The Boston Bruins headed to Florida for games against the Florida Panthers and Tampa Bay Lightning on Dec. 27 and 28, respectively.
Both games ended as 2-1 affairs, with the Bruins beating Florida, but coming up short against Tampa Bay.
In Sunrise, Florida, the home of the Panthers, the Bruins fell behind 1-0 on a goal that Tim Thomas would like to have back. But Thomas stopped all other 25 shots that the Panthers put on him, and goals in the second by Michael Ryder (10th) and in the third period by Marco Sturm (11th) gave the Bruins their third straight win. Thomas made a great save on Jordan Leopold with seven seconds left that secured the two points for the Bruins – and more importantly, kept the Panthers from getting any points and gaining on the Bruins in the Eastern Conference standings.
The next night in Tampa Bay, Lightning goalie Mike Smith stopped everything the B’s threw at him except for Marco Sturm’s 12th goal with seven and a half minutes remaining in the third. Tim Thomas was back in-goal, and he kept this game close. He stopped 37 of 39 Tampa Bay shots, including 23 of 24 in the second period alone, when the Bruins were outshot 24-6. This save against Vincent Lecavalier late in the second was one of the best...and was the direct result of a Matt Hunwick turnover. Hunwick is officially back on “train wreck” watch – this guy should almost be used exclusively on the power play, where he can be an effective puck mover.
The second period also featured a quick bout between Tampa Bay’s
Zenon Konopka (league-leading 16th fighting major, most of them not against children) and the B’s Byron Bitz:
There was alot of weak officiating in this game that did not favor the Bruins, and I saw at least three posts hit flush by B’s shots – but the fact remains, the Bruins are not a Stanley Cup contending team with the current offensive pieces they have. A sniper is needed – yes, a Phil Kessel type…dammit – and tomorrow night we will get to see the gunslinger that plenty of teams will be throwing money and draft picks at leading up to the trading deadline: Ilya Kovalchuk. Just four years ago, he had his finest season with 52 goals, 27 of which were power-play goals…to go along with 29 power-play assists. His center and main set-up-man that season? Current Bruin Marc Savard, who could really use a sniper to get the greatest return on his deft play-making abilities. The power play numbers are especially attractive, as the Bruins continue to flounder near the bottom of the league in power-play efficiency.
This guy can score:
Keep an eye on #17 for Atlanta tomorrow night…he sure would look good in black and gold.
Don Cherry on NESN
Hockey legend Don Cherry will join the NESN booth tomorrow for the Bruins home game against Atlanta Thrashers….word on the street is that he will be debuting a newly designed Bruins sportsjacket.
WARNING: Do Not Adjust the Color on your TV
Candles for Ray
And Happy 49th Birthday (12/28/61) to the Captain, Ray Bourque ~
Winter Classic at Fenway
My mole on the inside, Jerri Blank, was one of the first to get onto the ice at Fenway and provided these pictures…Thanks, Jerri!
Photo Credits: Jerri Blank
Clarence has procured a ticket to the Winter Classic, so there will be plenty on the way over the next week or so.