Bruins Head on the Road in Search of Answers

As the Garden was airing out the leftover stink smelly-g from their opening home stand, the Bruins headed on the road for the first time this season in search of some consistency.  So far, the loss-win-loss-win-loss pattern had not exactly brought back memories of last season’s success. So the first game in Dallas, a truly solid 3-0 victory that featured a beginning to end effort by the Bruins, was a much-needed reminder of a how this team can play.  Marc Savard potted 2 goals, and Patrice Bergeron also beat Stars goalie Marty Turco. Backed by Thomas’ solid workmanlike performance, the game even featured some solid defense by Matt Hunwick. I had been a little hard on Hunwick so far this season, but his play improved steadily as the season has progressed.  So his train-wreck status trainwrk has been rescinded train_old. Hunwick was not the only one picking up their defensive game, as this game featured the kind of defensive effort the Bruins delivered on the road regularly last year.

Apparently ‘the road’ was not the panacea for the Bruins’ inconsistency, as they followed up the Dallas win with a 4-1 defeat in Phoenix. The Coyotes wilee1794664eb8 took over the game early and had a 2-0 lead when Mark Stuart  made it 2-1 about halfway through the second period, but two goals in less than a minute gave Phoenix a 4-1 lead at the end of the second period.  That would be the final score of this one.  A lackluster effort that only reinforced the Bruins Jekyll/Hyde persona jekyll+and+hyde so far this season, it did feature a good bout Between Johnny Boychuk and Paul Bissonnette.

Before this game, the Bruins learned that recently re-signed winger/enforcer Milan Lucic would be out of action for 4-6 weeks with a broken finger handtrauma .  As the Bruins prepared for their return home and a date with Nashville, it was announced that leading scorer and offensive sparklplug Marc Savard would also be out 4-6 weeks with a fractured foot woman-foot-in-stiletto-x-ray .

Ouch.

Lucic was the guy on the team most likely to change the momentum of a game with his physical play, and Savard could do the same with his cerebral offensive skills.  With these two game-changers out, who would step up?

The game against the Predators The Academy showed that Patrice Bergeron, Michael Ryder and Steve Begin were all doing their part to fill the void left by Lucic and Savard’s absence.  In a bit of symmetry not often seen on the statsheet, the Bruins three best players also had the three goals that resulted in a hard-earned 3-2 victory.  Ryder and Bergeron had second period goals, and Steve Begin buried the third period goal that gave the Bruins the win.

The following night, the Bruins traveled to Philadelphia to play the Flyers.  Losers of three straight and going in to the game with 5 days rest, the Flyers potent offense would present a real challenge for the B’s.   Tuukka Rask tuukka_2 was between the pipes for the Bruins as they earned a point in a 4-3 shootout loss.  Rask tuukka was largely responsible for this point, as he stopped a clean breakaway from Jeff Carter in the last-minute of the third that would have given the Flyers the win in regulation.  But nine games into the season, the Bruins had finally managed to get points in consecutive games.

Remember the date: October 24, 2009.  Not only was my friend Fitzy

Fitzy_Wedding 025

married this day, but if this season evolves the way Bruins optimists are hoping it does and the Bruins go deep into the playoffs, this date may be pointed to as the game in which the Bruins showed they can never be counted out of a game.  Sure, they scored 3 goals in the last 8:01 against the Islanders a few games ago to complete a comeback, but that was nothing.  The Bruins were in Ottawa, and Mark Recchi was playing in his 1500th NHL game.  It appeared as though Recchi’s feat would be the only noteworthy aspect of this game as the Bruins trailed 3-1 with less than two minutes remaining in the third period.  Tim Thomas played arguably his best game thus far this season, the highlight being a gem with 1:39 remaining in the 2nd period.  Thomas was pulled in the waning minutes of the third period, and watched from the bench as Recchi celebrated his landmark game with a beautiful tip-in of a Derek Morris shot with 1:28 remaining in the third.  The Senators’ collapse was completed when David Krejci tipped in another Derek Morris shot/pass with 21.6 seconds left in the third to tie the game at three.  The goal was Krejci’s first, and hopefully getting that monkey monkey off his back will kick-start his much-needed offensive skills.  After a scoreless five-minute overtime, Patrice Bergeron secured two points for the Bruins with the only shootout goal.  As the Senators headed to the locker room throwing up in their mouths, the Bruins celebrated a truly improbable 4-3 victory.

borat_success

So in three games without Lucic and Savard, the Bruins have gained five out of a possible six points. 4 Thumbs Up

The Bruins have four days of rest to enjoy their nice 2-0-1 streak before they face the Devils on Thursday.

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