The Boston Bruins were absolutely in for a stiff test this week.
Yes, they began a four-game homestand this past Saturday night, but teams could possess the feeling of coasting by not taking their opponents seriously.
The four teams that the B's locked up with this past week may not jump off the page as "juggernauts" in terms of record, but they all had the qualities to give the B's all they could have handled.
Homestands are great, but sometimes those games can get away from a team who does not focus. Attention Bruins: Focus for these games so you can keep winning and get above .500.
Before the start of this stretch, the team announced that they had re-signed head coach Claude Julien to a year-three extension. Details of the deal are in the release posted below.
Up first for the Bruins were the Ottawa Senators. Due to a late scratch of David Krejci from the lineup, Matt Fraser got the nod in this game. He sure made the most of his opportunity as he scored a pair of goals en route to a 4-2 victory for the Bruins. The Sens played well and there were several occasions where one bounce of the puck could have changed the outcome, but a little luck does not hurt. The B's will look forward to playing this team again shortly.
On Tuesday night, the B's hosted the Florida Panthers. This was the first time that Shawn Thornton made his return to the TD Garden as a member of the opposition, a rough site to witness. What WAS great to witness was just how similar the Panthers play to the Bruins due to their new system put in place. The defensive-minded Florida squad was structured in its own end, which led to a tight game between the two teams. In overtime, Brad Marchand broke through for Boston and netted the game winner on a minor breakaway and some nifty moves through the defense.
Well, we are halfway through the homestand.
Thursday night brought the Edmonton Oilers to town, a team that was missing both Andrew Ference and Taylor Hall. For the Bruins, Krejci made his return to the lineup. He got robbed of a goal, but his teammates picked up the rest of the loose pucks. The B's exploded for three goals in a span of 2:34 in the third period when they were trailing. With Tuukka Rask coming up with some timely saves (24), Boston held on to win this one by a score of 5-2. The Bruins now have won 13-straight regular season games against Edmonton.
Finally, after a weekend off, the B's wrapped up this home stretch on Monday night against the New Jersey Devils. Torey Krug made his return to the lineup after missing some time with a broken finger, and he did not miss a beat.
This was another sixty minute effort put forth by the Bruins, which resulted in a 4-2 victory. The B's were a perfect 4-0-0 during their homestand. Way to climb up the standings.
The Bruins will be in Eastern Canada next to take on two divisional rivals in a back-to-back set. They will see the Toronto Maple Leafs and Montreal Canadiens.
Gold Star (combined): Brad Marchand (2 goals, 2 assists, plus-6 rating, 10 shots)...The pest is on fire with a scoring line like that. Hopefully, this will be the start of bigger things this season.
Black Star (combined): Gregory Campbell...The lack of production and no contributions at all are bad enough. When your line is also allowing goals, now that is just awful.
Game Thirteen Box Score
Game Fourteen Box Score
Game Fifteen Box Score
Game Sixteen Box Score
Release on Claude Julien's Extension