Bruins Beat: Bruins Return to Earth

As the saying goes, everything that goes up eventually comes back down…correct? Bruins fans can readily agree with that statement after seeing their team lose their last three games to Tampa, Florida and Carolina. Two of those games were lost by a single goal (one in overtime versus Florida), but nonetheless they now have lost three consecutive games, leading up to their meeting yesterday (Wednesday), when they took on the Toronto Maple Leafs. Toronto will be without the services of Auston Matthews who has been diagnosed as having a sprained knee, and not due back in the lineup for at least a couple of weeks. As of press time, the Leafs held the second spot in the Atlantic Division, and the third spot in the Eastern Conference standing, trailing the Bruins by eleven points (81-70) in both instances. The schedule likely plays some part in this occurrence, as was obvious in the lackluster play of the locals during their 4-1 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes, in another back-to-back game, albeit the Canes came in to that game riding a four-game win streak. In the Eastern Conference standings, Carolina has been at the top of their game of late, coasting to a record of 8-1-1 for their last ten games, and riding a six game winning streak. The Hurricanes are, and will continue to be, a team to be reckoned with by the Bruins, who led them by seven points in the conference standings at Wednesday’s press time.

With fatigue possibly being one of the factors in Boston’s suddenly not so good performances, they will need to suck it up and summon that drive from deep within and show the resilience their fans have come to enjoy during their drive to the top and a stunning record of 38-7-5. One of the more noticeable deficiencies lately, was the team’s suddenly powerless power play. A glaring example being their power outage that existed in their recent games with both Tampa and Carolina that saw the Bruins make no connections on 12 extra-man chances. Needing only 19 points to reach the century mark (100 points), their priority will be on nailing down the top spot in order to have home ice advantage for every round of the playoffs. Following the All-Star Game weekend, Friday, February 3 – Skills Contest, and Saturday, February 4 – the All-Star Game, the Bruins will begin the All-Star break, with no regular season games scheduled for nine days. The Atlantic Division will have David Pastrnak representing the Bruins, and head coach Jim Montgomery behind the bench. Boston will return to TD Garden ice to face the Washington Capitals on Saturday, February 11 at 3:30pm. If fatigue was a factor, this lengthy break may be just what the Bruins needed to get their game back up to speed. On the plus side is the likely return following the break, of Bruins forward Jake DeBrusk.

During the NHL break, the 70th Annual Beanpot, now hosted for the first time by Dunkin’, will occupy the Garden ice on Monday, February 6 and 13. Boston College will face Harvard in the first game starting at 5:00pm, with Boston University opposing Northeastern in a scheduled 8:00pm start for the second game. The following week will feature the Consolation Game at 4:30pm, and the Championship Game at 7:30. In a very classy move, the Beanpot Committee announced that Boston Bruins defenseman Matt Grzelcyk has been selected as the 2023 Beanpot Hall of Fame inductee. In a first for the Beanpot Hall of Fame, Grzelcyk’s father, John Grzelcyk, will also be inducted into the Hall of Fame for 2023. John has been a member of TD Garden’s bullgang, for 55 years. He has seen many talented hockey players on and off the ice, but watching his son score the game-winning goal in 2015 during the Beanpot is easily one of his top three favorite moments, along with Grzelcyk joining the Boston Bruins. Matt played four seasons with Boston University from 2012-16. In that time he made three appearances in the Beanpot Tournament, most notably, as mentioned above, in 2015 when he was named the Beanpot MVP after scoring the game-winning goal of the championship game. The goal, his second of the game against Northeastern, captured Boston University’s 30th Beanpot Championship title and first since 2009. The Charlestown, Massachusetts natives will be presented their awards during a ceremony in between semifinal games on Monday, February 6, at TD Garden. 

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