Bruins Sweep Sunshine State Road Trip
Amidst the Red Sox incredible playoff run, Boston’s beloved hockey team has also been playing well. The Bruins went down to the Sunshine state to play the Florida Panthers and the Tampa Bay Lightning this week, and came away with two impressive victories.
The first game, against the Panthers, came with an intriguing back-story. Tim Thomas, who just two years ago hoisted the Stanley Cup wearing a Bruins sweater, was the starting net minder for the Panthers. This would be Thomas’ first time facing his former team. In the first period, the Bruins seemed to have the Panthers on the ropes when Daniel Paille and Dougie Hamilton each contributed first period goals to give the Bruins a quick 2-0 lead. For about the next twenty minutes, the score remained unchanged until veteran Kris Versteeg was able to solve Tuukka Rask and the Bruins air tight defense to cut the lead in half. Fourteen minutes into the third period, Florida tied the game at two with a tip-in from Jesse Winchester. Tim Thomas seemed to be getting into a groove and the Bruins offense was not clicking.
With all championship caliber teams, when times get tough an unlikely hero will often step up. This time, it was Bruin’s youngster Reilly Smith, who with less than a minute left in regulation was able to sneak a backhand shot by Thomas to give the Bruins a 3-2 lead. The Bruins were able to hold off the Panthers for the remaining seconds of the game and earn a hard fought victory, while improving their overall record to 4-2.
On Saturday, the Bruins made their way to Tampa Bay to take on the Lightning. From the start of the game, any casual fan could tell that the Bruins were simply the better team, as the score indicated. 92 seconds into the game, David Krejci put the Bruins on the board, with what would eventually be the game winning goal. The Bruins dominated all three periods, as Adam McQuaid, Patrice Bergeron, Chris Kelly and Shawn Thorton also added goals of their own, to shell the Lightning five goals to none. Tuukka Rask earned his first shut out of the season, as the Fin stood on his head for a full 60 minutes, making 23 saves. Jarome Iginla, Gregory Campbell and Adam McQuaid both received fighting majors, further expanding the Bruin’s reputation as a tough, physical hockey team, perfect for the town they play in. Boston played well in every facet of the game, and ultimately improved their record to a formidable 5-2.
The Bruins trip to Florida this week revealed a lot about the team’s makeup. They showed that they are able to win tight, emotional battles, as well as utterly dominate another NHL team.
The Bruins will begin this week boasting a 5-2 record, as they prepare to take on the Buffalo Sabres this Wednesday at 8:00 in Buffalo.