Mark Your ’19-’20 Bruins Calendar: Part II

Bruins Schedule 2(Photo Credit: Boston Bruins)

By: Evan Michael | Follow me on Twitter @00EvanMichael

ICYMI (aka Part I of this ongoing Summer series for the Black N’ Gold Blog)… the Bruins start the season with a grueling October schedule, including two stretches of hockey that could set them up for Fall success or put them behind the proverbial 8-Ball early. That being said/written, if the B’s can hold their own through Halloween, then a lighter and more playable lineup of games will arrive by Turkey Day celebrations in the states, including a marquee NHL Thanksgiving Showdown matinee versus the Rangers on NBC (a rematch from 2013 that featured a Rockwellian pie-off between Cam Neely & Mike Richter, as seen below).

 

November 4th & 5th: “Back-To-Back!”

The Bruins play their first “Back-To-Back” series of the season starting at home versus the always pesky Pittsburgh Penguins followed by a trip across the border to face off against their hated arch-rivals the Montreal Canadiens. It’ll be the first time Boston plays either of these competitive opponents on the year and will no doubt include plenty of penalties, power plays & pugilism, if history is any indicator. These are the kind of games that show, on full display, just how your team “measures up” to very similar competition, both in terms of skill & talent and strategy & coaching. If the B’s can make a statement in Boston versus the Pens, then perhaps the usual tired legs of next-day hockey versus the Habs will turn into two big Eastern Conference victories (and four big points).

November 15th & 16th: “Back-To-Back 2: Back At It!”

This Friday-Saturday sequel in the “Back To Back” series (within a series) features a rip-roaring road match-up with the Maple Leafs in Toronto followed by the Washington Capitals coming to TD Garden twenty four hours later. These two talented teams have played the Bruins up to and at their best almost every time on the ice over the last decade, particularly during the regular season. W’s are never guaranteed versus the Leafs & Caps and are as hard-fought as you can get in the East, especially when playing on consecutive nights. This weekend will either set the B’s up for a very fulfilling Thanksgiving holiday week or prove they need to give out the thanks to their hungry opponents.

November 26th & 27th: “Back-to-Back 3: Backed Up!”

And for your viewing & repetitive pleasure, Boston goes “Back-To-Back” for the third time in November just before the aforementioned Gobble Game on the 29th at home. This time, it’s a roadie twofer in the Great White North against those hated Habs again followed by the (most likely 4-16-2) inauspicious Ottawa Senators. Since the B’s will only have one off day after these two games (all holiday travel) before they’re served up on the national TV menu versus the Rangers, taking as many positives & points out of this quick Canadian kick would be highly beneficial and satisfying to all–especially against the senseless Sens.  It will also make it easier for everyone to digest what could be an uncomfortable post-Turkey-Day matinee, as the schedule over this short stretch for Boston is definitely stuffed.

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Report: Bruins Add RW Ritchie For Depth

Image result for brett ritchie nhl(Photo Credit: NHL.com)

By: Evan Michael | Follow me on Twitter @00EvanMichael

The Boston Bruins reportedly have added some grit, depth & potential goal scoring to their bottom six forward group.

According to reports from the Stars camp and TVA sports up in Canada, the Bruins wrestled rough Right Wing Brett Ritchie away from Dallas — and at good value.

 

The early Twitter returns are saying Ritchie will not only be a solid replacement for the recently departed Noel Acciari, but also brings an “intriguing skill set” that includes the major ability to… well… earn majors (but in that Big Bad Bruins way as seen above).

As the above tweet says, this could be a “smart move” by Bruins GM Don Sweeney, especially considering the B’s have always liked their 4th line wingers to have a little pugilistic pluck & puck personality.  It also comes on the heels of another solid signing — the locking up of Connor “Cliffy Hockey” Clifton for four more years — and at that always affordable in today’s NHL $1M AAV.

Make sure to follow the Black N’ Gold Hockey team for more Bruins & NHL Free Agency updates in the days ahead. And of course be sure to listen to and support our podcast below:

Check out last weeks Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 133 below!

