Hockey is the most unpredictable sport. Take the last three Boston Bruins games, for instance. This past Monday, in the first game of a home and home series, the B’s defeated the Carolina Hurricanes 7-0, in Boston. It was no contest from the opening face off to the final whistle. Led by Zdeno Chara‘s hat trick, the Bruins thoroughly dominated the Hurricanes in every facet of the game. The next night in Carolina, the black and gold gave up 45 shots and took only 28. Milan Lucic broke a 2-2 tie with a little over eight minutes remaining in the third period and the Bruins held on for a hard fought 3-2 win. Most fans expected another blow out victory for Boston over Carolina but hockey, being a game of mistakes, proved that each and every game is different and one can never expect the next one to have a similar outcome from the previous game.
Another case in point, Thursday’s game against the Buffalo Sabres was supposed to be an “easy” win for the Bruins. Boston put 40 shots on Sabres goaltender Ryan Miller. Miller turned in the kind of effort that won Team USA the silver medal at the 2010 Winter Olympics. Meanwhile, Bruins netminder Tuukka Rask was subpar, losing his 10th game of the season. The defensemen turned the puck over far too many times and were a step behind the Sabres forwards all night and constantly caught out of position. The B’s forwards, while good in the offensive zone, lacked commitment on the defensive side of the puck. Backchecking was almost nonexistent. In all, the team lacked focus and dedication to details and it showed on the scoreboard. Buffalo overcame a two goal deficit to leave Beantown with a 4-2 win. The loss dropped the Bruins to third place in the Eastern conference. They have a 3 point lead over the Montreal Canadiens for the top spot in the Northeast division. The B’s need to return to the type of play that led them to reel off consecutive victories over Pittsburg, Ottawa, and Philadelphia. Boston has won six out of its last ten games. Montreal has done the same to keep pace with the Bruins.
There are three games remaining before the All Star break. Saturday, the club will be in Denver to take on a young Avalanche team that currently sits in 8th place in the Western conference but are only four points out of 4th place and should qualify for the playoffs. Monday January 24, 2011 the black and gold will have a prime opportunity to pick up two points as they will take on a struggling Los Angeles Kings team, in sunny California. The Kings have sunk from 1st place in the West to 12th. LA has won just two of its last ten games. Kings fans and Los Angeles media have been calling for major changes for over a month beginning with demands for the firing of head coach Terry Murray. Murray has received the backing of general manager Dean Lombardi. The g.m. is expected to be active at, or before, the trade deadline in order to turn the season around for his team. The final game before the break will be played on Wednesday the 26th of January at TD Garden against another struggling club in the Florida Panthers. Boston has a regulation win and a shootout win over Florida this season. The Panthers occupy 11th place in the Eastern conference but have lost just 3 of their last 10 contests and are playing with a renewed confidence that could carry them into the playoffs.
Looking at the schedule, the Bruins should go 3 for 3 before the break but since there are so many variables that can, and will, occur which makes hockey such a unique sport, one cannot predict what will happen. Of course, no one can predict the outcomes of other sports but hockey is played at a speed like no other. Other sports require skill sets that can be transferred to any sport. By that I mean, a baseball player can dribble a basketball, a basketball player can throw a baseball, a football player can shoot a basketball but not all athletes can skate, stickhandle and/or shoot a puck at full speed. That is why, in my opinion, it is the most unique sport on earth. Did I mention it is the most unpredictable also?
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Tags: 2010 Winter Olympics Beantown Boston Boston Bruins Buffalo Sabres California Carolina Hurricanes Colorado Avalanche Dean Lombardi Denver Eastern Conference Florida Panthers LA Los Angeles Kings Milan Lucic Montreal Canadiens National Hockey League NHL Northeast Division Ottawa Senators Philadelphia Flyers Pittsburgh Penguins Ryan Miller Stanley Cup TD Garden Team USA Terry Murray Tuukka Rask Western Conference Zdeno Chara