Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Game 79: Final Road Trip

When this time of year strikes and the NHL season is winding down, you start to run out of things to discuss. Over the course of an 82-game campaign, you hit on most of the key issues and relevant stories when it comes to the sport.

You know what they say.....the great ones find a way. 

The Boston chapter of the Professional Hockey Writer's Association nominated Gregory Campbell for the Masterton Trophy, and will represent the Bruins as he is up against 29 other players around the league for the award. This honor goes to the player who demonstrates good sportsmanship, perseverance, and dedication to hockey. Well-deserved honor for "Soupy." 

Now, in no way am I calling myself a "great one" when it comes to writing about the Boston Bruins, but it was a segue with some comic relief. Shame on me, right?

Anyway, I digress. The Bruins hit the road for an extended period for the final time this season. They traveled to Minnesota for a game against the Wild on Tuesday night. With only one week and four games left on the schedule, the B's are still playing hard.

They wrapped up the number one seed in the Eastern Conference once the postseason begins, which they accomplished on Saturday. At this point, all they have left to play for is the Presidents' Trophy, which is meaningless if they are unable to hoist the greatest trophy in all of sports--the Stanley Cup. 

David Krejci, Jarome Iginla, and Kevan Miller were scratched from the lineup in this game for various reasons. As a result, the B's dressed seven defensemen with Torey Krug taking some line rushes as a forward. Interesting. With the forward and defensive combos all skewed compared to the status quo in front of Tuukka Rask, this had the makings of an amusing night. 

The Bruins and Wild each exchanged power-play goals to begin the game. Boston played a pretty solid opening period, but Jason Pominville (MIN) was the difference for Minnesota. His two goals in the first 20 minutes kept his team on par with the Bruins. 

The physical and chippy play certainly picked up in the second period. Even though the shots on goal did not really accumulate, both teams still had plenty of decent scoring chances. The only tally of the period belonged to Loui Eriksson on the power play. 

In the third period, the Wild came out of the locker room playing strong as they strung together a few heavy rushes. Before you knew it, their youth took over and they started to take some penalties. Being the veteran team that they are, the Bruins maintained their composure--until the last minute of the game where Ryan Suter (MIN) recorded the tying goal with the netminder pulled. It is frightening to see the Black and Gold allow these late third-period goals on a regular basis as of late. 

After a scoreless overtime, which was dominated by Rask (six saves, 21 overall), the Wild took the full two points in the shootout by winning this game 4-3. Mikko Koivu (MIN) scored the only goal of the shootout, and they clinched the seventh seed in the Western Conference. As for the Bruins, they still accumulate points. 

The Bruins will continue their road trip on Thursday night when they take on the Winnipeg Jets.

Gold Star: Patrice Bergeron...This guy will never quit, no matter what time of year it is. After his goal in this game (29th), he is now on a 12-game point streak with 10 goals and six assists. Rest the guy! 

Black Star: Corey Potter...Let's just say that he is absolutely press box-bound come next week, thank goodness.

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