During a recent episode of "Beyond Checkerdome", I referred to this road trip as a "shit sandwich". We have the two really good teams (Washington and Boston) straddling a pretty crappy Buffalo. Not a shocker then, that the Blues had trouble with Washington, but was able to take care of business with the Sabres. Now, we get to that top bun of the sandwich - the Boston Bruins. Is it a kaiser roll? Sesame seed bun? I don't know.
Much like a teenager just discovering puberty, the Blues just can't seem to stay away from "measuring sticks". The Blues didn't measure up to Tampa Bay or Washington, but they've handled Chicago and Pittsburgh pretty well. Tonight is another opportunity to see how we compare with the best teams in the league. That is exactly what Boston represents. A win tonight would give the Blues bandwagon some peace of mind.
Boston is currently on top of the Eastern Conference, a 14-6-1 record giving them 29 points so far. They've been strong at home (8-3-1) and are 7-2-1 in their last 10 games. They are currently riding a 2-game winning streak. Soooo... a strong team with momentum behind them. Stupendous. On Monday, they ruined Cam Ward's return to action by beating the Carolina Hurricanes 4-1. The following night, the Bruins ruined the return of Rick Nash by beating the Rangers 2-1. So, it suggests that we need to keep all injured players off the ice for at least one more game. Rest up, Berg-Dog. Take your time.
The story in Boston this year has been the outstanding performance of goalie Tuukka Rask. It's safe to say, the Bruins are feelin' satisfied with his trade from Toronto. He played in both of those back-to-back games, allowing only 2 goals on a combined 68 shots (44 of them in the second game). For the season, he's gone 12-5-1 with a 1.61 GAA and .946 save percentage. His dominance in net has carried the team, even when the team hasn't been scoring much. Despite playing 1 more game than St Louis, the Bruins have 4 fewer shots on goal, and 10 fewer goals than the Blues. They're also dealing with injuries, notably to defensemen Adam McQuaid and Dennis Seidenberg. Much like the Blues, the Bruins have their scoring in depth. They are led in goals and also points by Milan Lucic with 9G / 7A for 16 points. David Krejci is right behind with 16 points also (3G/ 13A). Torey Krug and Patrice Bergeron have 6 goals each. One of the more interesting matchups of the night will be in the faceoff circle: our own Vladimir Sobotka leads the league, winning 64.2% of his draws. Bergeron is third in the league, with a 59.5 % win rate. Also, it's been a long time since we've lost in Boston - January 30, 2001 in fact. Let's keep that streak going!
Final Verse: Once again, an early start: opening faceoff is at 6:00 PM St Louis time. The Game Day Thread will drop shortly ahead of the puck. The TV broadcast will be on Fox Sports MW, and the radio call will be on KMOX 1120 AM. Let's take these two points and wrap this road trip up on a high note. I hope Sobotka can remind them of what they're missing ...