The Bruins completed their toughest stretch of the schedule so far this year, playing seven games over the last two weeks before getting a four-day reprieve. They played the league iron five times, with four of those games on the road in very tough barns. And the last two games were back-to-back day games versus the last two Stanley Cup Champions; in Chicago on Sunday then back home yesterday for a rematch with the Kings.
After being out-scored 9-4 in dropping the first two games in Southern Cal, the Bs looked like they were heading for their annual January hibernation (this, after having some shitty stretches of play over the last month or so). Instead, the Bs finished up 3-1-1, concluding this dick-measuring portion of the schedule with a highly-entertaining 3-2 win over a tough L.A. Kings squad.
Coming off a breakaway contest loss after a great game in Chicago, the Bs mettle would surely be tested by a strong Kings team that plays a very similar game to the Bs. Led by resurgent Brad Marchand’s pair and back-up Chad Johnson, giving Tuukka a breather against a non-conference team, the locals passed the test with flying colors.
Marchand’s high-light real goal and Torey Krug’s 11th on the year staked the Bs to a 2-0 lead. But the Kings, as their wont to do, kept grinding back and knotted things up at a deuce with 11:25 left in the game. With 11:07 left, #63, who has completely exorcised his awful start, played the hero yet again when he banged home a sweet Reilly Smith feed for the inevitable GWG to send the 17,565 home happy yet again this season.
The game, along with Sunday’s, definitely had a playoff vibe to it and both teams were going balls out, rising to the occasion for each other. And the Bs took three outta four points to remain in first, though their grip isn’t quite as firm as it was earlier in the season.
They lead the Atlantic with 65 points in 49 games but Tampa Bay has been breathing down their necks all year and are just two points back having played one more game than Boston. Oh, and they’ll be adding this dude named Steven Stamkos to the line-up after the Olympics. So the battle for division (and the very important high seed) should be doozy coming down the stretch. The Bs are off until Saturday when they visit Barstool sister City of Brotherly Love to break Smitty and DeLo’s hearts once again as they light up Steve Mason.
A few more buds for your ‘Bruins are the only game in town now’ bowl…
*The silver lining to the Bs shoot-out loss to Chicago on Sunday is that we didn’t have read/hear hacky lines/reports about Boston getting “revenge” or “avenging” June’s crushing Game 6 loss that gave the Blackhawks the Stanley Cup. Listen peckerheads, you can never get revenge for a squandered ring (SQUANDERED, Mo). You fucking lost your shot and your opponent achieves immortality (or at least until the aliens provide this beautiful, blue marble with intergalactic hospice care). YOU NEVER GET THAT BACK. EVER. The Bruins can sweep the Hawks this June then bang all their old ladies after but that still won’t undo Chicago’s 2013 Stanley Cup. It’s an un-revenge-able thing. Even NBC calling it a ‘REMATCH’ was stupid. If they have another SCF, that’s a rematch not a regular season tilt. Silly media.
*Johnson had a great game in Dallas (and puck line backers loved Patty Bergeron even more somehow). And he was better than Jon Quick by just enough yesterday and was key to beating a Cup fave. When the Bs gave Niklas Svedberg a look-see awhile back, some wondered if it was to give Johnson a boot in the ass after a couple of blah outings. If it was a tactic (in addition to rewarding Svedberg), it worked. Ever since he gave up four goals in an ugly Buffalo loss, he’s had save percentages of .944, .941, .941. and .913 (last night’s win). His .918 and 2.24 along with his 8-3 record are more-than-respectable numbers for a guy backing up the $7M goalie. Also, any drop-off by Johnson compared to the Bs last four years of back-ups will be more pronounced due to the stellar back-ups the Bs have rolled out for the last four years—all three are currently #1 goalies in the NHL in Rask, Timmy Thomas, and Anton Khudobin. Johnson has been doing what his role calls for—gives the team a chance to win with an occassional blah night. But he’s been really good lately.
*The Bs got absolutely man-handled at the dot, with the Kings holding a 63-37 advantage. Ryan Spooner was a team-worst 0-for-5. The only Bruin above 50% was, who else?, Bergeron who won 9 out of 16—good for a 56% clip. Marchand and Bergeron were the only two players with mutiple point games (2 Gs for Marchand and 2 As for Bergie).
*Non-Bruins Blog Item of the Week. The show you should be watching right now is “True Detective” on HBO. It’s only two eps in but it’s already an incredibly gripping and mesmerizing crime drama/thriller starring Texas stoner buddies Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey (who has been putting out amazing work lately) as two Louisiana lawmen. The show time-jumps back-and-forth between current day interrogations of the two and around 20 years ago when they were partnered on a ritualistic killing case. Both leads are putting in incredible work and it’s even more impressive when you know they’re pals that like getting blasted together but can turn it on like that and just get locked in (the locker room scene). Great to watch and entertaining as hell. This show seems like it’s only going to get better and better. Available On Demand or via HBOGO.