Mark Your ’19-’20 Bruins Calendar: Part I

Bruins Schedule(Photo Credit: Boston Bruins)

By: Evan Michael | Follow me on Twitter @00EvanMichael

With the Boston Bruins 2019-2020 regular season schedule recently released by the league and team, it’s that time of the off-season again to mark your B’s calendar! In this six-part series, I’ll be taking a look at what I think are the key scheduling stretches for the Black N’Gold this upcoming year. Some will be home stands, others long road trips; we’ll preview some back-to-backs and some historic (and heated) rivalries; and of course we’ll look at the big divisional match-ups and Stanley Cup rematches that all of the hockey world will be eager to see.  So, without further ado, let’s start with the B’s grueling Fall schedule — a tough test for any team, let alone one that played until June and will have a limited Summer.

OCTOBER 3rd – 10th: “Road Warriors”

The Bruins open next season on the road and stay on the road for another three games in what could be called a mini Western Conference kick (as opposed to the annual “West Coast Kick” in California later next Spring). The team first plays the always formidable and fight-filled Dallas Stars on Opening Night, Thursday, October 3rd before taking on the Arizona Coyotes, Vegas Golden Knights and Colorado Avalanche over the next seven nights, respectively. This will be a pretty solid litmus test for the almost Stanley Cup Champs (who also pride themselves in being “Road Warriors”) as three of their four competitors also had solid playoff runs and will be wanting to make a statement against the Eastern Conference Champs on home ice. I expect Tuukka Rask and Jaroslav Halak to split these four games, however I wouldn’t be surprised if Head Coach Bruce Cassidy rode the early hot (glove) hand on the road if either could get on a streak right out of the gates.

If the B’s can secure at least five-out-of-eight points during this opening stretch of hockey, that would be ideal — especially when you consider the team will be without stalwart defensemen Kevan Miller & John Moore to start the year and will most likely be featuring a new top-six set-up with Butch Cassidy juggling “the Sundance kids” to see who exactly is the best fit alongside Patrice Bergeron & Brad Marchand (line one) and David Krejci & Jake DeBrusk (line two).  All in all, there’s a lot to pay attention to and take note of as the B’s travel West for a week to start the ’19 season.

OCTOBER 17th – 29th: “Test Your Might!”

I’m likening this next portion of the Bruins’ schedule to the opening part in the original Mortal Kombat theme song: Test Your Might. And coming off what will hopefully be a successful TD Garden Home Opener on October 12th against New Jersey (that’ll be a good one now that P.K. Subban brings his devilish “D” to the Devils) followed by a visit from the once mighty Ducks of Anaheim two days later, the B’s will need every bit of focus, fortitude & follow-through to contend with what could be the most challenging two weeks of hockey all year (and for any NHL team).

To wit: Boston welcomes the reigning Presidents’ Trophy winners from Tampa to town on the 17th and ends the month with the near-Cup-contending Sharks swimming by on the 29th. Sandwiched in between what will undoubtedly be two great games of exciting hockey to bookend this stretch, you see a home-and-home versus a revenge-motivated Toronto team, followed by a Game 7 rematch versus St. Louis’ surly squad that gave everyone in Boston “the Blues.” Then, it’s off to New York to battle the rebuilding Rangers on the road.  These six consecutive games will show beyond a shadow of a doubt if the B’s are still Cup-trending or are in need of a boost/spark before Thanksgiving. To paraphrase a different Mortal Kombat line from the still-catchy tune of yesteryear, the B’s will need stand-out performances from, indeed, their mightiest of stars who will be put the test early and often:

EXCELLENT!

Krejci (Kano)

Big Z (Liu Kang)

Marchand (Raiden)

Tuukka Rask (Johnny Cage)

Bergeron (Scorpion)

Sub Jaro (Sub Zero)

Pasta (Sonya)

BOSTON KOMBAT!!!

Coming up in Part II of my Mark Your Bruins Calendar series, I’ll preview what’s on the November docket and how the B’s can take advantage of some important divisional match-ups to make the most of their early season schedule. In the meantime, stay tuned in and tuned up with all things Black N’ Gold by checking out our podcast below:

 

“Score” Another Record For Playoff Bruins

(Photo Credit: NHL.com)

By: Evan Michael | Follow me on Twitter @00EvanMichael

When you hit “21” in BlackJack, you’re an automatic winner. For the Black N’ Gold, that number hits upon a lot of winners this postseason as well.

