Bruins Beat

Bruins weather the storm

It was a terrible week – that is, for the ‘Rask haters’ who suffered badly as Tuukka stepped up with yet more great performance in the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs. This week his latest victim was the Carolina Hurricanes, a team that was forecasted as a possible obstacle on the locals’ way to the Stanley Cup Finals. Last Thursday, in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals, he faced 31 shots and made 29 saves at the Bruins posted their first win with a 5-2 victory. Sunday, more of the same as he stopped 21 of 23 shots on the way to a 6-2 win. Tuesday night Rask once again stood on his head, having to stop 20 first period shots in what was a 36 shot night by the Hurricanes, stopping 35 of them while taking a three games to none margin with a 2-1 victory. His current playoff stats coming into tonight’s (Thursday) Game Four ECF are impressive, goals-against-average 1.96, save percentage .939.

Rask is, the guy leading the way in these playoffs, in 16 the games played he has faced 525 shots and saved 493. His solid play and confidence appears to have carried over to the entire Bruins roster. Evidence of that can be seen in the play of Boston’s special teams, with the power play unit having found the back of the net five times in 12 opportunities in this third round. Stellar penalty killing has resulted in the Hurricanes only being able to dent Rask’s armor just once in a dozen power play tries. Scoring-wise, Brad Marchand has notched two game-winning goals thus far in the playoffs, and is playing at a point-per-game pace (16 points in 16 games). Tuesday’s game was number 100 in Marchand’s playoff career. Additional playoff point producers include, David Krejci (13), Charlie Coyle (12), David Pastrnak (12), Torey Krug (11), and Patrice Bergeron with ten points and two game-winners. Brandon Carlo remains the only Bs player to yet score a goal in these playoffs – but he has contributed superbly via his play on defense.

The Bruins are riding a six-game win streak that will be thoroughly tested, as the ‘Canes are now facing elimination in Game Four tonight (Thursday). Circle the wagons as this proud Carolina team will pull out all the stops in an attempt to post their first win, and avoid the humiliation of elimination, thus delaying the Bruins’ participation in their 20th Stanley Cup Final. A matter of concern is the fate of Chris Wagner who scored Boston’s first goal of the game, when he blocked a slap shot with his right arm or wrist in the third period. Wagner is a crucial part of the fourth line with Sean Kuraly and Joakim Nordstrom that has created havoc for opposing teams throughout these playoffs. While coach Cassidy had no definitive answers on the Wagner injury following the game, the injury had all the appearances of being ‘severe.’

Following tonight’s game in Carolina, the remaining playoff schedule if necessary for Round Three, has the Bruins returning to Garden ice Saturday at 7:15pm for Game Five (if necessary), Game Six (if necessary) would be Monday at 8:00pm, back in Carolina, and Game Seven (if necessary), is scheduled for TD Garden, Wednesday at 8:00pm. Boston’s dominance thus far suggests that Round Three will not be a seven-game series, but one must always be prepared for the many possible situations.

Emerging from the Eastern Conference Finals victorious, will allow the Bruins to face either the San Jose Sharks or the St. Louis Blues for the 2019 Stanley Cup. At press time the Western Conference Finals between the San Jose Sharks and St. Louis Blues, are tied at one game apiece. The remaining schedule for the WCF is: Game Three – Wednesday (yesterday) 5/15 and Game Four – Friday 5/17 in St. Louis, Game Five –  Sunday 5/19 in San Jose, Game Six (if necessary) Tuesday 5/21 in St. Louis and Game Seven (if necessary) will be played in San Jose.

The Bruins, earlier this week unveiled JetBlue’s “Bear Force One,” part of JetBlue’s Boston Bruins themed livery, the newly branded A320 aircraft was unveiled at Logan International Airport. “Bear Force One” appropriately made its first flight to Raleigh-Durham International Airport, where the Bruins were playing the Carolina Hurricanes. In attendance were Bruins president Cam Neely, the team mascot ‘Blades,’ along with members of Bruins office personnel.

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