Thursday, March 5, 2015

Game 63: Catching Fire At The Right Time?

Another year, another less-than-stellar trade deadline performance by the Boston Bruins. The situation that they put themselves in can only be blamed on management for the panic moves before the season even started (trading Johnny Boychuk).

To be fair, that salary dump of a move would not have been necessary if upper management planned accordingly. 

All of that is in the past. What we have in front of us is our team, ready to make a run in the playoffs. During Monday's trade deadline, the B's acquired Brett Connolly from the Tampa Bay Lightning for two draft picks. Also, Boston traded Jordan Caron to the Colorado Avalanche for Maxime Talbot. Both moves improve the team, but no defensive additions could be costly.

With the new look team eager to get back on the TD Garden ice, the Black and Gold continued their four-game homestand on Thursday night against the Calgary Flames. 

The Flames lost Curtis Glencross via trade and Mark Giordano due to injury earlier in the week. As promising as Calgary's season looked, it may be coming to an abrupt halt because of those losses. Regardless, the Bruins had redemption on their mind; they fell to the Flames a couple of weeks ago after blowing a three-goal lead on the road. Hopefully, things would turn out different this time.

Tuukka Rask was back in goal for the B's. Gregory Campbell (upper body) remained out of the lineup for this game. In ridiculous and unbelievable news, Connolly broke his finger at practice on Wednesday and will miss six weeks. Are you kidding? Wow. He did not even skate a shift. However, Talbot was in the lineup. He centered the fourth line with Daniel Paille and Brian Ferlin. 

As for the game, the Bruins exploded out of the gate. We all know that Calgary loves to spread out the ice and move the puck quickly, but that caused the Bruins to see right through the plan that they tried to execute. The Bruins certainly had the better scoring chances, capitalizing on one of them thanks to Brad Marchand's team-leading 19th goal of the season. The defensemen for the B's--particularly Dennis Seidenberg and Dougie Hamilton--jumped up on the play every chance they got, which was great to see. The Flames scored a late goal on the power play to tie the game as the teams headed into the second period. 

Ryan Spooner assisted a goal by Milan Lucic to kick off the second period. The fact that he is accumulating points on a consistent basis now will definitely help this team down the stretch. Anyway, Boston displayed Jekyll and Hyde moments during the second 20 minutes. It was great to see the team a little bit more disciplined; the B's took three minor penalties in the first period. However, they had problems carrying the puck out of their own zone. The sloppy play in the neutral zone (and a bad rebound by Rask) led to another tying goal by Calgary. 

In the third period, the Bruins reverted back to their old ways. They were taking careless penalties, putting even more pressure on Rask. The hometown kid, Johnny Gaudreau, put the Flames back on top midway through the period with a power play goal. After three previous scoring chances, Loui Eriksson finally netted that allusive tally to pull Boston even. 

The teams went through regulation and overtime with a tied score, so this one was decided in a shootout. In the end, Calgary's David Schlemko ended the shootout in the eighth round to give his team the 4-3 victory. The Flames sweep the season series against the Bruins, who grabbed one point in this game.

Rask recorded 29 saves on the night. The Bruins finished the game with seven minor penalties on the stat sheet. 

The Bruins will play a back-to-back set over the weekend. They will take on the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday, followed by a game against the Detroit Red Wings on Sunday.

Gold Star: Brad Marchand...This is the stretch that the Bruins need him to be at his best. As for this night, he skated hard, delivered some hits, and created scoring chances. Not bad at all. 

Black Star: Matt Bartkowski...He could not stay out of the box long enough to be effective. When he was, he ended the night with a minus rating.

Game Sixty-Three Box Score

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