Bruins Solid in Consecutive Road Wins

The Bruins took a significant step toward righting their heavily listing ship  with road wins against Atlanta and Buffalo on consecutive nights (Nov. 19 – 20).  Was the return of rugged winger Milan Lucic the sole reason?  No.  But his presence in the lineup really does seem to inject this Bruins team with some sort of  B-12 shot.  With Lucic back, Marc Savard’s return imminent (possibly Monday night in St. Louis), and the impressive play of backup(?) goalie Tuukka Rask (started and won in net for both games), there is reason to believe the Bruins team of last season is finally rousing  from an extended summer hibernation.

Against Atlanta, the Bruins came out strong and built a 2-0 lead after the first period on goals by Marco Sturm and Michael Ryder.  Nik Antropov and Ilya Kovalchuk (power play goal) scored to get Atlanta back tied at 2-2, but the B’s got a power play goal of their own from Michael Ryder, his second of the night, with 3:15 remaining in the second period to give the Bruins the lead again at 3-2.  Ryder appears ready to go on one of his goal-scoring  streaks, and it couldn’t come at a better time for the Bruins recently floundering offense.  Rask was also sharp, and this save during an Atlanta power play in the third period was one of his best.  In the third period, the Bruins took five minor penalties, and the inevitable happened with 41.4 seconds remaining, as the Thrashers pulled their goalie for the extra man and Maxim Afinogenov tied the game at three against an exhausted Bruins team.  But the Bruins prevailed in the shootout, as Rask stopped all three of the Atlanta shooters, and Patrice Bergeron scored on a nifty deke, and the Bruins had the road win.  Bergeron  continues to round back towards his pre-concussion form, and has arguably been the Bruins best player this season on both ends of the ice.

The next night in Buffalo, Rask was back between the pipes for the injured Tim Thomas, and Milan Lucic made sure that the Sabres knew the Bruins meant business with this jarring hit on Henrik Tallinder just 29 seconds into the game. Lucic also got his first goal of the season on a beautifully executed 2-on-1 with Byron Bitz, which tied the game at one in the second period.  Goaltending ruled the third period, and this game would go to overtime.  It was just 47 seconds into OT that Patrice Bergeron deftly tipped in Zdeno Chara’s shot from the blue line to give the Bruins the 2-1 win, and another two points.  It was Bergeron’s second game-winning goal in 24 hours, and the back to back wins vaulted the Bruins into sole possession of 7th place in the Eastern Conference, and only two points behind Buffalo for the Northeast division lead.

Will the Bruins be able to continue their road success in St. Louis on Monday and Minnesota on Wednesday?  With the pieces falling slowly back into place, Clarence  is cautiously optimistic.

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