla, making Tim Thomas (FLA) lunge and sprawl out on both shots. This was the first time in four games that the B's had not surrendered the first goal. 

The second period was similar, although the Panthers certainly picked up the physicality. They started racking up shots on Johnson, but the Bruins held strong in the defensive end. After a late goal by Krejci, the Bruins carried a 3-0 lead heading into the third period. 

Although the Panthers made it interesting and notched a goal in the third, it was not enough as they could not capitalize on some of their scoring opportunities; they hit four posts. The Bruins went on to win this game by a final score of 4-1 after the B's top-line center completed the hat trick. Johnson remains unbeaten (7-0-0) on TD Garden ice this season. 

The Bruins will play their next game on Thursday night against the Washington Capitals. 

Gold Star: David Krejci...He was a magician with the puck in this game. His hat trick (three goals), seven shots on goal, and plus-three rating was just the spark the Bruins were looking from him. Solid effort. 

Black Star: Jordan Caron...Could this have been the last time we saw this guy as a member of the Black and Gold? Although he did have an assist and some hits, he took some foolish penalties. Overanxious.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Games 59-60: One Month Ends, Another Begins

With one game under their belt post-Olympic break, it is safe to say that the Boston Bruins may need to shake out a few kinks in their game. 

Yes, it was a heartbreaking loss on Wednesday night against the Buffalo Sabres. The positive spin that you could put on that is players looked refreshed and rearing to skate hard, like Chris Kelly and Carl Soderberg. Was the rest of the team willing to buckle down and get back on the winning track over the weekend?

The Bruins were back in action with games on both Saturday and Sunday. They returned home for an afternoon game against the Washington Capitals, their first meeting of the season and the last Eastern Conference team to oppose the Bruins this season. This was their first look at Alex Ovechkin, who had a disappointing finish for Russia in the Olympics.

Okay, that will be the last reference to the Olympics from this point forward. It is over, and it is time to progress with the NHL season. 

Tuukka Rask made his return between the pipes over the weekend. Also, Adam McQuaid, who was set to make his return this weekend, suffered a minor setback with his lower-body injury and was held out of the lineup again. 

The Capitals came to play on Saturday afternoon. Why was this evident? They played the physical style of hockey associated with the Bruins, which may have caught them off guard. The Caps jumped out to a 3-0 lead, two of those goals coming from Ovehckin on the power play. He now has recorded 800 career points during his stint in the league.

The Bruins cut the lead to one heading into the third period, but Washington proved to be too much on this day. Behind a stellar performance from Braden Holtby in net, Washington knocked off Boston by a final score of 4-2. 

Up next for the Bruins: the New York Rangers. This was the final meeting of the regular season between these two powerhouses. Does anyone remember that epic playoff series last year? #classic 

Although this one was highly physical, there was a great amount of skill on display for the fans at Madison Square Garden. The Rangers dominated in the shot category, but the Bruins held a one-goal lead heading into the third period.

In the final 20 minutes, the Bruins started to pull away. With a solid effort from Rask, the B's ended their two-game losing skid with a 6-3 victory over the Rangers. The Bruins still have yet to lose three-straight games this year. 10 different players had at least one point in the game. 

After an eventful weekend for the Black and Gold, the rest of the month will be no picnic. Let's attack the March schedule with determination, especially with the trade deadline looming. 

The Bruins will play their next game on Tuesday night against the Florida Panthers.

Gold Star: Gregory Campbell...It is about time someone on the fourth line gets some well-deserved recognition. He had a hard-earned assist and four shots on goal in the first game, followed by two goals in the second game. 

Black Star: Johnny Boychuk...This was definitely a rough weekend for the B's default number two defenseman. He finished with a minus-two rating on Saturday, in which we all saw him look awful on the Caps third goal of the game. He was not much better against the Rangers.