Thursday, March 12, 2015

Game 67: Winning Always Leads To Controversy

Do you know what is funny? How quickly fans forget.

The reference here is that all of a sudden, young Ryan Spooner has emerged. Having accumulated points in six-straight games, the "Let's trade David Krejci" talks have already begun to surface. 

Really? Patience everyone. In all likelihood, the Boston Bruins are grooming Spooner to replace Carl Soderberg next year on the third line since Soderberg will become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the year. That is an entirely different topic for a different day. 

On a somewhat related note, Krejci has now skated before practice for three consecutive days after injuring his knee three weeks ago. He is still on pace to return before the end of the season. As for the rest of the week, more divisional opponents for the B's. They were in action on Thursday night against the Tampa Bay Lightning. 

This was only the second meeting of the year between these two teams--the Bruins emerged with a 4-3 win back in January. Coming off a huge win against the Montreal Canadiens, Steven Stamkos and company were looking to make their push into taking the Eastern Conference crown. The Bruins, 5-0-1 in their last six games, had other ideas. 

Tuukka Rask was back in net for Boston. Tyler Johnson (who missed the first meeting between the teams) did skate in this game for Tampa Bay. 

The opening 20 minutes was quite auspicious for the Bruins. Gregory Campbell and Daniel Paille each took a puck to the face, drawing blood from both men. The B's just could not get a solid rhythm going, but the Lightning did not fair much better. What stood out in the first period was the puck possession for the B's. Stamoks was not as lethal as he would have liked, but he did enough. He intercepted a Zdeno Chara pass and beat Rask for his 37th goal of the year. Prior to that, David Pastrnak scored to open the game off a great pass from Spooner. The young kids continue to produce--Spooner's point streak is now at seven games and Pastrnak has seven points in his last seven. 

In the second period, the physical play picked up again; this was shades from the previous meeting. The period was scoreless, but the goaltending was not that great. In fact, there was a plethora of hit posts at both ends of the ice. Tampa out-shot Boston 25-19 through two periods. 

All game long, the puck took weird bounces and the players were having trouble co-operating with the ice. The third period was no different. Each team netted a goal, which is how regulation ended. After a scoreless overtime, the Bruins won in the shootout thanks to Brad Marchand's deciding goal. Luckily for Boston, Stamkos did not attempt a shot because he received a 10 minute misconduct late in overtime. The B's continue to roll as they picked up the full two points on this night. Rask made 35 saves and was perfect in the shootout. 

The Bruins will play another back-to-back set this weekend. Their opponents will be the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Washington Capitals, respectfully. 

Gold Star: Dennis Seidenberg...He has been a work horse for this club for the last month, and he usually goes unnoticed. He picked up an assist to accompany the hard-nosed defensive effort. 

Black Star: Zdeno Chara...He just cannot keep up with these younger teams anymore. The age of the captain is starting to show.

Game Sixty-Seven Box Score

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