Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Bruins 4, Wild 1

The Bruins won their 9th straight Monday night against the Minnesota Wild in convincing fashion. Jarome Iginla scored twice. Loui Eriksson scored as well, and Reilly Smith scored his 19th of the season. Zdeno Chara had two assists.

Iginla has scored 25 goals this season, and as I think about his potential contributions in the upcoming playoffs, I can't help but imagine how much he might have helped the Bruins last year. When the B's faced the Blackhawks in the Stanley Cup Finals, they had run out of healthy and performing forwards. Iginla might have been the difference, or at least helped the Bruins force the series to 7 games. At least he's part of the team now.

Tuukka Rask made a couple of big saves in this game, much to Mikko Koivu's chagrin. Rask stopped 33 of 34. As part of this 9 game winning streak he's won 6 times, only allowing 9 goals (1.5 per game) with a save percentage of .947 (161 saves on 170 shots).

But the big story of the streak has been the offense. The B's have scored 36 goals in the last 9 games. If you've forgotten your multiplication tables, that's 4 goals per game.

One reason for the offensive success is the IKEA line of Loui Eriksson and Carl Soderberg. The two Swedish Fish combined for a goal Monday night and have combined for 5 goals in this streak. Not bad for the third line.

The top line has been leading the way. The aforementioned Iginla has scored 8 goals in this streak, including 5 in the last 3 games. David Krejci and Milan Lucic have each scored 3.

So 14 goals from the top line + 5 goals from the Swedish connection + contributions from everyone else + Rask playing well in net = 9 straight wins.

The Bruins now stand with 97 points, first in the Eastern Conference (5 points ahead of Pittsburgh), tied for the second best record in the NHL. With 14 games remaining, the Bruins have a 16 point lead over Tampa Bay and Montreal in the divisional race. The B's are 13 points away from clinching the division and home ice in the first two rounds. They're 7 points away from clinching a playoff spot.

They now embark on a weird road trip, playing in New Jersey Tuesday night, then Colorado on Friday and Phoenix on Saturday. The Bruins end the season with 15 games in 23 days, so clinching stuff will give them a chance to rest key players (Iginla, Chara, Rask) for the playoffs.

-The Captain

Photo Credit:
Charles Krupa/Associated Press


Anonymous said...

Hopefully they are not peaking to early. You are right; with division lead all but locked up, I really want to see a lot of our stars resting. Actually mainly Chara and Rask, possibly Iginla though I am hesitant to ice his recent hot streak.

Against teams like Buffalo, Florida, detoit, I really hope niether Rask or Chara are playing. If anything let them stay home

rob said...

With Chara you don't need to rest him, just play him less than 20 minutes.

Rest can be overrated. It's nice to give a day off or two, especially with the schedule being so packed. Especially for goalies.

We don't want well rested players, we want fresh players.