STANLEY CUP FINALS TONIGHT! Do you know who to look out for?

The Boston Bruins SWEPT the Pittsburgh Penguins. I can say this to myself a million times a day and not get sick of it. If anyone actually had the Bruins in four, I’d like to firmly shake your hand. Bravo you.
The Bruins put every ounce of themselves into that series. They got under the Penguins skin in game one, and didn’t let up. There wasn’t an inch of the ice the Penguins could take before running into Bruins defense. Or even offense, the boys were everywhere.

The final four minutes of that game killed me. I had my hat twisted into a knot with an overwhelming sense of hope, dread, and anxiety washing over me. It was almost worse than game seven against the Leafs waiting for that tying goal.
However those games are behind us now as the Bruins move on to face the Chicago Blackhawks in the Stanley Cup Finals!!! Raaaaah!

How exhilarating. Second go at the Cup in three years. Fun fact, want to know a pattern? The Bruins won the Cup in 1939 and 1941, and then later in 1970&1972, and if the pattern holds up we’re looking at a pretty fun coincidence.

Another fun fact, when the Pittsburgh Penguins won the Cup in 1992, they went through the New York Rangers (whom they beat in 6) and they swept the Bruins, and went on to sweep the Chicago Blackhawks for the cup. Guess who was on the team? JAGR!

HMMMM.

In any case the Bruins seemed to have hit their stride. Tuukka Rask is proving how phenomenal he is between the pipes, having shut down Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin completely and only allowing two goals in the four games.

Why were the Bruins so successful? David Krejci shed some light,

The Boston Bruins pride themselves on their camaraderie. They work together as a unit, with all four lines rolling and crazy depth. Their depth was highlighted with the call-ups of Torey Krug, Matt Bartkowski, and Kaspars Daugaviņš. The loss of Gregory Campbell had the potential to open up a gaping hole in the Bruins offense, particularly on their special teams, where Soupy and Daniel Paille are commonly seen fighting off penalties. However Daugaviņš was able to slide onto our third line, and I recall he had a wicked chance in the third to score.

I guess I should spend a little time talking about game one. Obviously the duo to look out for are Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane. However just as dangerous is Marian Hossa. These three players lead their team in points during the regular season, and the playoffs are no different. They are all tied at 14 points. Duncan Keith is their leading D with the most assists (in regular season and playoffs), and someone to keep an eye out for when he is on the ice.

Another reason why Hossa is dangerous? He claims to know the secret to breaking Chara.

“I try to joke with him because he likes to be serious all the time on the ice,” the Hawks forward said. “I know he doesn’t like to talk on the ice. I try to throw some funny stories on the faceoff, make him laugh a little bit.”
Hossa knows these tricks not only because he was Chara’s teammate with the Senators [but] because their apartment buildings in the Czech Republic are across the street from one another.The Chicago Tribune.

It all starts tonight! Where will you be?

GOOOOO B’s!
-Kaylin

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One Down, Three to Go. Eastern Conference Finals.

What just happened? The Bruins not only beat the Penguins in game one, but they shut out the Pens in game one. The anticipation for game one was getting on everyone’s nerves, or maybe that was just me. Everyone would proudly boast that the Bruins were going to win, but there was a nagging doubt.

Michael Felger expressed it in a way I can identify with. He said the his heart was pulling for the Bruins, but his head was logically figuring the Penguins would take it.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I totally understand that this is only game one. Anything can happen in the next three/four/five/six games. But again, what the heck did we just watch?

The Penguins came out trying to play a mockery of what “Bruins hockey” is, and it backfired. If they had focused on playing to their offensive scoring strengths, we may have been looking at a different outcome tonight. However, they decided to try and put on this tough guy front and beat us at our own game. I don’t know why they thought Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin were the guys for the job, the first trying to push our goaltender around and the next picking a fight with Bergeron? I’m still confused. It could be because Matt Cooke was thrown from the game.

Now I could go on a tangent about how Matt Cooke plays dirty and how much I hate him, but then Marchand went and made the same hit minutes later. Marchand was arguing that he “pushed” his player as opposed to Cooke who slammed into McQuaid. It doesn’t matter. The point is, hits from behind aren’t safe. Cooke should have expected to get thrown with his past history. Marchand could have received a similar five minute penalty, or what have you, because he just watched Cooke get thrown, he should have known better.

Also there is going to be no extra punishment on Cooke. Bummer, I really would like to see him thrown from this series before he takes a run at another guy who wasn’t as lucky as Adam tonight.

On a more positive note, can we just talk about what a ROCKSTAR Tuukka Rask was tonight? I mean there were some that were pure luck that didn’t go in (Chara’s horrible turn over being one), and the million posts Malkin hit tonight. Thirty saves tonight for Tuukka, and the one that stands out is when he jumped at Crosby, and made the initial save, and then made the save on the rebound. He came up big on so many levels tonight. The highlight reel of tonight’s game has GOT to include a number of his saves tonight. He had a crazy glove save too. I cant get over it.

