With a busier March schedule than a Guinness deliveryman, it’s imperative that the Bruins beat the teams they’re supposed to and not leave two points on the board while securing their playoff position. With the monotony and grind of the pro athlete life, a night at work can, and sometimes does, get mailed in. But not this weekend in the land that gives America 72% of its headlines.
Saturday on the Gulf side, the Bs overcame a sluggish start and deficits of 2-0 and 3-2 to beat Tampa Bay 4-3 when Reilly Smith scored the lone goal in a wildly entertaining seven round shootout (but that doesn’t mean I like it or want it deciding who gets into the playoffs). Tuukka Rask looked like shit early but buckled down and didn’t allow a puck to pass him after Valtteri Filppula gave the Lightning a 3-2 lead 9:31 into the second. Red hot Carl Soderberg remained that way, as the Big Swede tallied a goal and assist. Dan Paille and Johnny Boychuk had the other two goals.
Last night on the Atlantic side atop the Everglades, newly-acquired Florida Panther (for the second time) Roberto Luongo looked like the #1 goalie he came billed as for two periods but petered out a bit in the third as the Bruins ran away with a 5-2 victory. Playing their 2nd game in a day’s time, the Bs came out firing and never really let up, totaling 42 shots on goal. Chad Johnson had another solid outing, stopping 20 of 22 shots.
Andrej Meszaros acquitted himself just fine in his Bruins debut, scoring the Bs first goal on a PP when he beat Luongo from far out. He skated on the top pair with Zdeno Chara and other than a hiccup on his very first shift, he looked pretty damn good. He had a team-high six shots in 20:36 of ice time (second only to Chara), including 3:50 on the PP, and looked pretty comfortable for a guy playing his first game with a new team. Just because he was in Craig Berube’s doghouse in Philly doesn’t mean he’s really a #7 defenseman. He’s here to play top four minutes and that’s what he’s going to do.
After bobbing and weaving with the cats for two periods, the Bs delivered the knockout blow as Torey Krug, Patrice Bergeron (his 18th, a PPG), Jarome Iginla, and Chris Kelly (empty-netter to seal it for puck line bettors) scored the other four goals, all of which came in the span of 11-and-a-quarter minutes. Bergeron, once again, led the way with a goal and two helpers. Third star Carl Soderberg added an assist to continue his hot play and has 11-25–36 totals on the season. I dig the Swede’s game and think he’s going to be big come playoff time.
By garnering four points on the weekend, the Bs gave themselves some more cushion from teams chasing them. They now have a 12 point lead over Montreal with two games in hand for the division and leapfrogged Pittsburgh for the Wales lead, though the Pens have a game in hand. They’re off until Wednesday when they visit Montreal to take on the Habs at 7:30 on NBCSN.