Saturday, February 28, 2015

Games 61-62: Thank Goodness It's Over

The month of February is drawing to a close, and there is no team out there that cannot wait to see it evaporate away more than the Boston Bruins. 

Heading into the weekend, the B's only compiled two victories in the entire second month of the year. The good news here is that Boston had the opportunity with this back-to-back set to end the month strong against two beatable teams. 

On Friday night, New Jersey was on the slate. From the looks of things, the Devils have been playing very well at home lately (15-9-7 on the year). However, the Bruins looked to get a much needed victory on the road and sweep the season series with the Devils. 

Before the start of the game, it was announced that the Devils traded Jaromir Jagr to the Florida Panthers--the same team that is right behind the Bruins for the second wild card spot. Things just got a little more interesting. #pressureison. Also, goaltender Jeremy Smith was recalled from Providence on an emergency basis since Tuukka Rask was not feeling 100%. He backed up Niklas Svedberg on Friday night. 

Svedberg, who's last victory came against New Jersey earlier in the year, looked good early on. The entire team played aggressively throughout the first period. Shots were 12-4 in favor of the Black and Gold. This was just a complete tilting of the ice, pouring it on and smothering the Devils if the puck crossed neutral ice. New Jersey just could not get anything going. Daniel Paille scored to open the game off a bad turnover. He now has goals in back-to-back games. 

In the second period, the Devils started to put together some chances to build momentum. However, that was quickly halted when they failed to score on the power play. All moments of sloppy play for the Bruins that took place within this period were minor, which was no shock since it is statistically their worst period this season as far as production. They did bend, but they did not break.

The third period is when they fell off. After David Pastrnak netted a beautiful tally, New Jersey came back and scored two quick goals to tie the game. In overtime, the Bruins showed their resiliency as Ryan Spooner blasted home his first-career NHL goal (35 games) to grab the two points that they rightfully deserved. Highly entertaining, yet fast moving game. Svedberg made 29 saves in a solid outing. He definitely accumulated some more confidence that was desperately needed. 

The Black and Gold capped off the week back at home on Saturday against the Coyotes. Arizona will definitely be sellers this year. Get familiar with this team folks; we could be foreshadowing the appearance of some of these players in B's gear next week (Keith Yandle and Antoine Vermette). You never know, right?

With Rask back in goal for the Bruins on this night, they were not going to be denied another victory. They beat down Arizona throughout the first two periods, scoring four goals in an offensive onslaught. The final score ended up being 4-1 in favor of the Bruins. They ended the month on a positive note, so the playoff hopes of the team and the entire city are starting to come back. 

Twenty games left in the regular season. Boston now leads Florida by four points for the eighth playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. 

The Bruins will not play another game until Thursday night when they host the Calgary Flames, which is plenty of time to reflect on all of the action that will take place at the trade deadline. 

Gold Star (combined): David Pastrnak (1 goal, 2 assists, plus-2 rating, 8 shots on goal, 3 takeaways in both games)...The ideal young player for Claude Julien is taking shape. He is playing at a high level right now. 

Black Star (combined): Chris Kelly...He is USELESS out there. He does not even hit guys anymore. Being complacent is the worst thing to happen to an athlete.

Game Sixty-One Box Score

Game Sixty-Two Box Score

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