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.

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