And so the Ides of March have begun for the Boston Bruins and after three games in four nights, the Bruins are…….just fine. And call it what you like, they have been as solid as you would want them. Their 14-3-2 is their best start in the lifetime of anyone that’s reading this, and has them second in their division and fourth overall in Eastern Conference and the reason for that is the Montreal Canadiens have more points however the Bruins have played three less games. Boston has played the least games of anyone in the league, but that will change by the end of March as the team will have just one two day rest period this month.
The Bruins have been a consistent lot since the beginning of the year and seem to only have breakdowns in the third period of games against the Buffalo Sabres which account for their only two regulation losses. They have not been able to blow a team out yet despite the solid wins in most of them. They have 8 games decided by one goal and a couple more that have been ENG so they have been able to sustain the pressure of close games and come out with the victory.
A big reasons is the stellar play of Goaltender Tuukka Rask. Rask has been everything Coach Claude Julien wanted in his number one puck stopper! Sure there are a few goals that he probably should have stopped, but Rask has given the Bruins the opportunity to win every game. Anton Khudobin played his fourth game of the season Saturday and after spotting the Tampa Bay Lightning a 2-0 first period lead, played shutout hockey and allowed the Bruins to come from behind for a 3-2 two win.
Then there was just your average run of the mill regular season game against the Montreal Canadiens Sunday night. Yeah right! The furor is still going from all the so-called “embellishment”, did he or did he not cross-check, jealousy of not being in first place after 19 games? Lets face it, cliche as it is, and I really do hate cliches, the Bruins hate the Canadiens, the Canadiens hate the Bruins, the fans hate each other and see nothing but Black & Gold or Bleu, Blanc, et Rouge. That is never gonna change and I would rather it not!
In all my years of watching hockey, I’ve never liked the Canadiens. I’m not supposed to. I was born in Boston and remember when “Jesus Saves but Espo Scores on the Rebound.” I remember the first half of my life when the Bruins couldn’t beat the Habs in the playoffs no matter what. So the sniping will continue. It’s an ongoing saga that will continue for the next 75 years when most of will no longer be here.
What will be interesting is to see if the Bruins stand pat with the cast of characters that currently make up their roster! Teamwise the consistency has been there, however, production from key components has been lacking! The likes of David Krejci, Nathan Horton, along with the third & fourth lines have not been contributing leaving it up to Patrice Bergeron, Tyler Seguin and Boston’s leading goal scorer, Brad Marchand.
The trading deadline in four weeks away and with some players in contract years and not playing like they are, (Andrew Ference, Horton) it would suprise to see some of the 17 players that remain on the roster from the Cup winning year to be jettisoned somewhere else as this shortened season nears its halfway mark on the 12th of March.
By the time All Fools Day arrives, we should know a lot more about what kind of team the Boston Bruins will be heading into the home stretch and preparing for the playoffs. In the meantime, let the sniping continue between the B’s, Habs & the fans, because the other 44 games they’ll play this year, its the four that they see each other that matter. TD Garden March 26, Bell Centre April 6 can’t come fast enough and we wouldn’t want it any other way!