“Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in!” Movie fans remember that line from the third film in The Godfather trilogy. Hockey fans in Boston can relate to Michael Corleone. In the span of four days, many Bruins followers went from thinking the season was over to thinking their favorite team is a legitimate Stanley Cup contender.
In what was, perhaps, the low point of the season, the Bruins loss a two goal lead with less than three minutes remaining in a crucial game against arch-rival Montreal. Ultimately losing the game 3-2 in overtime on a Max Pacioretty goal. Regardless of the fact that the team garnered one point and remained ahead of Montreal in the Northeast division standings, the players and staff were emotionally drained after the game and everyone who watched the team on a regular basis had begun to give up hope.
Two nights later, Boston had to find a way to compete against perennial Stanley Cup contenders Pittsburgh. The Penguins were without the services of the National Hockey League’s leading scorer, Sidney Crosby, but the Pens still had Evgeni Malkin, Jordan Staal, Kris LeTang, and Marc Andre Fleury in the lineup. Along with Crosby, they led the Penguins to the Stanley Cup championship in 2009. The Penguins were 3:23 away from a 2-0 win when the tide turned in a big way. The Bruins struck for 2 goals in 12 seconds then with 50 seconds left in the third period, Mark Recchi scored his 90th career game winning goal and since it came on the power play, it was the 200th power play goal of his illustrious career. Gregory Campbell hit an empty netter to make the final score 4-2. The comeback win grabbed the public’s attention.
Entering game number three of the stretch, the question lingered, could the Bruins maintain the momentum gained from the victory over Pittsburgh? The Ottawa Senators were visiting TD Garden and it did not take long for the Bruins to establish dominance over their division rivals from Canada’s capital city. B’s alternate captain, Patrice Bergeron put the club on his back and led it to a 6-0 win over the Senators in a game that was never in doubt. Bergeron scored 3 of Boston’s 6 goals giving him 14 in his last 17 games. He also finished with a +4 on the night, as did teammates Adam McQuaid and Andrew Ference. Brad Marchand and Tyler Seguin each contributed a goal and an assist. Blake Wheeler scored his 10th goal of the season. The shut out established goaltender Tim Thomas as the league leader in that category. He has six on the season. Of course, the shut out lowered Thomas’ goals against average and save percentage. The netminder continues to lead the NHL in those departments.
Tim Thomas‘ play throughout the season was recognized by the NHL with his selection to the National Hockey League’s 2011 All Star Game, to be played on January 30, 2011 in Raleigh, North Carolina. Home of the Carolina Hurricanes. Thomas was not voted as a starter but his selection was a no brainer. Rookie Tyler Seguin will join Thomas in the all star festivities. Seguin, who, with each game is showing that he is feeling more and more comfortable with life in the NHL, will take part in the rookie skills competition. Defenseman Zdeno Chara will also take part in the all star game.
Hey Bruins! The fans are coming back. The faithful are paying attention. They know you have a 6-1-3 record in your last 10 games. They are seeing players play with heart, determination, desire, skill, and toughness. You have eight games remaining until the all star break. You are currently only six points behind Philadelphia in the chase for first place overall in the Eastern conference. If you continue to play with those attributes, you will overtake the Flyers, however, you must defeat Philadelphia this Thursday. Pittsburgh visits on Saturday. Another victory over the Penguins continues your move up the standings and continues pulling your fans back in, making believers out of the people who desperately want to thank you, as they wildly cheer your Stanley Cup parade in June.
You can catch Kara Garrow’s mid-season Flyers report here http://broadstreetbuzz.com/
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Topics: 2011 NHL All Star Game, Adam McQuaid, Andrew Ference, Blake Wheeler, Boston, Boston Bruins, Brad Marchand, Canada, Carolina Hurricanes, Eastern Conference, Evgeni Malkin, Gregory Campbell, Jordan Staal, Kris LeTang, Marc Andre Fleury, Mark Recchi, Max Pacioretty, Michael Corleone, Montreal Canadiens, National Hockey League, NHL, North Carolina, Northeast Division, Ottawa Senators, Patrice Bergeron, Philadelphia Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguins, Raleigh, Sidney Crosby, Stanley Cup, TD Garden, Tim Thomas, Tyler Seguin, Zdeno Chara