Welcome to the official midway point of the NHL season!
Three-straight losses; Does it get any worse?
Well, it definitely does not get any easier.
The teams that the Boston Bruins lost to over the last few days were beatable opponents. The point of rock bottom came on Sunday afternoon when they fell in a shootout to the worst team in the Eastern Conference, the Carolina Hurricanes.
With that being said, how can you follow up that performance with a showdown against one of the BEST teams in the Eastern Conference? No need for an answer because it is more rhetorical than anything.
With new line combinations from top to bottom, the Bruins continued this week with another back-to-back set. They took on the Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday night, a team that recently acquired David Perron in a trade to solidify their forward depth. As if they did not have enough fire power....
David Pastrnak joined the team, but skated only in the second game. Hopefully, this will provide a long-term jolt to the B's offense.
After both teams notched first-period goals (Zdeno Chara netted the B's tally), the Penguins dominated the neutral zone and along the boards. It was Patrice Bergeron who put the B's on top though, capitalizing on great defense and solid goaltending from Tuukka Rask. Once the Pens tied the game early in the third period, the score remained idle as this one turned out to be a fourth-straight overtime game for the Bruins. With the grace of God, the B's FINALLY broke through and recorded their first win in over a week after Bergeron deflected a shot past Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury. The final score was 3-2 in favor of Boston. #twopoints
Up next for the B's were the New Jersey Devils back at home. Traveling back from Pittsburgh on short notice definitely takes a toll, but when your opponent's top player is almost in his mid-40's (Jaromir Jagr), you would think that would be a winnable game.
Loui Eriksson did not play in this game due to a hand injury, so he was replaced by Jordan Caron. Niklas Svedberg got the start in net for Boston.
Boy, the Devils are the epitome of the word "boring." It is not entirely their fault, but the player composition and the coaching style is horrible. And this was the perfect chance for the Bruins to start a winning streak.
The B's COMPLETELY owned the Devils up and down the ice. They ended up getting the 3-0 victory, but it was jaw-dropping that they only popped in three goals. Also, the Bruins possessed the puck inside the New Jersey zone for over 10 minutes in the opening period. From there, they just locked down defensively. Yes, they were that dominant (shots favored Boston 43-14).
After all of this, the B's are now in the playoff structure.
Now that we are kicking off the second half of the season, the Bruins conclude the week on the road with another matinee game. They will take on the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday afternoon.
Gold Star (combined): Milan Lucic...The power forward is back. He notched two goals and two assists over these two games, plus playing the physical role. That is what we like to see.
Black Star (combined): Craig Cunningham...Virtually non-existent. The Bruins might as well have dressed seven defensemen. He no longer fits in with this team.
Game Forty-One Box Score
Game Forty-Two Box Score
Recap of Fight Between Bruins' Teammates