Namely, the twenty one different goal-scorers the Bruins have had since the playoffs began earlier this Spring (and since they’re just about playing into Summer, that’s saying something). Not since the 1987 Philadelphia Flyers has any team balanced the score sheet so consistently and productively as this year’s beloved B’s. The “next man up” mantra should add the phrase to score at the end of it because no matter who Boston has inserted into the lineup on any given playoff night, that player has found a way to impact the game –and the net– in short order.

And it’s not just the top guys we’re talking about here… it’s the Karson Kuhlmans and Steven Kampfers and Brandon Carlos who are contributing just as important and timely of goals as the Patrice Bergerons, Brad Marchands & David Pastrnaks of the team. THAT is why the Bruins have beaten the likes of the Leafs, Blue Jackets & Hurricanes. THAT is why the B’s are pushing St. Louis to the brink. THAT is why Boston is on the verge of winning the Stanley Cup in what is, and what will undoubtedly be, a truly historic Game 7 on home ice at TD Garden (in fact, it’s the first ever Bruins SCF Game 7 at home in franchise history).

So, to recap, who exactly are these 21 goal scorers? It’s probably easier to just write “everyone not named John Moore or Tuukka Rask.” But, thanks to our friends at NBC Sports Boston, we can now show you in all its Gloria-gouging glory:

That’s right… the B’s had 13 different goal scorers in Round One versus Toronto; 3 more in Round Two versus Columbus; another 3 in Round Three against Carolina; and thus far 2 more battling the Blues in the Stanley Cup Finals. Add ’em up… 13 + 3 + 3 + 2 = 21. Dealing out all the player cards below, that’s an impressive sight no sleight of hand needed!

(Photo Credits: Boston Bruins)

In fact, you’ve truly got to hand it to the Bruins and their depth, something Head Coach Bruce Cassidy and management have been preaching ever since the season began way back in the Fall in China! And with hockey’s most celebrated season about to end in Boston on Wednesday, June 12th, 2019… wouldn’t it be “a banner” night indeed if the B’s could bring home Lord Stanley’s coveted Cup for the second time this decade, giving each of 21 goal scorers above the ultimate “win” in all of professional sports?

I’ll stand on that!

Bergeron, Krug With Impressive Playoff Points For Bruins

Image
(Photo Credit: Boston Bruins)

By: Evan Michael | Follow me on Twitter @00EvanMichael

When you think of perfection, a word that shares both literal & figurative resonance with the B’s top players & top line–led by none other than Patrice Bergeron himself, you think of a number. Well, two numbers now. 100 & 37.

And since hockey, by and large, is a numbers game — especially when lining up a hit between the numbers — it was only fitting that Bergy bested some of Boston’s best ever in a game three performance that completely tilted the ice (and perhaps the series) in the Black N’ Gold’s favor.

But the defacto co-captain of the Bruins wasn’t the only “B” buzzing around the rink and score sheet in St. Louis. Enter MSU alum and power play specialist Torey Krug to the conversation, whose big night from the blue line rivaled that of Bergy.

In fact, Krug’s quatro-point performance propelled him into unparalleled Boston Bruins hockey history. He became the first EVER B’s defenseman (aka defenceman) to record four points in a Stanley Cup Finals game. That’s right… Shore never did it. Orr never did it. Bourque never did it. Big Z never did it. But, No. 47 did!

And if that wasn’t impressive enough… Krug also entered into elite National Hockey League playoff history with his puck-perfect performance–one that definitely gave the hard-hitting and oft-whining opposing team the Blues (cue “Roll Over Beethoven” from Chuck Barry, not Laura Branigan’s “Gloria” for this).

What a nice problem for the Bruins and B’s fans to have after a decisive 7-2 victory, right? Two of their most important & pivotal players each reaching milestones in the SCF! And at the most timely of times to regain home ice and also give a struggling perfection line and top PP unit a big boost of confidence moving forward. Will the numbers continue to trend in this direction? Most likely not at such a historic pace, but even if the B’s received half of what we saw in game three, then the odds are looking good for going back to Boston with a chance to win it all. And all thanks to the inspired scoring and point production of Patrice & Torey — oh, what a story!

Image result for krug bergeron stanley cup(Photo Credit: Hockey News)

Now, wouldn’t that be perfect?

