International Roadtrip – NHL Playoff Style

Bruins-CanadiensBoston Bruins vs. Montreal Canadiens. If you’re reading this website you probably don’t need to be told what that means but just in case, I’ll sum it up for you in three sentences: We hate them. They hate us. This is going to be awesome.

After opening up with the first two games in Boston, the series heads north of the border for games three and four on Tuesday, May 6th and Thursday May 8th. If a game six becomes necessary it will be back in Montreal on Monday May 12th.

Our boys could use the support for those road games and seeing how Montreal is just a five-hour drive from Boston, the circumstances make for a perfect guys’ getaway. If you’re going, here’s a guide for what to do, where to go and what to bring.

What to do: Drink Good Beer

Where to go: The Dieu du Ciel! is one of the most popular microbreweries in a city that loves its microbreweries.

What to bring: Your liver.

What to do: Go to a strip club

Where to go: Montreal is known for two things: Habs hockeyand strip clubs. There are hundreds, but here are four of the more popular places with all the details.

What to bring: Canadian currency. The Canadian dollar comes in both bill and coin form, giving you the option of making it rain or hail.

What to do: Gamble

Where to go: The Casino de Montreal has tables for poker, blackjack, keno, baccarat, craps and roulette plus slot machines.

What to bring: A poker strategy guide and this (although the dealers may not be too fond of it).

What to do: Eat Poutine.This local cuisine is poutine, a hot mess of french fries, gravy and cheese curds.

Where to go: If you’r looking for poutine, La Banquise is the place to do it.

What to bring: An empty stomach and an open mind.

What to do: Ice skating

Where to go: C’mon, this is hockey playoffs! Get in the spirit and lace ’em up at Atrium Le 1000, located in Montreal’s tallest building.

What to bring: Your Bruins jersey and skates (although rentals are offered).

Oh, and don’t forget your passport. You might need that too. Go Bruins!

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Who’s Ready?

Mondays suck a lot less when you have the Bruins on at night. It’s going to be a big game for sure, and the Bruins must be pumped to play at the Garden again.images The last time we came home for game 3 of the finals, we beat the Canucks 8 to 1. That would be amazing to do again, obviously.

Adam McQuaid told espn that “You run on adrenaline this time of year”, and it’s true. After playing as many games as these guys have, they need every little bit of help they can get. So if you’re going to the game and don’t plan on screaming your heart out, then give the tickets to someone else (preferably me). Let’s just hope the series doesn’t flip flop like the NBA is, and go back and forth. We need to take these two at home! Go Bruins!

I don’t want to jinx anything, but here are a few things that could be in our favor (from ESPN):

  • The Blackhawks have not won a game 3 this postseason
  • About 75% of game 2 winners have won the cup

How They Match Up

It’s no secret that the Blackhawks were the best team in the NHL during the regular season. I mean, they didn’t lose for the first 24 games of the season. They didn’t fall off much after that, losing only 7 games the rest of the season. The playoffs are a lot closer, though. The last time we played the Hawks was almost two years ago when we beat them in a shootout during the regular season. That is hardly an indication of what’s to come. Many writers and analysts have already said that this could be one of the best Cup Finals in a long, long time. Both teams have won the Cup in the past 3 seasons. Here is how the match up:

REGULAR Season Bruins Blackhawks
Wins 28 36
Losses 14 7
Points 62 77
Goals Scored 131 155
Goals Against 109 102

And now for the playoffs:

Postseason Bruins Blackhawks
Wins 12 12
Losses 4 5
Points For per Game 3.1 2.8
Points Allowed per Game 1.9 1.9
Home Record 7-2 9-1
Road Record 5-2 3-4

What do you think will happen in the series?

Looking to the Elder

I’d love to let you know that the Bruins won last Friday and are going to the Stanley Cup Finals, but if you don’t already know that somehow, you probably shouldn’t be reading this blog in the first place.  This article is about Jaromir Jagr. For someone who has scored download681 goals in his career, he has really decided to buy into his role with the Bruins. At age 41, the guy has become a solid set-up man and a great defensive forward. Not to mention we got him because Iginla chose the Penguins over us… But now he’s golfing.

