Sunday, January 4, 2015

Games 39-40: Loaded Weekend to Start 2015

Just like that, we are delving head first into a new calendar year. For the players, coaches, and management above, establishing a "New Year's resolution" for this Boston Bruins team would be an understatement. 

Time is of the essence at this point for the B's. They are still hanging tight in the Atlantic Division, but they need to scale and leapfrog a couple of teams to get into the playoffs. It has been widely debated whether or not the Bruins will add some help. Honestly, enough talking about. We will just wait it out and see what happens.

All they can do is play the schedule. The Bruins closed out the week (and three-game homestand) on Saturday afternoon against the Ottawa Senators for a third-straight divisional game. 

With the return of Adam McQuaid to the lineup (who missed the last 18 games with a broken thumb), the Bruins are healthy. Could the B's accumulate points in all three games this week? Boston grabbed points in both meetings with the Sens this year (1-0-1), so expectations were high. 

Even though the first period was scoreless, the Bruins had two more shots on goal and won 10 more face-offs than the Senators. Ottawa netminder Craig Anderson had to stand on his skates early. From a conservative approach to a physical onslaught, the team picked it up in the second period. 

The B's and Sens each popped in a goal in the second period; Torey Krug scored for Boston on the power play, his eighth goal of the season. As for the last 20 minutes, the teams alternated scores again. Tuukka Rask was ridiculous in this game, making 23 big saves. The Bruins, a team that killed two separate five-on-three power play chances by the Senators, dropped this game in overtime. Bobby Ryan (again) netted the game-winning goal for Ottawa. 

After the game concluded, the Black and Gold headed down to Carolina to take on the Hurricanes for another matinee game on Sunday afternoon. Jordan Staal is finally healthy for the Canes after missing most of the season with a lower-body injury, so the B's needed all four lines to roll in this one. Depth and offsetting matchups were key for this game. 

The lineup remained the same for the Bruins in this one from front to back.

The Hurricanes are the second-worst team in the league, yet still grabbed an early lead. The Bruins only managed three shots on goal in the first period. It took awhile for the Bruins to settle the puck and generate some plays because they looked so disorganized. Once Patrice Bergeron tied the game, the third period was up for grabs. 

The lack of desperation was evident for Boston (only two shots on goal), and let another game go into overtime. This time around, the B's lost in a shootout to the WORST team in the Eastern Conference. Boston falls to 1-5-1 in second games of back-to-back sets. 

The Bruins will play another back-to-back set on Wednesday and Thursday night against a couple of Metropolitan Division opponents. They will take on the Pittsburgh Penguins and the New Jersey Devils, respectively.

Gold Star (combined): David Krejci...He was one of the more consistent players on the ice. He actually played well in the defensive zone as well to go along with the two assists he had on Saturday. 

Black Star (combined): Milan Lucic...Demotion and lack of production is an ugly combination.

Game Thirty-Nine Box Score

Game Forty Box Score

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