Crosby must have awoken a a fire in Rask tonight. That shit Krej.

Speaking of David Krejci, he reminded all of his haters why we keep him around. Two goals tonight (the third from Nathan Horton), and his team recognized his efforts when Tuukka awarded him the Rangers player of the game jacket. When asked post game how he was able to keep such a level head and not get panicky during the games he responded “I don’t know… That’s just how I play.”

He was also compared to Crosby, which he declined. He went on to defend himself by saying that Crosby and Malkin “are the best players in the world. We don’t have guys like that. We have a team. We play as a team.”

A few other things I wanted to touch on before I wrap this up. The first thing has to be Shawn Thornton winning a face off against Crosby. I laughed. Granted, during the game they showned that Crosby had only won like a handful out of 14. The fourth line facing off against Crosby was amusing enough, but they held their own.

Also Torey Krug standing up for McQuaid was just the best. After Cooke’s hit on McQuaid, Krug gave Cooke the first shove before Kelly came in and roughed him up. D-pairs for life! Krug may be 5’9 but he’s built like a truck and will stand up for his teammates, something that is always a welcome sight on the Bruins bench.

Andrew Ference was back tonight. He managed to even rally up an assist on the first goal. This isn’t good news for Matt Bartkowski who was looking forward to playing his hometown team, but it is good for Ference. Claude might throw him a bone depending on how the series progresses as Bart has proven he can pull his own weight.

However Krug’s offense and speed are more in demand. The power play looked much different with Krug flying up from our end with the puck as opposed to Chara taking his sweet time to move with the puck. AND KRUG’S AWESOME SIDE STEP. OH MAN. Greatest. He has a finesse and patience with the puck that is just beautiful.

Side note, for those of you who don’t know. Tomas Vokoun is actual the backup goalie for the Penguins. Marc-Andre Fleury was pulled last round for being awful. Needless to say the goal tending is definitely their Achilles’ heel, and the Bruins need to SHOOT to get goals.

As long as the Bruins keep their heads on their shoulders, realize that this series is going to be a tough, apparently physical, battle, and play the full 60 minutes like I believe they did tonight, they can beat the Penguins.

We’ll see what Monday brings.

Go B’s!

-Kaylin

Hurricanes Swept Away, Return of the Fair Weather Fans?

With the return of the Boston Red Sox, and their surprisingly good start, the Bruins are falling to the far side of Boston’s interest. It doesn’t help that the B’s haven’t been their best in a few weeks. NESN airs the Sox, pushing the Bruins to their + station, and the sports coverage goes back to throwing in five minutes of Bruins at the end of their program.

Monday night’s 6-2 win over the Carolina Hurricanes may have baseball fans pausing over their morning Wheaties to scan the Bruins coverage. While the news that the Bruins won by 4, and netted six goals will ignite an overwhelming sense of victory in the pit of fans that didn’t watch the game, there is more to the story.

Conrad, from Conrad’s Corner, summed it up nicely. “While a 6-2 victory is extremely hard to find faults with, the truth is, the score did not reflect the overall performance from either team. All it reflected was very poor goaltending from the Hurricanes and excellent goaltending from Tuukka Rask. The Bs were outshot 42-36 in the game and 18-9 in the first period, showing their inability to start games fast.”

Dan From Bruins Hockey Now was quick to spark a reality check, pointing out that the game was only against the Hurricanes. He continued from there, pointing out the positives and negatives from the night. “However, even I’m not taking last night’s win to mean everything is right in the world. There were plenty of good things, plenty of troubling things, and a few just plain bad things. The offense showed some jump and creativity (good), Jaromir Jagr looks like he’s settling in (good), the B’s allowed 40+ shots again (troubling), Tuukka Rask had to bail the team out a number of times when this was still a game (troubling) and Tyler Seguin all but disappeared (bad). A win is a win, sure, but let’s not take it to mean the B’s have righted the ship.” –Dan (Bruins Hockey Now)

A highlight from Wednesday’s game is the matchup of Jaromir Jagr and Brad Marchand.

Conrad’s Corner pointed this out well. “Brad Marchand and Jaromir Jagr seem to have found great chemistry as they continually connect on no-look passes and are great at creating space for one another to work in the offensive zone. I’d like to see them centered by someone more skilled like David Krejci, especially if the Bs are down late in a game and need a goal. For now, though, it’s hard to argue with Gregory Campbell’s 2 assist night while centering them. Campbell was one of six Bruins with a multi-point night on Monday, the others being Seidenberg, Ference, Marchand, Peverley and Jagr.”

I am a fan of Gregory Campbell, but I would absolutely love to see Jagr and Krejci on a line together. With Marchand meshing with Jagr, and Krejci’s currently line doing well, nothing, this could be a change the Bruins need to make.

