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.