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. 

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