Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Game 35: Remember This Team?

First of all, something needs to be addressed before anything is said....Matt Bartkowski, you are lucky.

It was ruled earlier on Monday afternoon that he would not receive a suspension nor a fine for his high hit against Buffalo Sabres captain Brian Gionta. It was deemed as a "hit made with incidental head contact." That may be true, but there have been similar hits that were punished with heavy consequences. 

We all understand that he wanted to make a statement upon returning to the lineup, but he almost crossed the line. #lessonlearned

Okay, rant over. More importantly, there was a game at the TD Garden on Tuesday. This was the final game before the regular holiday stoppage for the observation of Christmas. The Boston Bruins were in action against the Nashville Predators, the same team that they lost to in a shootout just last week. 

David Krejci and Mike Fisher was a matchup to focus on all night, not to mention Zdeno Chara and Shea Weber as defensive walls. Also, Tuukka Rask and Carter Hutton were expected to shine in goal for their respective teams. Wow, how about all of these similarities? The only difference is that things have actually worked out well for the Predators thus far. The B's wanted to show them otherwise on this night even though they were 3-5-2 in their previous 10 games. 

In the first period, we saw some inconsistent play from both teams in the defensive zone. Not only was there no REAL rhythm to the game, but the puck seemed to get away from several of the players in the opening frame. The Preds and B's each scored twice, with Brad Marchand and Krejci (his first tally since returning from injury) netting the goals for Boston. Neither goal came from a drawn-up play, but they resulted from strong pressure and forcing turnovers. That is the way to do it. 

The Bruins absolutely skated circles around the Predators in the second period. Normally, the B's have been horrendous in the second 40 minutes, but they were on point here. Boston unloaded five shots on goal and capitalized on two of them to extend the lead. Physical play was also in abundance and of course there were some dull moments, but that was the B's best period of the night. 

In the third period, the Bruins had the chance to extend their lead early when they went on the power play for four minutes. After failing to score, Nashville beat Rask with a weak goal to pull within one. The Preds kept putting more and more pressure on Rask and the rest of the Bruins, but Boston narrowly escaped with a victory after adding an empty netter. The final score was 5-3 in favor of the home team. The Bruins have now won consecutive games for the first time since November. 

The Bruins will not play again until Saturday night when they take on the Columbus Blue Jackets. Merry Christmas, everyone!

Gold Star: Brad Marchand...He buried some great goals in this game. In a time of offensive peril, that was huge for this team.  

Black Star: Matt Fraser...With only a little over five minutes of ice time and a minus rating, why bother even dressing him for this game?

Game Thirty-Five Box Score

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