Can B’s D-men Improve Any “Moore” In SCF?

Image result for john moore boston bruins(Photo Credit: Boston Globe)

By: Evan Michael | Follow me on Twitter @00EvanMichael

“Next man up.”

This phrase should probably be printed on all 2018-19 Bruins gear, emblazoned above the B’s locker room door, bannered onto the forefront of the TD Garden and artistically etched onto the ice right below Stanley Cup Finals. It’s literally the motto — and mantra — for a bruised Black N’ Gold team that’s taken pride in players truly stepping up when called upon. Now, it appears, yet another member of your three-wins-away-from-winning-it-all Bruins will have one “Moore” chance to make his teammates and the city proud.

That’s right, it’s likely John Moore’s turn to take the place in game three for an untimely injured Matt Grzelcyk (who, if you reluctantly remember, was boarded by the now-suspended Blues forward Oskar Sundqvist in game two). Moore, who hasn’t played since he slotted in for an injured Zdeno Chara in the B’s series-clinching win against Carolina two weeks ago, is without a doubt eager to make an impact in a pivotal road contest that could easily change the course and momentum of the series.

Much in the same way Steve Kampfer injected some energy and, if you can believe it, timely goal scoring when he “next-man-upped” himself into action for game one of the ECF against the Hurricanes, Moore hopes to help his team both on the blue line and on the score sheet if he can. Head Coach Bruce Cassidy will take either, but his primary thinking of choosing Moore over Kampfer, to most likely pair with Connor Clifton, is the versatile veteran’s left leaning (blue)lining.

As for the rest of his squad, Moore certainly has the support and confidence from his teammates, all of whom expected him to be a more permanent fixture on the back end all season long until injuries and depth chart-jumping forced him out of the lineup for extended stretches this year. However, NOW is the most important time of the year for the Bruins and that’s all that matters — to the team, to management, to the fans and to Moore. He knows opportunities like this don’t come around that often and making the most of them could result in the ultimate prize: hoisting the Stanley Cup high over his head for the first time in his career.

Image result for john moore boston bruins(Photo Credit: Spokesman-Review)

If he helps the B’s to a game three victory, then guess what? The new next man up will only have two “Moore” wins to go!

For Bruins, The “Best” Is Yet To Come… Maybe?

Image result for boston bruins stanley cup(Photo Credit: Boston Herald)

By: Evan Michael | Follow me on Twitter @00EvanMichael

For the Bruins’ best, is the best yet to come, as the old adage goes?

At the start of this series against the Western Conference Champion St. Louis Blues, many who follow this talented team — myself included — definitely thought YES. After all, the B’s were coming off a sweep of the high-flying Hurricanes, one in which their top line topped the entire score sheet in a clinching game four victory. But with game three of the Stanley Cup Final on the horizon (and on the road), now many of us are not so sure — again, myself included.

Now, I wouldn’t call the Blues an “inferior” team by any means, but there may be a bit of truth to the Black N’ Gold’s perfection line showing perfectly obvious signs of rust after not only the week plus layoff, but also the layman-like play these first two games of the series. It’s fair to ask this (Paula Cole cowboyless) question: where have Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand & David Pastrnak gone? Regrettably, not to the net enough or to the bench enough celebrating those big, timely goals — you know, the kind your best players tend to score?!?

So, how exactly do the Bruins’ best intend to “clean up” those aforementioned details in time for a pivotal game 3 in St. Louis? Will Head Coach Bruce Cassidy tweak his top line — as he’s done in every previous playoff series at one point — to spark his struggling stars? Even in his most somber of post game press postures following game two’s gut-wrenching OT loss, he still pointed out an important solution to the most noticeable problem No.’s 63-37-88 seem to be suffering from (…again):

Yet, for all the criticism he and his team have faced in the last few days (coming off a more than impressive 8-game playoff winning streak, mind you), I think the man affectionately known as Butch was butcheringly blunt: the B’s need to remind themselves of how they’ve been successful in every round, and against every opponent, during these extremely favorable Stanley Cup Playoffs:

“Rebounding pucks, getting second chances, forcing [the other team] to defend. Usually, ya know, [it] results in penalties as well so that’ll be a point of emphasis.” — Bruce Cassidy

And speaking of penalties earned and thus power plays given… here’s a given: the B’s will not be hoisting Lord Stanley’s coveted silver chalice in the next week or so unless they can consistently make the most of the PP minutes they’re drawing from the sometimes beleaguered and belligerent Blues. And that especially goes for the top unit which includes, at times, all of the illustrious players alluded to earlier and pictured below.

