With 30-goal scorer Jarome Iginla fresh out the door and the Bruins on an extended stint in the NHL Salary Cap Jail, it’s no surprise that much of the attention so far this offseason has been focused on how GM Peter Chiarelli will fill the gaps up front to ensure the black and gold remain contenders heading into the 2014-15 season. But while putting pucks in the net is a critical piece of the Stanley Cup puzzle, keeping them out of the net is just as important, and believe it or not Chiarelli and the B’s have another growing conundrum that requires some attention, and that’s who will man the team’s defensive blue line this year.
The Bruins currently have eight NHL-caliber defensemen – nine if you count the recently signed David Warsofsky – and probably seven spots to fill for the opening roster. Add to that the fact that one of those nine, budding star Torey Krug, still remains without a contract as a restricted free agent and you can see why Chiarelli has already said “I’ve got to do something” in regards to his current situation.
It was more of the same this week for the Boston Bruins, and boy is that ever a good thing. The Black and Gold rattled off three more wins to push their win streak to eight games, knocking off their rivals in Montreal on Wednesday before downing the Coyotes and Hurricanes respectively. With six additional points earned, Boston now sits in first place in the Eastern Conference once again, this time with a three point lead on the Pittsburgh Penguins (Pens do have one game in hand however). And how about their division lead you ask? Fifteen points now sit between the B’s and the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Looking to avoid a repeat of their meeting earlier this season, the Boston Bruins took care of business against a battered Vancouver Canucks team last night at TD Garden, earning a 3-1 victory with goals from Milan Lucic, Jarome Iginla and Daniel Paille. Tuukka Rask had a strong effort in goal stopping 27 of 28 shots he faced, and the Bruins now sit just five points behind the Pittsburgh Penguins for the top spot in the Eastern Conference with a game in hand.
It wasn’t an easy night for Brad Marchand. He seemed to be fighting the puck a little for much of the game, firing shots just wide of the net and then taking a bruising hit along the boards from Nashville defenseman Shea Weber in the third period for his trouble. But when it mattered most the scrappy Bruins winger stepped up, first putting an incredible fake on Predator forward Mike Fisher before ripping a wrist shot through the pads of goalie Marek Mazanec to score the game winning goal just 54 seconds into overtime, giving his team a 3-2 win and snapping a two game losing streak in the process. Bruin goalie Niklas Svedberg, fresh off yet another recall for Providence, got his first NHL win in his debut by stopping 33 Nashville shots.
You might not know it, but Johnny Boychuk isn’t all about killing goalies (sorry Robin Lehner) with slap shots or destroying opponents (too many to name) with bone-crushing body checks. He has a softer side, one that he uses to balance his on-ice aggression out when he’s off the ice. We got some spy shots of these peace-building activities.