Saturday, December 6, 2014

Games 25-28: Red-Eyed Week

^ That is what is referred to as the one week during the NHL season when the Boston Bruins head over to the West Coast and play in some arduous games that test and prepare them for the light at the end of the tunnel.

The other part of that is the late-night puck drops for us back here on the East Coast. Missing sleep and writing--the crazy things that we do for the love of our sports teams. 

Somewhere in that ridiculous cliche is a string of truth: The Stanley Cup Final preview could have taken place during this road trip. 

Although that seems unlikely at this point, the Bruins were most looking forward to the camaraderie that occurs with team bonding during a grueling trip. With that being said, they squared off against opponents that they only see a couple times a year. As a fan, that is a real treat for that to happen this early in the year. 

Zdeno Chara and David Krejci remained in Boston to rehab their respective injuries, so the B's were bringing along a few young guns to add depth to the current roster. Up first for Boston were the Anaheim Ducks on Monday night, followed by a showdown with the Los Angeles Kings on Tuesday night. Both teams have tremendous All-Star caliber players at every position. 

Was this going to be easy? That would be an emphatic "NO," especially with the Bruins emerging with only two total points against the three California teams last season. 

The Bruins held their own against the Ducks during the first half of the game, but Anaheim scored three-straight goals against Tuukka Rask to end its losing streak and knock off Boston by a score of 3-2. Brad Marchand and Simon Gagne were the goal scorers for the B's. In LA, the Kings blanked the Bruins 2-0 behind an incredible game from opposing netminder Jonathan Quick. 

Milan Lucic really has been gelling well on a line with Carl Soderberg and Loui Eriksson--he recorded a goal in back-to-back games prior to this trip. That trio was a no-show during the first two games. They combined for a minus-six rating and no points. 

Thursday night came with hope and aspirations for the B's, as they traveled to San Jose to take on the Sharks in the third game of this road trip. The Bruins beat the Sharks earlier in the year. This time around, the Sharks sought retribution. Boston held an early 2-0 lead, looking to carry over the effort possessed in the first two games. However, it then fell apart. Three different players recorded two goals for San Jose and that was plenty good to get past Boston on this night. The final score was 7-4 in favor of the home team. Rask made 37 saves in what was the worst outing of his career. #ironic

The road trip concluded on Saturday night against the Arizona Coyotes. The Bruins finally righted the ship and exploded for five goals. They scored nine total goals in the final two games of this road trip, an encouraging sign for a team who has been struggling to score. Boston secured two points in the finale by knocking off a struggling Coyotes squad (now 0-5-2 in last seven home games). 

Now, it is time for some sleep! 

The Bruins will not play another game until Thursday. They will face off against the Chicago Blackhawks. 

Gold Star (combined): Reilly Smith...He recorded a pair of goals against San Jose and a pair of assists against Arizona, and was aggressive in neutral-zone rushes. The line switch must have lit a fire under his behind. 

Black Star (combined): Milan Lucic...He always seems to do this: those moments of ineptitude. This was a period of time where he was ice cold, which led to him being somewhat ineffective throughout this road trip.

Update on David Krejci

Game Twenty-Five Box Score

Game Twenty-Six Box Score

Game Twenty-Seven Box Score

Game Twenty-Eight Box Score

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