Related image(Photo Credit: Zimbio)

Sure, the Bruins have scored a goal with the man advantage in a near record-setting six consecutive playoff games, but it’s no exaggeration to state they easily could’ve scored multiple PP goals in every game dating back to the Carolina series. You may get away with a missed “one up” opportunity here or there during the regular season and during the early rounds of the playoffs, but certainly not in the SCF where every shift, change, shot, point & goal matters. I mean, how many teams wish for a penalty to be called in a tie game in the third period with under ten minutes to go in the finals (and to take a stranglehold 2-0 lead in the series)!?!? EVERY ONE–if they’re lucky to get there. The B’s most certainly were in game two and yet…

I guess we were all singing the blues (sorry, Blues [capitalized]) after that. But, if there’s anything this wonderfully watchable run of hometown hockey has taught us this year, it’s that the B’s know how to respond to adversity. Especially on the road. And fittingly, their best players are all on the same page when it comes to the respective response.

That certainly sounds like someone who “B”lieves the best really is yet to come in this now best-of-five game Stanley Cup series.

Bruins & Canes Share A “Whale” Of A Playoff History!

Image result for bruins canes whalers(Photo Credit: WGME)

By: Evan Michael | Follow me on Twitter @00EvanMichael

Call them the Canes. Call them the Whalers. Call them the Jerks! But, whatever you do, don’t call them inexperienced when it comes to battling the B’s in pivotal playoff match-ups. Hartford-turned-Carolina and Boston have had a healthy history of clashing for the Cup (even regional recognition if you want to really surge up a storm). Let’s take a look back at all the times these two talented teams have met up in the postseason aka the NHL’s most exciting season:

Bruins vs Whalers: 1990

 

Almost ten years after the Hartford Whalers officially became an NHL franchise in 1979 (they were originally the New England Whalers of the defunct WHA), the team finally met the Bruins in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs — or as it was called at the time the Adams Division Semifinals. The series went the distance with the Bruins overcoming what could have been a devastating 3OT game six loss to emerge victorious in game seven. Craig Janney scored what would become the series-clinching GWG in a 3-1 win, with Andy Moog outdueling the inimitable Peter “El Sid” Sidorkiewicz in net.

Image result for bruins whalers 1990(Photo Credit: Pinterest)

Bruins vs Whalers: 1991

 

In a rematch of the 1990 Adams Division Semifinal, the B’s and Whalers again played a hard-fought series. This time, the Bruins’ offense proved just too much to handle for Hartford with the Black N’Gold taking down the White, Green N’Blue in six games. Cam Neely, Ray Bourque and Craig Janney led the way for Boston while Andy Moog proved to be the ultimate puckstopper again between the pipes. These two meetings really showcased how the Bruins’ best players, when playing at their best, could change the course of a game and a series — exactly what will need to happen NOW for Boston to continue its playoff success.

Image result for bruins whalers 1991(Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Bruins vs Hurricanes: 1999

 

When the franchises met for the third time in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, a lot had changed: Hartford had moved to Carolina and became the Hurricanes (the team was playing in Greensboro then before moving to Raleigh); and the NHL had changed its division & conference structure, as well as playoff seeding, so the number three ranked Canes who won the Southeast Division wound up playing the sixth-seeded Bruins from the Northeast Division in the Conference Quarterfinals aka Round One.

Image result for bruins hurricanes 1999The B’s dispatched Carolina in six games with none being as memorable as the 2OT game five affair. Anson Carter scored the game-winner on a beautiful feed from Jumbo Joe Thornton after the B’s rallied from two down in the third period (see above).

Boston would close it out at home (another change as it was The FleetCenter in ’99) for the third consecutive playoff series win between their once-local now coastal rivals.

