Bruins Earn Back-to-Back Road Wins
Tuesday night the Bruins finished up a night of back-to-back games by beating the Rangers 2-1 and on Monday beating the Hurricanes 4-1.
It came as no surprise that the Bruins beat a struggling Hurricanes Monday evening. Cam Ward returned for his first game back since October 24 when he left with a lower body injuring when he sprawled to make a save against the Minnesota Wild. Before Ward’s injury he was sporting a 2-2-3 record with a 2.81 GAA and .912 SV%.
Reilly Smith and Carl Soderberg opened the scoring for the Bruins in the first by tallying a goal each and assisting on each other’s goals as well. Carolina was finally able to respond 4.8 seconds before the first periods end when Tuomo Ruutu scored with a wrist shot that trickled by Rask.
The second period remained quiet when neither team tallied a point. There were plenty of opportunities for both teams throughout but they couldn’t find the back of the net. Halfway through the third period though, scoring resumed again when Johnny Boychuk blasted a bomb past Cam Ward when he was too far out of position to make a stop. Lucic scored the last goal of the evening on an empty netter with 11 seconds left to play.
Carl Soderberg received first star honors after the game due to his 2 points and 5 shots on net and being +1 one on the evening. Soderberg is adjusting well according to Bruins coach Claude Julien who said, “He’s coming around. He was a good player last year in Sweden and that’s all we’ve heard. You’re starting see some of those traits you’ve heard about. He’s got a pretty heavy stick around the net-front area”.
Last year, Soderberg led the SEL with 31 goals, most of which comes from his gritty style of play and net front presence. This style of hockey is exactly why the Bruins acquired him in a trade with St. Louis that sent Hannu Toivonen west. Carl Soderberg is just another piece to the puzzle called the Bruins that allows this team to sit at the top of the Eastern Conference standings with 28 points.
The following evening, the Bruins faced off against another struggling team in the Rangers. Coming into Tuesday nights contest, the Rangers had a record of 10-10-0.
New York struggled to find footing in the new Metropolitan Division at the beginning of the season but has begun to climb back up the standings. It is no surprise that they have struggled though, as they were missing one of their best players, Rick Nash, who was out since October 8th after sustaining a concussion against the San Jose Sharks. Nash had a quiet night, only registering 5 shots on net in his return and averaging 18 minutes of ice time.
The “Merlot line” had a good night as two of its members scored the 2 points, which gave the Bruins the win. Shawn Thornton opened the scoring 5 minutes into the second period with a wrist shot that went bar down on Henrik Lundqvist. Again, this time with 8 minutes left in the period, Daniel Paille scored a backhanded goal while killing off David Krejci’s goalie interference penalty. This goal was ultimately the game-winning goal for the Bruins and ultimately earned Paille the second star of the night award.
Derick Brassard scored the lone goal for the Rangers on the power play with 7:29 left in the period.
The third period remained scoreless allowing the Bruins to take home two points with them when they go to face off against the Blues on Thursday. Tuukka Rask faced 44 shots and turned away 43 to earn himself the first star of the game and help solidify his spot as Finland’s starter for the Olympics in Sochi, Russia; since Finland’s GM, Jari Kurri, was in attendance for Tuesdays nights game. Over the summer Rask signed an 8 year, 56 million dollar extension with the Bruins and so far he’s playing like he deserves every penny of it.
Although the Bruins came away with the win, it came at a cost. Bruins defenseman Dennis Seidenberg left early into the game only playing one shift. He left with an apparent lower body injury and did not return. There is still no news on the extent of his injury.
This was just the start of a grueling end of November schedule for the Bruins. With only a week and half left in November, the Bruins still have 6 more games to play this month before a 5-day rest period before their next contest against division rival Montreal Canadiens. With 6 games in 10 days, the question the Bruins will have to answer is can they handle it? Missing two of their blue liners, the next week and a half will be no easy task for the Eastern Conference leaders.