The unofficial first half of the National Hockey League regular season came to a close on Wednesday night for the Boston Bruins. They played their last game of 2014 on New Year's Eve.
Leading up to this point, the B's have posted a 19-15-3 record (41 points), good for fifth place in the Atlantic Division. However, they are still out of the playoff structure. It is a true godsend that the B's are where they are in the standings because this team has under-performed. Head coach Claude Julien has done an admirable job with what he has been dealt with in terms of players.
The Bruins possibly (probably, in all likelihood) will need to make a deal or two to acquire some scoring power. As of right now, they are not a contender in the Eastern Conference.
With that being said, the team exploded for five goals on Monday night against the Detroit Red Wings. Will that be an aberration or just a glimpse of false hope?
The next opponent for Boston was the Toronto Maple Leafs, another divisional foe. The Leafs were just two points ahead of the Black and Gold in the standings heading into this game, so this was another must-win contest for Boston. Both teams split the first two meetings of the season with each other.
Tuukka Rask was back in net for the Bruins. Also, Patrice Bergeron and Milan Lucic each made a return to the lineup for this important night.
What a night of hockey it turned out to be. After the Leafs jumped out to an early lead in the first period, both teams combined for five total goals in the second period. This was another night where the Bruins had a different player score each goal.
With the game tied at three goals a side in the third period, the B's out-shot the Leafs 9-2 in the final 20 minutes. They were dominant in every facet of the contest and in every zone on the ice. The puck just could not find the back of the net. After a scoreless overtime, the Leafs ended up getting the full two points by winning the shootout in the fifth round. It does not seem right for a team that was outplayed to win the game. The resilient effort by the B's was all for not.
The Bruins will close out the homestand on Saturday afternoon against the Ottawa Senators.
Gold Star: Carl Soderberg...Another multi-point game for the Swed. Keep it going.
Black Star: Patrice Bergeron...It is quite rare for him to have a minus rating in a game. He will quickly be back to his usual self in the coming days.
Game Thirty-Eight Box Score