(Photo Credit: Ebay)

Hurricanes vs Bruins: 2009

 

It’s been exactly a decade since the B’s and Canes last faced off in puckdom’s perennial postseason. And it was a painful one so apologies for the ’09 reminder. Coming off a near President’s Trophy-winning season with 116 points and a Northeast Division Championship, the B’s made quick work of the hated Habs in Round One before moving on to face Carolina in the Eastern Conference Semifinals. The Canes had narrowly defeated the New Jersey Devils in seven games so the match-up heavily favored Boston. It showed in game one but it was all Carolina after that. With the B’s facing a 3-1 series deficit, they routed the Canes at home (now TD Banknorth Garden) before winning game six on the road. That set up a winner-take-all game seven back on home ice before a raucous Gahhhhden crowd (I remember it well). The B’s were trailing 2-1 in the third when old friend Milan Lucic tied things up and sent the game to OT. But that’s when the flukiest of Carolina players scored the flukiest of goals — Scott Walker’s whiffer off a rolling rebound that eluded a tired Tim Thomas — to send the Canes onto the ECF. This was their first playoff series win against Boston in franchise history… and it still stings today!

Image result for bruins hurricanes 2009(Photo Credit: NBC Sports)

Bruins vs Hurricanes: 2019

As I alluded to earlier, in order for the B’s to best the Canes and continue their winning ways this year, their best players — namely Bergeron, Marchand, Krejci, Pastrnak & Rask — will need to keep the momentum going from the Columbus series and produce, produce, produce. If there’s one thing the 2019 Carolina Hurricanes / Hartford Whalers are good at, it’s playing UP to their opponent and, as we’ve seen from recent playoff history, better than their opponent (to wit: the defending Cup Champ Capitals and the energetic Islanders of Brooklyn). BN’G colleague @tkdmaxbjj will have more on what this series could mean for both teams right here so check back in with your Black N’ Gold squad soon — after all, it’s #InOurBlood!

*Bonus B’s/Canes History:

Image result for bruins whalers(Photo Credit: Canes Country)

There are some moments in hockey that even if they’re not from the playoffs, they still belong in a team’s shared history/story together. These are a few of those unforgettable moments!

The Boston Brawl of ’90

Don’t mess with Cam Neely. Or Craig Janney. Or Glen Wesley. Or Chris Nilan. Or Jim Wiemer. Or Lyndon “off the bench” Byers for that matter (yes, stay watching until that moment — don’t let Byers pass you by, dare I say).

The Czerkawski Crosscheck of ’96

Much the same way Bobby Orr got trailblazed after scoring (although this incident was not on nearly as grand or momentous of a stage), one time B’s legend Marius Czerkawski got Czer-cross-checked after his timely tally back in ’96. The B’s didn’t have a lot to fight for during those years so at least they stuck up for each other when the Whale wanted to wallop!

The Shorty Shellacking of ’10

 

I don’t think this will ever happen again in the NHL. And man oh man was it a pleasure to watch (especially after what had happened the year previous): three shorthanded goals in just over a minute on the same Hurricanes powerplay. Talk about being swept away!

Feel free to let us know what YOUR favorite Bruins/Canes/Whalers memories are by commenting below or sharing on social media using the #BruinsFam hashtag!

No Better Time Than “Now” For Bruins

Image result for bruins columbus win(Photo Credit: The Boston Globe)

By: Evan Michael | Follow me on Twitter @00EvanMichael

The Black N’ Gold should heed the lyrical advice of Tina Turner’s Goldeneye:

“But now my time has come and time, time is not on your side!”

Not perhaps for Zdeno Chara, 42, who is using EVERYTHING left in the tank to compete for the Cup in what could be his penultimate NHL season.

Not perhaps for the Davids — Krecji, 33, and Backes, 35, who know their mid-30’s are the period in a professional hockey player’s career where talents & abilities begin to fade and the skates don’t move as quickly as they used to, despite their impressive leadership qualities.

And perhaps not for, I hate to write it, Patrice Bergeron, 33, who continues to play through what many are speculating has to be a painful injury ala the way he has played in multiple previous injury-plagued playoff campaigns (one can only imagine the consistent & constant toll that takes on the no-longer-in-your-20’s body).

Yet, for all the worry & concern leading up to game four of the Columbus series — a game that many experts/bloggers/pundits/broadcasters/etc. were saying was a “must win” for the Bruins including this guy — all of the above players raised their games to match the already raised stakes. And did they ever lay it all out on the ice to get that “must win” — a rough & tumble 4-1 affair that saw Tuukka Rask play his most inspired netminding while not minding the fact that he was often left out to dry… especially on the B’s PP.

