Monday, January 16, 2012
Peverley To Miss Next Two Games For The Bruins In The Sunshine State
I bet you didn't realize that Saturday's game in Carolina signaled the halfway point of the 2011-12 regular season for the Boston Bruins.
Yes it is true, the defending Stanley Cup champions begin the second half of the calendar with a particularly tough stretch. They play six games (five on the road) in nine days before getting a breather for the All-Star game in Ottawa.
Tonight, they visit the Florida Panthers-tied with the Capitals for 1st place in the Southeast Division-before going to Tampa Bay tomorrow night to take on the Lightning, the worst team in the Eastern Conference (look it up). From there, they'll travel to New Jersey for a game with the Devils on Thursday before finally playing the New York Rangers (first time this season between the Eastern Conference's two best teams) on Saturday afternoon at TD Garden.
The unofficial first half of the season concludes with a game in Philadelphia on Sunday afternoon (at the exact same time as the Patriots game) and then the B's go to Washington on Tuesday to face the Capitals. After that, they'll disperse and get almost a week off before their next contest-January 31 in Ottawa. The Senators have been playing great lately, believe it or not, they've pulled to within one point of the Bruins in the Northeast Divison.
In the here and now, Bruins winger Rich Peverley will miss the two games in Florida due to personal reasons. When I saw him mentioned on Twitter, I figured it was that pesky injury that nobody knows about (that has flared up at times already) but I felt bad when I realized he had to come back home to Boston to address what I can only assume is a family issue.
Zach Hamill will take Peverley's spot on the third line with Chris Kelly and Jordan Caron. Speaking of Caron, either him or Hamill will take a seat starting on Thursday since Brad Marchand returns on Thursday after his five-game suspension.
Finally, Tuukka Rask was the first goaltender off the ice today at the morning skate so he's expected to start in net for the B's. He got the shutout the last time the teams met on December 23, that 8-0 whitewashing of the Panthers. Tim Thomas should be the starter tomorrow night against the Lightning, a team he completely shutdown in the Eastern Conference finals last spring.