One Week will Tell

This time next week the Bruins will be getting ready for game four against the Penguins. This week, however, the boys are still prepping for game one, set to take place Saturday night at 8 o’clock in the home of the Eastern Conference leading Penguins.

Everyone is giving long winded lectures rooting for either side of this matchup. I found myself stressing about this matchup more than the others, for the fact that the Bruins haven’t won against the Penguins yet this season. However as I listened to the broadcasts and pried into the three games we’ve had against PITT this season I’m a little more optimistic.

A recap for those of you who need one:

Tuesday March 12, 2013, Bruins lost 2-3 at PITT. Zdeno Chara and Tyler Seguin scored the two goals for us. Chara’s was on the PP. The Penguins came back with six minutes left.

Sunday March 17, 2013 Bruins lost 1-2 at PITT. Tyler Seguin had the only goal for Boston. The Penguins were without their star defenseman Letang, and the B’s even outshot the Pens 32-18 but couldn’t capitalize.

Saturday April 20, 2013 at Boston the Bruins lost 3-2. Brad Marchand and Seguin had the two goals for the Bruins. The Bruins came out fighting, literally with Adam McQuaid and Tanner Glass dropping the gloves after 8minutes. Both teams had 30+hits, and the Bruins outshot the Pens 40-24.

What these games have said to me, is REUNITE SEGUIN, MARCHAND, AND PATRICE BERGERON. Please. We need speed. Look at Marchand’s goal in the third game, he tore through the Penguins players and shot it up over the shoulder of the goalie. Speed is key, hell the assists went to Rask and Chara, and it wasn’t even a breakaway. That line had made four of five goals? At least play them together once, humor me, Julien.

Second, we need to keep throwing pucks on net. The weakness for the Pens is their goaltending. We have scored against the Penguins, it took a large number of shots, but it has happened. We need to keep throwing the puck at the net, and I think our defense will be key, as long as Krug and Boychuk keep shooting to score. Marchand and Bergeron are going to come up big if they can produce more of their dynamic duo goals, I think Seguin could help there.

Finishing our checks is another big one. Lucic came up with huge hits in game five, he is a big guy, and he needs to finish his checks. If he starts strong, hitting hard in the first game or two, his intimidation factor alone can help open the ice for him later. Krug and Bartkowski are checking better than the rest of the Bruins (except maybe Chara), and they have been able to come up huge.

Speaking about Matt Bartkowski, he grew up a Pittsburgh Penguins fan. He had pictures of Jagr on his wall growing up, and now he is playing with Jags against his hometown team. As long as Bart can keep his head on his shoulders, he should be a contributing factor.

People can argue that this rivalry isn’t really a rivalry. I am going to disagree. Back when the Penguins crushed the Bruins on their way to the Cup in 1991 and 1992, that still rings bells for long-term fans. I mean my personal grudge is still on Matt Cooke for destroying Marc Savard. Also this drama with Jarome Iginla picking the Penguins over the Bruins should have added fuel to the Bruins drive to beat the Pens. I know I would love to see the Pens lose to the Bruins just so I can laugh at Iginla. Bartkowski should come up huge just because he could have gone to Calgary for Iginla, and now he can help prove that the Bruins didn’t miss out with Iginla.

I think the Bruins are going to put up a huge fight, this is going to go to game six or seven. The Bruins need to play the full 60 minutes. We can’t have a repeat of game four against the Rangers, no sluggish play behind the net (Chara) we need to fight every minute of this series.

That’s my take. A week waiting for this game has my nerves stretched to their limits. It all starts tomorrow, we’ll see if the Bruins can turn over a new leaf in the playoffs against the Pens. The Bruins have been this far before, they need to focus and remember the amount of effort they need to bring every night.

Go B’s!

-Kaylin

Video: ‘Traveling Jagrs’ add Boston member

When it comes to Jagr, the one thing that everyone talks about is his bodacious mullet. Majestic and beautiful in it’s form, these extreme Jagr fans want to canonize it’s glory. With his latest jersey change, it came time to induct a Bruins Jagr into the mix, in a heartfelt moving ceremony.

Did you cry too?

Go B’s!

-Kaylin

ProHockeyTalk

Sure, it’s been a while since Jaromir Jagr rocked a mullet (or even questionable facial hair), but the “Traveling Jagrs” honor his star-journeyman career by chronicling his many stops in jersey form. Now that the future Hall of Famer has been traded to the Boston Bruins, it only seems natural that the group added a Boston member.