The series, as we all know, is now tied 2-2 and heading back to Boston where the barn will no doubt be burnin’ (proverbially speaking) after the B’s, and their social media supporters, stirred up plenty of puck-citement.

And needing now only 2-out-of-3 wins to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals (with two of those games potentially coming on home ice), to match up against either the “Jerks” from Hartford, North Carolina or the Tavares-less Islanders from Brooklyn is it?, the Bruins find themselves in an enviable playoff position. After all, no one expected this series to be happening (Tampa’s bolt from the 1st round was indeed an eye-bulging surprise) nor the Caps & Pens to no longer be competing. The same can be said for the match-ups out West. Truly, there is no better opportunity for the B’s to gas up the engines and make a serious drive to the Stanley Cup Finals.

As most who follow the game recognize, the road to hoisting Lord Stanley’s coveted cup is the longest, bumpiest and at times most dangerous in all of professional sports. The B’s have overcame a mountain of impediments this season — injuries & aging among the most aggravating. Yet, here they are… poised for a run at a championship despite all of the above. And with a path to “the Cup” more passable (and attainable) than any recent playoff setup.

There’s another golden Goldeneye nugget that will behoove the Black N’ Gold:

“…how it feels to get so close and be denied.”

All of those valuable veterans who are fighting for each other (and perhaps even Father Time as well) know this feeling. And outside of the momentous Cup run that was 2011, they know it all too well. So, why not make the most of what’s in front of them? Why not realize there may be no better time than NOW to bring yet another championship back to Boston?

Image result for bruins win(Photo Credit: NBC Sports)

Well, with age there also comes wisdom. And the B’s would certainly be wise to take advantage of where they are and where they want to go before this season ends.

Bruins “Pucked” by Puck Luck & More

Image result for bruins blue jackets game 3(Photo Credit: NBC Sports)

By: Evan Michael | Follow me on Twitter @00EvanMichael

The score was 2-1. The series is now 2-1. But the Bruins’ chances of erasing that deficit to the stingy (and sting-y) Columbus Blue Jackets are more like 100-1. Maybe even higher barring some miracle of health, happenstance or holy intervention for the “top line” of Patrice “we all know he’s injured” Bergeron; Brad “shoot the fricken puck” Marchand; and David “just bench him already” Pastrnak.

I think Lynne from Methuen hit the nail on the [exploding] head with the above tweet: the beaten Bruins are truly beating themselves so far in this series, which–if they don’t turn things around immediately in game four ala the Toronto matchup–will amount to nothing more than cannon fodder for a fanbase already sick of cannons, fodder & forwards who refuse to score.

One thing they can do, right along with their intrepid dinged-up D-men is ding pucks off posts at a rate more consistent & expected than a Bruce Cassidy lineup shuffle. To say the Bruins missed the mark on most of their scoring opportunities would be akin to Hans telling a young Gordon Bombay that clinking one off the iron is only “an inch” away from missing the net altogether. Which, to be honest, has also happened at an alarming rate both in this game and the previous two at TD Garden.

Oh, did I mention the B’s also took turns ringing the crossbar as well? All of this, of course, being sandwiched between Sergei Bobrovsky serving the Black N’ Gold a nice helping of glove, blocker, stick, pad & mask. I mean… I know the guy’s good, but is he really THIS good? Or are Boston’s best squeezing their collective sticks so hard they’re making it look a lot worse than it really is?

I think it’s a combination of both. Especially when you consider for the FIRST time in NHL history the B’s actually got a bit of proverbial puck luck when “the call on the ice” was overturned and Jake DeBrusk was rightfully credited with Boston’s lone goal of the game at the end of the second period — a goal that should have energized the bungled Bruins and led to a third period comeback of memorable praise & momentum-shifting glory.

Alas, it all was for naught. And so too will this entire series, second season & playoff run be unless the Bruins actually show up and play like we all know this team is capable of. After all, aren’t the playoffs all about playing through injuries, manning up or having “the next man up,” and most poignant & prominent of all — making your own puck luck?

Maybe that’s what the B’s should start doing. Or else, they’re all pucked.