Boston Bruins: Facing Old Foes in Western Canada


With the Boston Bruins opening up a three game road trip on Wednesday night in Edmonton, they stare down the opportunity to add to their longest winning streak of the season.  The surging Bruins shot up the division standings in the second half of November by adding to their levels of energy and emotion, two aspects had a lot to do with their wins in Toronto and Detroit just before Thanksgiving.

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Those were two games where the talent on the roster alone wasn’t getting the job done.  Boston was vastly outplayed in Detroit, and ended up winning via solid goaltending and timely goal scoring from young players.  The emotion mustered in the third period and overtime of that game spilled over into the Black Friday matinee against the Rangers, where the B’s came full circle with everything they had been working towards during the first quarter of the season.

The Bruins shouldn’t have difficulty keeping up this level of play, or at least not this week.  The Bruins face the Edmonton Oilers, Calgary Flames, and Vancouver Canucks in the span of four days.  There should be sky high levels of emotion given that there are personal connections to each of these teams.

It will be the first time the B’s take on the Peter Chiarelli-led Oilers, whose defense should be exploited with ease by the Bruins third ranked offense.  The same goes for the game in Calgary, where former Bruin Dougie Hamilton awaits Boston’s arrival following their divorce last summer.  Calgary’s D ranks dead last in the NHL, and they sit second to last in the Pacific, ahead of only Edmonton.  And getting up to play against the still hated Vancouver Canucks shouldn’t be difficult.  That game gets chippy every year.  Vancouver should be tougher, but they struggle to close the door on teams in their battle to return to respectability, and it is certainly a game the Bruins should win.

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  • Even though the Vancouver contest is the second night of back-to-back games, I would expect the B’s to at least bring that snarl and high pressure style they brought against New York last week.  They couldn’t be entering a “three games in four nights” scenario in a more positive situation than they are in right now.  They’re coming off four days off and should be rested, and they’re riding a five game winning streak into a part of the schedule that features struggling opponents.

    That’s not to say a clean sweep of western Canada will be easy, but given the narrative of the recent history Boston has with these clubs, they should put up a much greater showing on their annual west coast trip than they did last year when they were swept in heartbreaking fashion by all three of them.  The February trip to Canada was a gut punch to a team that was treading water.  Here’s to hoping that changes this time around.

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