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Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Bruins Return to TD Garden, Pick Up 2 More Points vs. Hapless Flames

The first home game after a long road trip can usually be termed a trap game, that is unless you find yourselves facing a shitbag team like the Flames. Then the physical and mental fatigue doesn't seem to affect you quite as much. Boston was coming off a 3-1 road trip in Toronto and Western Canada and they bounced back from a 6-2 pounding in Vancouver on Saturday to shut out the Flames 2-0 tonight at TD Garden.

Tuukka Rask (17-8-2) was called on to make 21 saves but I honestly can't remember too many tricky ones for his third shutout of the season. I'd be surprised if he's not Finland's starting goaltender at the upcoming Sochi Olympics and a Vezina trophy finalist (like he should have been last year) in the spring. Name me a better goaltender in the NHL, I'm waiting.

With so many injuries and numerous Providence Bruins getting action up here, Boston (23-9-2) has counted on its stars more than ever to carry them before the varsity is back in Larry Lucchino terms. Captain Zdeno Chara delivered a tour-de-force this evening with a pair of power-play goals. At 7:38 of the second period, he one-timed a pass from David Krejci past good old Reto Berra (29 saves). Former Flames icon Jarome Iginla picked up his first career point against Calgary on Chara's bomb.

Big Z put it away with another power-play strike, this time at 3:19 of the third period. The script was changed a bit as he cleaned up the loose change in Berra's crease after Krejci had passed it to Iginla who threw it at the net. Chara's ninth goal of the season tied him with Reilly Smith and Patrice Bergeron for second on the team behind Milan Lucic (11). Most impressively, Chara is tied for the NHL lead in terms of goals by defensemen (Ottawa's Erik Karlsson). 66% (6 of 9) of Chara's tallies this season have come on the man advantage, a skill that head coach Claude Julien and Co. are finally taking advantage of more.

Get used to seeing plenty of garbage teams the next few weeks: Boston won't take on another fellow playoff team until January 7 in Anaheim. Between now and then, they have eight more contests against the Sisters of the Poor. Fittingly, that kicks off on Thursday (7, NESN) in Hell, I mean Buffalo against the worst team in the NHL-the Sabres (8-23-3). After that, Buffalo comes to Boston on Saturday (7, NESN). What a cakewalk, Merry Christmas/Happy New Year Bruins!

UPDATE 12/18: The Bruins called up D David Warsofsky and sent down Craig Cunningham and Kevan Miller back to Providence.

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