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!

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?

A Hero Honored

Great game last night! Even their best game couldn’t stop us.

Anyway, I was listening to WAAF’s Hillman Morning Show today and they spoke to MBTA Officer Dick Donahue who was the officer shot during the Watertown Shootout with the terrorists responsible for the Boston Marathon Bombings. Popular Host Greg Hill asked Officer Donahue to tell a story about when Hill and Rob Gronkowski went to visit him in the hospital. Apparently, Gronk said something to the nature of (and I’m paraphrasing) “you know what would help you: if we got you some strippers that dressed up as nurses to bruins-thomas-and-raskcould come in here.” According to Greg Hill, Donahue’s wife then walked in and was not too pleased. But this is just classic Gronk and we can add one more reason to the list of reasons why we love the guy.

For those of you who missed it, Office Donahue was the hero that was brought out in a wheel chair to wave the flag before the start of the Bruins game last night. Hill said that Donahue should take full credit for the win, and the Officer laughed it off. He was a very modest hero and defines Boston Strong. Have a good day everybody!

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.

Miracle in Auction

The jersey that was worn by Mike Eruzione in the “Miracle Game” against the USSR was recently sold in an auction for $657,250. His Stick ($262,900), Jersey in the Gold Medal Game against Finland ($286,800) and Gloves ($53,775) also sold in the Auction.

gal-upsets-miracle-jpgMike Eruzione was the Captain of the 1980 Olympic USA team that completely upset powerhouse USSR in the Semi-final game. The Soviets had won the previous four Gold Medals all the way back to 1964 and were once again the heavy favorite. If you haven’t seen the movie “The Miracle”, do yourself a favor and buy it. This was a team that was made up of almost all amateurs and collegiate athletes. Most thought this idea would be dumb but Head Coach Herb Brooks knew the team that he wanted. The items that he sold are a big part of history for Olympic Hockey.

Adios Tim Thomas

The Bruins have traded Goaltender Tim Thomas to the New York Islanders for a 2014 or 2015 second-round pick. That part of it will be decided down the road. Tim Thomas is a imagestwo-time Vezina Trophy winner, which is given to the best Goalie in the league each year. Thomas was also the MVP of the Stanley Cup finals two years ago when we won it.

Since Tim Thomas took the year off to spend more time with his family, the Bruins suspended him. He had no intentions on coming back to play this season, and at 38 years old, who knows if he will ever be back. By completing this trade, the Bruins were able to create a lot more cap room, while the Islanders, were able to use his remaining one year contract towards their cap floor, which they were well below before this. Even if Thomas doesn’t report, they will still be able to have him on the books, but won’t hindexave to pay him. It’s a win for everybody involved.

Thomas is 196-121-45 all-time with a 2.48 Goals Allowed Average and a .921 Save Percentage. His biggest moments coming in the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals against the Canucks.

Everyone around here loves Timmy, but at the end of the day, it’s still a business. I would rather have them give up someone who won’t play than a valuable asset that reports day in and day out. Tuuka Rask has taken over between the pipes and is playing great. Rask is 6-1-1 with a 1.97 GAA and a .922 Save Percentage. The Bruins will take on the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday afternoon.

B’s versus Canes

The Bruins will take on the 2-2 Carolina Hurricanes tonight at 7. The Bruins are looking to improve to 4-0-1 on the season. Both teams have scored 2.75 goals per game, while the Bruins have only allowed 2 per game, compared to the 3.25 that the Hurricanes have allowed.  However, we only average 29 shots per game, where they average 39. This is better for our percentages, but tough when we have Anton Khudobin making his first start of the season. He started one game for us last season and only allowed 1 goal while indexrecording 44 saves. He has only played in 7 career games.

Gregory Cambell, David Krejci, Milan Lucic, Brad Marchand, and Rookie Dougie Hamilton are all tied for the team lead with 3 points. Lucic is the leader with 3 goals and penalty minutes with 17. This fits right in with the Bruins model ever since the won the Cup 2 years ago. There is no clear-cut star on this season. It could have been Savard before he got concussed, but now there is no one. Just a team that’s willing to do whatever it takes to get the W. I love that hockey’s back.

Go Bruins!

Back on the Ice: Boston Bruins vs. New York Rangers Preview

Bruins Back On the Ice: The Boston Bruins open up what’s left of a 48-game regular season against the New York Rangers at 7pm in TD Garden tomorrow (Saturday Jan 19th). The Bruins vs. Rangers contest is one of 13 games on tap for tomorrow, with 6 more games on Sunday for a weekend full of hockey.

Tale of the Tape: According to the Associated Press, both the Bruins and the Rangers are potential Stanley Cup favorites entering this season. Here’s a breakdown of both teams:

Rangers: The New York Rangers enter this season with Stanely Cup hopes as they nearly missed the big game last year with a conference finals loss to their rivals the New Jersey Devils. The Rangers made an offseason addition to their roster, as they landed former Columbus Blue Jackets forward Rick Nash via trade.

Nash brings even more scoring power to an already potent mix, with Ranger forwards Marian Gaborik and Brad Richards. With the Blue Jackets Nash racked up 289 goals and 547 points in 674 games with a pair 40 goal seasons as well as 5 30+ goal seasons, according to the AP.

Then there’s the goal play of Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist, who only allowed 1.97 goals averaged against him in 62 regular games last season. Lundqvist also posted an even more microscopic 1.82 GAA in the post-season for New York. Couple that with Nash, Gaboric, plus Richards, and the Rangers could be as good as advertised.

Bruins: The Bruins will be looking to win their second Stanley Cup Finals trophy in 3 seasons and they’ll have to try and do it without usual goalie Tim Thomas. Thomas you may remember was one of the keys to the Bruins 2011 Stanley Cup triumph. Thomas decided to take this shortened season off and spend time with his family.

That puts Tuukka Rask in front of the net for Boston. Rask has promise as he posted a 2.05 GAA in 25 games backing up Thomas last season. Also, Rask posted a 1.97 GAA in a 45 game span back in 2010 when Thomas was injured. The Bruins will hope Rask can put up similar numbers in this 48-game regular season.

Aside from losing Thomas, the Bruins have most of  last year’s crew back. This includes Tyler Seguin, Brad Marchand, and Milan Lucic. All of whom signed multi-year contract deals with Boston before the lockout began.

The Bruins will be looking to bounce back to Stanley Cup form this year, after a first round Game 7 playoff loss to Washington last year.

Brian Boyle Milan Lucic #17 of the Boston Bruins tries to keep the puck as Brian Boyle #22 of the New York Rangers defends on February 14, 2012 at TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. The New York Rangers defeated the Boston Bruins 3-0.

My Prediction: With this being the first game of a shortened season, it’s hard to say how any team will do. Nevertheless, I will take a shot in the dark and say the Bruins win 2-1 over the Rangers.

However, the Bruins may have a tough time scoring against the Rangers Lundqvist, as he boasts a pair of shutouts in his last 3 trips to Bean-town and a nasty 1.53 GAA in 27 games against the Bruins.

Despite the numbers, I give Boston the edge as the Bruins had 9 players who found work in Europe during the lockout. So, I’ll take experience over stats in this one.

Where to Watch: As a reminder the Bruins vs. Rangers game begins at 7pm tomorrow evening (Saturday January 19th) in the TD Garden and can be viewed on NHLN (NHLNetwork). If you’re going to the game, remember to cheer, drink, and act responsibly.