Apparently they take the process very fake-seriously, too:

[nbcsports_video src=http://nhl.cdn.neulion.net/u/videocenter-v1/embed.swf service=nhl width=590 height=353 fv=catid=0&id=241954&server=http://video.nhl.com/videocenter/&pageurl=http://video.nhl.com/videocenter/&nlwa=http://app2.neulion.com/videocenter/nhl/]

Interesting that New York Rangers Jagr did the honors …

(Screenshot via NHL.com’s video.)

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Providence Goalie Shows Great Potential

While the Boston Bruins slid into second place in the conference this afternoon, beating Florida 3-0, their AHL affiliate has been sitting pretty at number 1 over all of the AHL since Friday.

The Providence Journal spelled out the stats, “With the win [Friday night], Providence clinched first place in the Eastern Conference with 101 points with two games remaining. Second-place Springfield has 97 with one game left. A loss by Texas late last night would clinch first place overall for Providence for the first time since 2007-08.”

The PBruins can thank their outstanding goaltender, Niklas Svedberg, for their turnaround success. Svedberg played in the AHL All-Star game, and was just named to the First Team AHL All-Star. (This really pissed off a Springfield Falcon fan who decided to take it out on me last weekend. Sorry not sorry sir.)

@AHLBruins: Niklas Svedberg with all six of his awards he received at today’s pre-game ceremony

Svedberg won four AHL awards, and an additional two from the Providence organization. From the AHL he received awards for being named to the AHL All-Rookie Team, named to the First All-Star Team, being the AHL Player of the month (March), and receiving the Aldege “Baz” Bastien Memorial Award. From Providence he was awarded Rookie of the Year and Most Valuable Player.

The Bastien Award honors the goaltender adjudged to be the best at his position, as voted by league coaches, media and players.

“It’s a great honor. It proves you’re doing something right,” said the 23-year-old from Sweden. “When you get an award like this, it’s not just yourself. It’s because of my teammates. I’m grateful, but I’ve got to stay focused and keep working hard every day. There’s always the next game. We have the playoffs coming up, which is the most important time,” Svedberg told the Providence Journal.

The AHL summed up Svedberg’s season and reflected his stats as follows.

“Entering the final weekend of the regular season, Svedberg is 36-8-2 in 47 appearances for the Bruins, helping them to the Atlantic Division title and the best record in the AHL. His 36 wins rank second in the league this season and are the second-most by a rookie in the 77-year history of the AHL. Svedberg also ranks sixth with a 2.15 goals-against average and fourth with a .925 save percentage, allowing two goals or fewer in 34 of his 47 outings while posting four shutouts. Svedberg has a record of 24-2-1 over his last 27 starts since Jan. 4, including a 10-game winning streak from Jan. 20 to Feb. 22.” There is also a highlight reel at the end of their article here.

With many Boston Bruins fans unhappy with the current goaltending, there has been talk of pulling up this rookie to see if he has NHL potential. We could see a breakout performance from him like that of Braden Holtby during the Washington Capitals 2012 playoff run.

I would much rather see Svedberg in our net than Malcolm Subban. Nothing against the latter, budding goaltender, but your brother is a grade A pain in the neck. Granted, this could give him the motivation to show everyone in Boston that he isn’t his brother, and blow us all out of the water. I’d be okay with that.

Anyway, all the best for Svedberg! I know I’ll be catching a few of the Calder Cup games, as the PBruins are now like a pet that I feel devoted to watch over. Poor them, hah!

Go B’s! (Both of them!)

-Kaylin

Devestation Never Hits as Hard as When It Hits Close to Home

I hope this finds you well, after the tragedy that occurred in Boston yesterday. The news found me at work, and after I anxiously awaited to hear if my best friend was alright, I found my nerves focused on the Bruins boys. In particular my mind jumped to the two Twitter-nuts Tyler Seguin and Andrew Ference. Seguin has tweeted maybe an hour before about all the traffic in Boston, and I’d assumed Ference would be all over the marathon. The boys both started tweeting around three, Ference showing his heart and sympathy.

Ference Twitter

The Bruins game was postponed for obvious reasons, Cam Neely offering an official statement. Meanwhile other hockey franchises reached out to show their support.

The Chicago Tribune devoted the cover of its Sports section to our city.

The Chicago Tribune devoted the cover of its Sports section to our city.

Twitter became flooded with well wishes for Boston, #prayforBoston ending most. NHL teams and individual players took to social media to express their sympathy. Multiple members of the New York Rangers tweeted their support, including Brian Boyle, Michael Del Zotto, Brad Richards, Henrik Lundqvist, along with many members of their farm team, the CTWhale, as well. The Dallas Stars were quick to offer their condolences.