Of course, it is now Friday, and the Bruins lost last night to the Islanders. Yes, the ISLANDERS. Where Brad Marchand was MIA with a mild concussion. So Claude’s solution? Moving Lucic up to work with Jagr and Campbell? Milan Lucic who has done close to nothing this season?

On The Sports Hub last night they were talking about how Claude should consider benching Looch a game, which I agree with. He’s playing lethargic hockey and isn’t making plays, he is a player who should be slamming the other team into the boards or starting fights to defend hits on his guys. Where was the Bruins comradery Wednesday when Marchand went down? There’s no fire, no one’s fighting, their checks are almost pathetic. I think I saw one good check by Looch in the third last night? ONE. In the last two minutes. Not acceptable.

With the day off today, we’ll see the boys Saturday in Carolina. The Bruins need to wake up, and not sit back thinking this could be a sweep. You know the Hurricanes are going to come back swinging from their loss, and the B’s need to be ready to play to win.

Go B’s!

Kaylin

Moves Like Jagr.

Looks like the Bruins are going to make a trade, and this time it is for Dallas Star Jaromir Jagr.

This season 41 year old Jagr has netted 14 goals, more than the entire Bruins team, except for Brad Marchand who also has 14. His 12 assists leave him with 26 points, which would rank him fourth on the Bruins. If he can bring to our power play well, anything the Bruins could bounce back from the rough last two weeks (where they lost five of eight games played) and start finding the back of the net.

Downside of Jagr? He tends to stay on the more negative side of +/- stats. We all know the Bruins defense has been hurting this season, and having another forward that can’t play an active defense would hurt our team more than help.

Joe Haggerty spoke to David Krejci about his fellow Czech, and Krejci said, “Great to see him doing well at his age. I had posters of him on wall growing up. He was definitely my hockey idol.”

Marc Savard has been pulling for this since the Iginla trade fell through, saying,

Hard to confirm without Bruins making an Official statement. Everyone’s still nervous after the Iginla fiasco. However this one looks legit, and the Penguins already got their Star.

Also the news is already on his Wikipedia Page.

Edit: “The Dallas Stars announced today that the club has acquired a conditional second-round pick in the 2013 NHL Draft, forward Lane MacDermid, and forward Cody Payne from the Boston Bruins in exchange for forward Jaromir Jagr. The conditional second-round pick becomes a first-round selection in the 2013 NHL Draft if Boston advances to the Eastern Conference Finals in this year’s playoffs.” Dallas Stars Official Website

Go B’s!

-Kaylin

Injuries Impairing Bruins Run – Kelly, McQuaid, Krejci

Sorry for the delay, I decided to hop across the pond for Spring Break and the spotty internet connection found WordPress too much to handle. In any case I picked the worst week to leave yeah? Shawn Thornton scored not once, but TWICE, and the reasonably healthy Bruins hit major roadblocks with injuries.

Chris Kelly

After Bruins called up Jordan Caron, the third line played their best game during Saturday’s matinée against the Philadelphia Flyers. Then Monday against the Ottawa Senators, they proceeded to lose Chris Kelly with an injury. The leg-on-leg hit was first presumed to be a knee injury for Kelly, after the swelling subsided it was found to be a broken tibia. CSNNE reporter Joe Haggerty thinks it could be the end of Kelly for the rest of this season.

 

The Bruins are not putting a time on Kelly’s recovery so time will tell. Good news for Jay Pandolfo, getting to play alongside Rich Peverely and Caron, and now Ryan Spooner.

Adam McQuaid

Unfortunately the Bruins were not out of the woods. Adam McQuaid left the game on Tuesday the 12th against the Pittsburgh Penguins in the midst of the 2nd, not to return. He then sat out of Thursday’s game against the Florida Panthers, only to return for the weekend.

The next week, on Tuesday March 19th, McQuaid found himself slamming into the boards after only 56 seconds of ice time. Leaving immediately, it was discovered yesterday that he is expected to be out for 3-4 weeks with a strained shoulder.

David Krejci

During the third period of Sunday’s loss to the Penguins, David Krejci took a Johnny Boychuk slap shot (Johnny Rocket) to the knee. He was helped off the ice, putting no pressure on the injured leg, and not seen again that game. Post game the center was seen walking, gingerly, but solo to the team bus.

Fortunately tonight found the return of Krejci to the line up! Howver Andy Brickley and Jack Edwards are commenting on his skating, noting that he must still be in serious pain. Krejci should not be pushing an injury with the schedule so packed, but as Edwards’ claimed the Bruins won’t forget Krejci’s drive.

 

The Bruins have been on the lucky side when it comes to injuries this season, apparently their luck is changing. Peter Charelli could be feeling the heat to make a trade as the Bruins are faced with these long-term injuries.

Ottawa just scored, lets hope the Bruins can turn this around. Go Bs!

-Kaylin