Jagr has only had two goals since signing with the B’s, but has 7 assists in the playoffs. He has been playing with Bergeron and Marchand too, so he has been a critical line throughout the postseason.  Jagr’s tenacity was one of the main reasons why we won game 3 in double overtime. He dug out the puck and stole it from Malkin before giving it to Marchy who slid it across to Bergy for the winner.  All of the Bruins can’t say enough about the veteran. They love his work ethic and how much better he tries to get each and every day.

Former Bruins player and champion Mark Recchi and Jagr raised their first Stanley Cup in Pittsburg in the 1990-91 season. Recchi still praises his old friend. This is the first time that Jagr has reached the finals since the 1992 Stanley Cup.

Goaltenders Equal?

I read an interesting article on ESPN earlier about the difference between the way Tuuka Rask is playing during the playoffs this season and the way that Tim Thomas did two years ago when we won the cup. Thomas won the Vezina Trophy and Conn Smythe that season and was clearly the leading factor in why we brought the cup back to Boston. He was phenomenal. But now he left us and we needed to fill those shoes. Tuuka is a lot younger and doing just that.bruins-thomas-and-rask

Through the first 13 games of each year’s playoffs (2011 and 2013), their records are identical, 9 wins, 4 losses. However, and much to my surprise, Tuuka’s numbers are better. Maybe it’s just because Thomas did it first, and now we just expect it from everyone, but I would have thought it would be the other way around. Rask has allowed 2.10 Goals per game and sported a .933 save percentage. Thomas allowed 2.39 Goals and had a .927 save percentage.

Granted, Thomas was a lot more interesting to watch because he would fly out of nowhere and make the save, whereas Rask is typically in the right place. Except when he leaves his net and goes out 10 feet. But either way, we are going to need him to keep playing this well if we want to bring home another cup. Go Bruins!

Playoff Hockey is Back in Boston

The beast that is Chara raising the cupI don’t know about you, but I woke up this morning feeling great. May 1st has arrived and for the first time in months, it appears that New England might finally be in the clear as far snow is concerned, although I wouldn’t bet the house on it. More importantly, it’s showtime! Playoff hockey is back in Boston as the B’s open up tonight at home against the Leafs. Let’s hope they’ve been able to flip the switch over the past few days and come out firing tonight. We’ll be doing our part, as you best believe the Garden will be ROCKING. So if you have any doubt, here’s a playoff montage that will be sure to get the blood pumping. Watching these clips still give me the chills. Tonight begins our quest to get Lord Stanley back to the Hub. Let’s go B’s!

PS – Sweet “bear” mascot Toronto.
UPDATE – His name is Carlton.

Blade vs. Carlton

The Looch Saga

The B’s have been taking a lot of heat for a team that’s sitting in first place of their division heading into the final week of the season. And I’ll be the first to say that I’ve been right there throwing stones with the rest of the angry mob. So why are we complaining? Besides our Bostonian expectation of win it all or bust, it’s obvious that the Bruins just aren’t playing to their full potential. Come playoff time, the fumes we’ve Lucic Scratchbeen running on aren’t going to be enough to make a legitimate run at the Cup.

The sense of urgency and our ability to score has just been lacking, among other things. One of which being Milan Lucic. I love Looch, but there’s no denying his metaphorical absence. The Looch of old has been nowhere to be found on the ice this year. Lucic used to be our enforcer. Would anyone call him that right now? No. A lot of people say he’s gone soft since becoming a father, but I’m not buying it. Regardless, the Lucic we’ve grown accustom to over the years needs to return if the B’s want to win the Cup. When Milan Lucic is playing Milan Lucic hockey, the Bruins are playing Boston Bruin’s Hockey, the kind of hockey that won us a Stanley Cup in 2011.

As much as we are all complaining, things aren’t all bad. Although we are in first place, the B’s just need to pick up some momentum heading down the home stretch. And I think that starts with Looch. So here are a few throwbacks that might help build some confidence in the Milan Lucic we all know and love, so Lord Stanley can be returned to its rightful home in Beantown.

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B’s Options

With Chris Kelly out indefinitely with a broken Tibia, will the Bruins go out and try to make a big time trade before the April 3rd deadline? They have already recalled 22-year old Jordan Caron from Providence for 3 games, and could even play Jay Panalpho (38-years old) a lot more than they have.

hi-res-141630913_crop_exactThose would be the cheaper options, for sure. However, the B’s have quite a bit of money that they can spend.  They still have $7.6 Million in cap space. That should be more than enough to bring in a proven star.

