The Boston Bruins are in the midst of a six game road trip. After the first three games, the black and gold has three wins under their belts with the wins coming against The Ottawa Senators, New York Islanders, and Calgary Flames.
The three new Bruins, Tomas Kaberle, Chris Kelly, and Rich Peverley, appear to be comfortable and are fitting in quite nicely with their new teammates.
Tomas Kaberle has not scored any goals or assists in his two games as a Bruin but he has played with a quiet confidence that has not been seen from a defenseman in Boston since Raymond Bourque patrolled the blue line for the B’s. Kaberle is not the next Bourque but he controls the game when he has the puck on his stick and passes with pin point precision. He skates extremely well and has excellent hockey sense. He compliments Zdeno Chara on the power play because he does the things that Chara cannot do.
Chris Kelly came to Boston from Ottawa. He is not the scorer that fans had asked for but he is a steady veteran who can play the wing or center. Kelly is still searching for his first point as a Bruin but he brings 75 goals and 101 assists in 464 career games, all with Ottawa. As a center, he wins more face offs than he loses. Kelly also is very good is the defensive zone. He possesses above average speed and can make plays that a handful of Bruins forwards have struggled with this season. A huge factor that figured into bringing Kelly to Boston is the fact he knows what it takes to get to the Stanley Cup Finals. His Senators lost to Anaheim in the 2007 Finals. With Boston’s large Irish-American population, Kelly will become a favorite son in Beantown quickly.
Rich Peverley was acquired from the Atlanta Thrashers along with minor league defenseman, Boris Valabik, in exchange for forward Blake Wheeler and defenseman Mark Stuart. To most Bruins fans, Peverley is an unknown but he brings a knack for scoring big goals. The 28 year old native of Kingston, Ontario, Canada has scored 56 career goals with 16 being game winners. He has also picked up 88 assists for a total of 144 points. Peverley is strong in the face off circle and will be used in critical face off situations. This graduate of St. Lawrence University will undoubtedly become a fan favorite in Boston because of his work ethic and future scoring exploits.
The three newest players to wear black and gold will play prominent roles for the remainder of this six game road trip. The next game on the schedule will be Saturday February 26, 2011 in Vancouver.
The Vancouver Canucks are the National Hockey League’s number one team with 85 points. After losing to Montreal last night, the Canucks have played 61 games this season, winning 38, losing 14, and going into overtime 9 times.
While the Bruins are Stanley Cup contenders and enter this game tied with Tampa Bay for 2nd place in the Eastern Conference, the Canucks are the Stanley Cup favorites.
At forward, Vancouver is led by the Sedin Twins, Henrik and Daniel. The 30 year old brothers from Ornskoldsvik, Sweden are ranked numbers one and three in NHL scoring. Canucks captain, Daniel Sedin, leads the league with 78 points. He is 3rd in the league in goals with 32 and fourth in the league in assists with 46. The center has scored three goals and three assists in his last five games. Daniel also sits in fifth place in the league with a plus 23. Henrik won the Hart Memorial Trophy last season. The Hart Trophy is awarded to the league’s most valuable player. Henrik currently sits atop the NHL with 58 assists and, as mentioned, is 3rd in overall scoring with 73 points. Like his brother, Henrik has scored six points in his last five games. The Sedin’s linemate, Ryan Kesler is 2nd in the NHL in goals scored. The 2010 American Olympian from Livonia, Michigan has scored 33 goals up to this point.
The impressive stats do not end with the Sedin brothers and Kessler. Defenseman Kevin Bieksa leads all National Hockey League players in plus/minus with a plus 26. The good news for Boston is Bieksa is presently out of action with a broken foot.
Defense is the only position where the Canucks are vulnerable. Six of their top seven defensemen are out of action with injuries. However, even if the Bruins can get plenty of scoring chances, they must get the puck past Canucks goaltender Roberto Luongo, who is getting mentioned more and more as Tim Thomas‘ chief competition for the Vezina Trophy, awarded to the league’s best netminder. Luongo ranks second in wins among NHL puckstoppers with 28. He has lost just 11 games. His .924 save percentage puts him 4th among all NHL goaltenders in that category.
Saturday’s game will be Boston’s toughest test of the season. It could also be a preview of this spring’s Stanley Cup Finals.
Bruins forwards will need to take advantage of every mistake the young, inexperienced, Canucks defense replacements make in order to come away with their fourth consecutive win on the current trip.
Win or lose, the Bruins will quickly learn that the road to the Stanley Cup, in the Western Conference, passes through Vancouver.
Check out http://thecanuckway.com/ for Fansided’s Larenzo’s take on the Vancouver Canucks.
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Topics: Anaheim Ducks, Atlanta Thrashers, Blake Wheeler, Boris Valabik, Boston, Boston Bruins, Calgary Flames, Canada, Chris Kelly, Daniel Sedin, Hart Memorial Trophy, Henrick Sedin, Kevin Bieksa, Kingston, Livonia, Mark Stuart, Michigan, Montreal Canadiens, National Hockey League, New York Islanders, NHL, Ontario, Ornskoldsvik, Ottawa Senators, Playoffs, Raymond Bourque, Rich Peverley, Roberto Luongo, Ryan Kesler, St. Lawrence University, Stanley Cup, Sweden, Tampa Bay Lightning, Tim Thomas, Tomas Kaberle, Vancouver, Vancouver Canucks, Vezina Trophy, Western Conference, Zdeno Chara