Bruins Gain Momentum Before Break
The Boston Bruins, a year removed from being the best team in the Eastern Conference, have struggled all season long. The Bruins had lost ten straight games heading into Sunday’s game against rivaling Montreal. The Bruins came awfully close to tying the franchise record for most consecutive losses, 11 in the 1924-25 season. Fortunately for them, they won.
Goalie Tuukka Rask earned the shutout in a 3-0 Bruins victory, giving their first win on enemy ice since Jan. 14 in San Jose and the team’s first shutout victory since Dec. 30 against Atlanta (another Rask shutout). The Bruins followed up with a 3-2 shootout victory in Buffalo on Tuesday and managed to win 5-4 against Tampa Bay on Thursday.
Bruins coach Claude Julien has put his confidence in the Finnish goalie, who has played significantly better than his teammate Tim Thomas, last year’s Vezina Trophy winner and American Olympian. Last season the goaltending duo of Thomas and Manny Fernandez was almost impeccable. This year, it is a big problem heading into the home stretch.
Despite the Bruins struggles this season, they find themselves in the playoff race. After last night’s win in Tampa Bay, they now sit in the eighth seed. Only 11 points, however, separate the 6th seed from the 13th seed in the Eastern Conference. Every win after the Olympic break is crucial.
In order for the Bruins to stay in the playoff race, they’re going to have to stay consistent. They’re going to need their leaders—Zdeno Chara, Marc Savard and Marco Sturm– to step up. Their goaltending situation poses a problem, with rumors indicating that the team may shop Tim Thomas at the trade deadline. I do not think it wise for the team to deal Thomas. And, to be fair, he hasn’t gotten that much support from his defense this year. The goal differential for the Bruins was a +78 last season, compared to a -6 after 59 games this season.
The Bruins held a 5-0 lead last night before letting up four straight goals. Nonetheless, they came out on top and have won three straight games. Things are looking better for the Boston Bruins. Their playoff hopes hang in the balance every game. They will control their own destiny.