January 19,2013 was opening night for hockey across the NHL. Many of us watched the Boston Bruins return to the TD Garden with a 3-1 win over the New York Rangers, however else where in the NHL the Ottawa Senators took on the Winnipeg Jets at the MTS Centre in Downtown Winnipeg. The Ottawa Senators took it to the Jets and walked away with 2 points and a 4-1 win.
The Bruins fresh from their 3-1 win over the Rangers will face the Winnipeg Jets in Boston on January 21, 2013 and if they can carry the momentum from their home opener win over the Rangers, the Bruins will definitely be able to dispose of the Jets without any hassle. Last season, the Jets did prove a bothersome bunch for the Bruins. Boston was 2-2 against the Jets last season but the games did provide us with some memorable moments for the 2011-12 season, one of them being Shawn Thornton‘s amazing penalty shot goal as well as he and former teammate and friend Mark Stuart dropping the gloves in a spirited bout. Speaking of former Bruins, again we will come face to face with Stuart and Blake Wheeler. Wheeler set a new career high in points with the Jets recording 17-47 for 64 points and Stuart went 3-11 for 14 points, his best since 2008-09 when he posted 5-12 for 17 points (his career high).
Wheeler and Stuart have yet to prove that they could have been instrumental in that cup run had they not been traded, while Rich Peverly (who along with Boris Valabik was apart of the Wheeler / Stuart trade) proved himself in 2010-11 recording 12 points in 25 games and 2011-12 saw him score 42 points in a Bruins uniform. Peverly has done everything right in Boston and was definitely worth letting Blake Wheeler go, Valabik on the other hand would never play in Boston but opened a spot for getting Kaberle (which it’s still up in the air if that was even a trade worth making).
Tuukka Rask played phenomenal in the victory against the Rangers stopping 20 of 21 shots. Rask was 1-2 against the Jets last year, but with extra playing time under his belt this year and with an energized and healthy team in front of him I see no reason to worry about him in Monday’s game. Ondrej Pavalec played starter in the Jets home-opener loss against the Sens making 33 saves on 37 shots, with Norris winner Erik Karlsson , Chris Neil, Milan Michalek and Kyle Turris all adding even strength goals against the Jets. Tuukka Rask should have no problem out dueling Pavalec as well as keeping up his game and stoning the Jets forwards and defence.
The Bruins special teams again are half and half in terms of production. The penalty kill against the Rangers was terrific killing all Rangers power plays and a 5-on-3 , however the power play remains a struggling point for Boston. Last season the Bruins powerplay ranked 15th in the league at 17.31% , and again the Bruins struggled against the Rangers going 0-7 on the powerplay. The Bruins however were getting many more scoring chances on the powerplay then last year and definitely seemed more together than 2011-12, and with any luck it will improve from here.
The Bruins will take on the Jets starting at 1:00 pm (EST) in Boston, will the momentum carry us forward to take our divison and conference? Or will we have a long way to climb? Time will only tell.
Bruins win 4-0 , 100 % on the PK and a powerplay goal from a D-man. Supporting goals from first and third lines.