@nhlbruins our deepest sympathies are with you and everyone in Boston. Stay safe, friends.

— Dallas Stars (@DallasStars) April 15, 2013

The Chicago Tribune devoted the cover of its Sports section to our city (see right).

Moments of silence were held at multiple games last night, most heartwarming was the Montreal Canadiens v. Philidelphia Flyers silence. Showing that despite rivalries people can come together during difficult times. The Chicago Blackhawks v Dallas Stars game and the San Jose Sharks v Phoenix Coyotes game also paused pregame in support.

Keith Yandle, a Boston native, plays for the Phoenix Coyotes and showed his support for Boston on his skates.
Keith Yandle Skates

At practice this morning the Bruins Twitter had encouraging quotes from all of the guys on how to move forward.

Bruins tweets sympathy

I don’t want to say that there is a bright side from this, because it is hard to believe that anything bright can come from something so dark. But a silver lining would be to admire the love and respect the hockey community has for each other during these difficult times. Especially to look at those who risked their own lives to help the fallen. Ference tweeted about his girls and what it was like to be a parent in a situation like this.

I hope Brad Marchand is right in his desire to give Boston something to believe in. As it is needed more than ever now. Below is the eight year old boy, Martin Richards, who died in the explosions.

“My dear son Martin has died from injuries sustained in the attack on Boston. My wife and daughter are both recovering from serious injuries. We thank our family and friends, those we know and those we have never met, for their thoughts and prayers. I ask that you continue to pray for my family as we remember Martin. We also ask for your patience and for privacy as we work to simultaneously grieve and recover. Thank you.” - Bill Richard

“My dear son Martin has died from injuries sustained in the attack on Boston. My wife and daughter are both recovering from serious injuries. We thank our family and friends, those we know and those we have never met, for their thoughts and prayers. I ask that you continue to pray for my family as we remember Martin. We also ask for your patience and for privacy as we work to simultaneously grieve and recover. Thank you.” – Bill Richard

As Obama mentioned in his speech yesterday, “Boston is a resilient town; so are its people“. Boston will rally to push through this, and come out stronger on the other side.

As for rescheduling the game, Jack Edwards pointed out on twitter that “NHL season scheduled to end Sat 27Apr. In order to make up game Bs would have to play 3 nights in a row. Can’t do that by NHL rules. Sun 28?” So I’ll keep an ear to the ground for more on that.

EDIT: The Ottawa game has been rescheduled to Sunday, April 28 at TD Garden.

Best of luck to those injured and traumatized, my thoughts are with you. Go B’s!

-Kaylin

Suffering Senators Put Up a Fight

I’m sure you watched the game last night, and if not you caught the highlights. The Bruins managed to squeak out a win, with the assistance of Ottawa Senator’s goalie, Robin Lehner in overtime. This was the first NHL start for Lehner, stopping 46 shots.

The Senators haven’t been having the best season injury wise, with Jason Spezza (surgery), Craig Anderson (ankle), Erik Karlsson (season ending Achilles injury), Guillaume Latendresse (whiplash), and Milan Michalek (knee) all out. However they rode a 5-game winning streak into the Garden last night, and left with a point.

The game was tied one-one with both goals taking place on either side of the second period. The third saw no goals, but not for lack of trying, with Zdeno Chara and Adam McQuaid having notable blasts from the blue line. And with thirty seconds left, Milan Lucic took a penalty, starting the overtime shorthanded. The Bruins managed to redeem their penalty kill, and Bergeron (with help from Dennis Sidenberg) got the puck over the redline in just over 3 minutes in overtime.

The Senators managed to break the Bruins’ consecutive penalty kill streak at 27. The Bruins are now 60 for 63 successful penalty kills, this being a noted strength in the B’s arsenal, with a percentage of 95.2%. They are high up in first, with the next contestant at 88%.

We’ll definitely take the two points, but a concern in the locker room post-game was about tired legs. After a week of playing every other day that’s not a surprise, but the boys are going to be in trouble if they can’t find a way to get more energy. They only have today off before playing two games this weekend at home, and then hitting the road again. Their next two day break doesn’t come until the end of March, exhaustion could start to take a toll on these guys after having a pretty relaxed schedule so far. Being 13-2-2 this season the Bruins need to keep up the intensity as they catch up to other teams who are averaging with three more games played.

-Kaylin