by Bob Morello
As the Record went to press last night the Bruins were taking on the St. Louis Blues at TD Garden. Boston was enjoying a two-day respite following their latest victory on Saturday, beating the Winnipeg Jets on Garden ice by a score of 4-1. Presently sitting in the third spot in the Atlantic Division, the Bs came into Tuesday nights game facing the Blues who were riding a three game win streak. With a total of 22 points thus far (11-7-0), Boston is looking to create a winning streak that will take them through the Thanksgiving holiday, and the end of the month, with a chance to close the eight-point gap between themselves and the division-leading Montreal Canadiens (30 points), or at least move tighter to second place Tampa Bay Lighting, holding a three point lead (25 points) over the Bs.
For Boston, the possible return of David Pastrnak from an upper-body injury that has kept him out of the previous two games, would be welcomed, as he is currently listed as day-to-day by coach Claude Julien, and is the team’s goal leader, having notched ten. With five victories in their last seven games, Boston is on a pretty even keel, despite scoring few goals; the team has showed their strength on defense and in goal. Tuukka Rask is supplying his team with some of the best goaltending efforts to date for him, having notched three shutouts to date. The defense is stepping up and giving the opponents fewer shots, certainly a combination that will produce positive results. In Boston’s win over Winnipeg on Saturday, they allowed the Jets a mere dozen shots in 60-minutes on Rask, and turned on their own scoring jets with three goals in the second period.
The Bruins will take to the road following Tuesday night’s game with St. Louis, as they’re off to battle the Ottawa Senators (5-4-1 last ten games – 21 points) in a Thanksgiving Day game (Thursday, 7:30pm), in which they hope to knock the stuffing out of the Senators. Back for a pair on Garden ice, Boston will host the Calgary Flames (4-6-0 last ten games – 17 points) on Friday, 7:30pm, in a brief homestand during which they will also host the Tampa Bay Lightning (6-3-1 last ten games – 25 points) in a Sunday matinee (1:00pm), before heading back out on the road to take on the Philadelphia Flyers (5-3-2 last ten games – 19 points) on Tuesday, 7:30pm.
Boston is looking forward to continuing their solid pace of excellent goaltending, tight defense, and play the style of hockey that has seen them earn a 7-3-0 record for their last ten games. It would also give their loyal fans something to be thankful for on Thursday (Thanksgiving), and the team the chance to maintain that previously elusive playoff spot. If there is any substance to the thinking of coach Claude Julien and Bruins president Cam Neely – that how the teams stack up on Thanksgiving, is a good indication of how they will finish in the final regular season standing next April, then for Boston fans… life is good. Happy Thanksgiving!