I am glad and proud to say the Boston Bruins proved me wrong this week. The B’s came ready to play at the beginning of every game this week, applying tremendous pressure offensively, while holding back the opponent’s attack.
However, the team only did such – proving me wrong – in eight straight regulation-time periods, forgetting about the third and final period of the game against the Ottawa Senators.
The Bruins started the week off strong by defeating the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Columbus Blue Jackets at home.
On Veteran’s Day, goalie Tuukka Rask took charge in the effort over the Lightning, collecting his second shutout on the season. Rask gobbled up all 28 of Tampa Bay’s shots in the 3-0 win. The Bruins did a great job defensively as well, blocking 14 shots. Assistant captain, Patrice Bergeron rattled the first goal on the night with a wicked wrist shot. Assisting on the play was Torey Krug and, while swiftly and powerfully transitioning back into the starting roster, Loui Eriksson. Two seconds separated Daniel Paille’s second goal of the season from Bergeron’s. Solidifying the win was Jarome Iginla who scored an empty-net goal.
Carrying the momentum, from their win, over to Thursday, Nov. 14, the B’s defeated the Blue Jackets in overtime by a five-hole shot from Milan Lucic. Saving his energy for Saturday’s duel against the Senators, Rask viewed the game from the bench as his back-up goalie, Chad Johnson, led the team to victory. Johnson faced 30 shots, allowing only two goals in about 64 minutes of play. Loui Eriksson and Shawn Thornton scored the two goals in regulation.
Unbeaten in four games, the Bruins entered the game against the Senators fired and ready to go. Unfortunately, the fire was only ignited for the first two periods. Early and mid-way through the first period, Loui Eriksson and Brad Marchand scored to give the Bruins an early 2-0 lead. With the Bruins capturing the momentum of the game, Senator Chris Neil shook up the game, scoring with 50 seconds left in the period. A goalless second period left the Senators in desperate need to score in the third period to tie the game up. Jason Spezza made no hesitation, scoring a minute and a half into the third. Soon enough, nine minutes later Jared Cowen and Bobby Ryan had scored to take the lead and increase the Ottawa advantage to 4-2.
Tuukka Rask, with the help of his stellar back-up goalie, Chad Johnson continued to keep the Bruins steady in the game, saving a combined, on average, 27.75 shots per game. With a 1.68 goals against average (GAA) and .943 save percentage, Rask has the second best GAA and save percentage, out of goalies that have played in 15 or more games, in the NHL. He also has the second highest amount of shutouts (2). Needless to say, Rask has been a crucial factor in the Bruins success thus far.
Next week brings a six-day span of four games. The team starts off down south Monday, Nov. 18, to North Carolina to face the Carolina Hurricanes at 7:00p.m. EST, before flying to New York to battle the Rangers at 7:30p.m. the following night. The team returns home on to play the Hurricanes again at 1:00p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 23, two days after competing against the St. Louis Blues on Nov. 21 at 7:00p.m.