Let’s learn about the Boston Bruins!
Two years ago I got my best friend, Josh Strate, into NHL hockey. Josh is from Canton, NY which is not far from Potsdam and very far from NHL hockey. Josh, along with every other kid from Canton, grew up watching St. Lawerence University and Clarkson University do battle on the ice. St. Lawerence has seen some great hockey players grace its ice, including Boston Bruins forward Rich Peverly.
During our Freshman year of college, Josh and I watched the Sabres duck out in the first round of the playoffs to the Bruins. After that series Josh was hooked. The next season he began following the Sabres with me during pretty much every game. Despite my efforts to make Josh a full time Sabres fan, he decided that he wanted a team of his own. Unfortunately, Josh picked the Bruins. I couldn’t be mad at him because he didn’t really know that the Sabres and B’s don’t get along. Long story short, Josh spent the year learning all about the Bruins and was rewarded at the end of the season with a Stanley Cup victory.
Three days ago Josh told me he wanted to contribute to The Ruff Writers somehow. We decided that a game preview would be best. Consider this your opportunity to learn all about who’s who for the Boston Bruins before the game tonight. Without further hubub, I present Josh Strate’s Boston Bruins game preview. Pay attention, you could learn a thing or two. Hit the jump to see what Josh had to say.
Josh Strate: Anyone who’s played a sport knows when you’re on fire you’re hesitant to be put out. That goes twofold for the Boston Bruins. The B’s have won 9 consecutive games outscoring opponents 46 to 14, scoring no less than 6 goals in five of those games and only under 4 goals twice. Since bringing themselves back from a 3-7-0 October, the Bruins have found that same heart that led them to victory during the Stanley Cup playoffs. That heart has taken them from last to first in the Northeast division and to third in the Eastern Conference.
The Bruins are going to be cautious to give up this streak, especially to the Sabres. Boston is coming off of a tight win against the Montreal Canadiens in a brutal game on both ends. That being said, the B’s are ready to battle and bash with bodies against Buffalo and are going to be standing their ground against a team anxious for payback. The Bruins are going to come into this game ready to show they are more than willing to dish out what was served to goaltender Ryan Miller. They’ll do this to an extent, of course, as this is going to be a heavily watched game.
There are two Boston players I expect to come out hot: Tim Thomas and Andrew Ference. Thomas has back to back shutouts, one against the Canadiens and one against the Islanders for a total of 56 saves between the two games. Despite Boston putting up 6 goals against the Islander’s on Saturday, the team’s forwards have been flaky. Thomas, however, has been stronger than ever to keep the team on top. After what might have arguably been one of his best games on Monday, I expect Thomas to once again stand on his head.
Ference has back to back games with a goals. He scored one during Saturday’s game against the Islander’s and netted the only goal of Monday’s game against the Canadiens (which ended Carey Price’s shutout streak). This also stems from the forwards’ lack of goal scoring.
Dennis Seidenberg has been cranking out some pretty impressive defense work which is more than we can say about clumsy Zdeno Chara who has become too comfortable turning over the puck in the defensive zone. Luckily for him all of those turnovers are “phew!” moments, turning over the puck and barely correcting his mistake before it’s too late. I think we can expect more impressive work from Seidenberg in this coming game.
I’m expecting the dream duo of Marchand and Seguin, two of the Bruin’s best puck handlers and skaters, to come up with something in this game. Seguin is scoreless in the last four games and Marchand is equally guilty of not doing anything too impressive. That being said, both of these forwards are overdue. With Weber and Myers out I expect the duo to put up something before the ever-so-feisty Marchand potentially gets penalized or thrown out of the game.
Maybe this game will be the game for Bergeron and Horton to step out and say “it’s time to start scoring goals again”.
– Josh Strate
Now it’s my turn. The biggest thing that Josh mentioned for the Bruins that scares me is the tandem of Seguin and Marchand. As he pointed out, losing Myers and Weber are a huge blow to stopping these two quick forwards. Seguin was unstoppable early in the season and has majorly slowed down as of late. Players love to find their groove against the Sabres and I have nightmares of a Seguin hat trick while the depleted defense pussyfoots around.
Scoring from the Sabres is going to have to come from unusual places tonight. When the Sabres get out muscled and pushed around, the core basically disappears. Guys like Gerbe, Leino, Ellis and Boyes will have to get on the board for the Sabres to succeed. The crutch that is Roy, Vanek and Pominville (which is a hardly a crutch) likely won’t be around tonight. Vanek opened the scoring last time these teams met. As soon as things got intense, however, the core was no where to be seen on the stat sheet. I expect the soft Sabres to get out muscled tonight while our depth and specialty players get it done on the score sheet.
Tim Thomas is in goal for the Bruins tonight. “My Name Is” Jhonas Enroth is kickin’ it between the pipes for the Blue and Gold. Puck drops at 7:00.