The problem is, the Bruins don’t have many “stars”. They are such a balanced team and haven’t relied on any one player since Savard went down a few years back. One name that has come up in talks is 35-year old Jarome Iginla of the Calgary Flames. Jarome is a 15 year veteran and former first round draft pick. He has played his whole career with the Flames, and has proved that he can still play at his older age. Last season, Iginla netted 32 goals while adding 35 assists. In his career, Iginla has a total of 523 goals and 569 assists for a total of 1,092 points.

To put that into perspective: Zdeno Chara has played 14 seasons (albeit as a defender) and has only 470 total points. Bergeron has played 8 seasons, but only has 423 points.  Iginla has scored as many as 52 goals in a season and has only had under 25 goals twice in his career. With the Flames sitting outside of the projected playoff bracket, they may be willing to deal for a younger player. Not saying we will go for Jarome, but he has been the only one mentioned so far. They still have plenty of time to figure out a move that they want to make, if any..


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B’s lose tough one to rivals

The Bruins took on the Montreal Canadiens tonight for the 889th time. That is the most games between two teams ever. It was definitely an exciting one. The Canadiehi-res-136915692_crop_exactns drew first blood when they scored about 2 seconds into a power play in the first period. However, Tyler Seguin scored the equalizer less than two minutes later (Marchand and Bergeron assisted). But Montreal didn’t let that tie last as they scored almost immediately after that to regain the lead, which they held for the rest of the first period.

The B’s were able to tie it up again 4 minutes into the 2nd period on a goal from Bergeron. That was Patrice’s 5th goal of the season. Seguin and Marchand were credited with the assists. The Canadiens almost scored right away again but the Bruins got a lucky bounce, thankfully.

Rookie big-man Dougie Hamilton got the go ahead goal later in the 2nd period. It looked like Marchand might have gotten his 3rd assist of the game on this one, but they did not credit him with it. That is the 2nd career goal for Dougie.

habsIt turned into a normal Habs-B’s matchup after that with lots of hitting and fighting. Lucic drew a fighting major, and Mcquaid would have too if it wasn’t for the refs stepping in. Chara got in a fight shortly after that against Emelin. He took a shot at Seguin and Tyler went down, so Chara came to his aid. Emelin got one shot on Chara before Chara just completely unloaded on him.

The Candiens tied it up 5:30 into the 3rd as Tuuka was screened from seeing the puck. 5 minutes later Montreal struck again when the puck slipped through during a cluster in front of the net.

The Candiens ended up winning 4-3 after stopping many of our chances late in the game. Chara served 17 minutes of penalty time during the game after a 10 minute misconduct. Tuuka Rask finished with 22 saves.

 

Bruins Top Panthers

The Bruins traveled to Sunrise, Florida yesterday, where hockey should be illegal just because of it’s name. They took on the Panthers and got out to yet another quick lead. Milan Lucic scored his 4th goal of the season 8 minutes in to put the B’s ahead. David Krejci recorded his team high 9th assist. Krejci has been playing spectacular and is the Boston Bruins v Florida Panthersteam leader with 12 points. A little while later, Chara made an unbelievable spin move and backhanded one into the back of the net. He looked like a figure skater on the play, which is hard to believe from someone who is 6”9 without skates. Marchand and Seguin got the assists on that one. The Panthers were able to put in one of their own before the end of the first period.

The Bruins finally scored on the Power Play a few minutes into the 2nd period when Daniel Paille assisted Chris Kelly for his first goal of the season.  Other than that, the game was pretty back and forth. There was no more scoring until Paille scored on an open net with 1 minute left, but it was definitely fun to watch. The Bruins were on a penalty in that last goal and the Panthers pulled their goalie so they scored even though they were playing 4 against 6. That marked the first time this season that Boston has had a 3 goal lead. Milan Lucic made things exciting when he went after a guy who clearly cross-checked him and didn’t get the call, so he was pinned with a 10 minute misconduct penalty for retaliating. Tuuka Rask played well for the Black & Gold with .34 saves. The Bruins improve to 11-2-2 and will take on the Islanders Tuesday night.