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Friday, December 27, 2013

Who Didn't Predict that Reilly Smith Would Lead the Bruins in Goals?

The Duck Boats aren't even being gassed up yet but you have to admit that the Bruins are playing really well at the end of 2013. They went into Christmas break by rolling 6-2 at Nashville on Monday then they came back tonight to paste Ottawa 5-0 at TD Garden. There are many reasons that Boston (26-10-2) is rolling, let's start with the obvious: Tuukka Rask (33 saves) is the best goaltender in the NHL, their power play is finally lethal (No. 5 in the league, goals in three straight games), they are unbeatable at home (8 wins in a row and 13-0-2 in their last 15) and Reilly Smith (team-leading 14 goals) has been incredible.

Did I miss anything? The Senators' (15-18-7) upset of Montreal in the first round of the playoffs last spring seems like a distant memory, same with their crazy regular season last year despite numerous injuries. Now with a full lineup, what are they? I don't know if it's good news or not that they get the Bruins again, tomorrow night (7, NESN) at Canadian Tire Centre. I haven't heard anybody talking about Paul MacLean being an incredible coach this season, funny how that works.

The ironic part about this blowout is that the B's actually started slow, getting outshot 15-5 in the first period and looking pretty listless. That turned around in the second when Jarome Iginla scored a power play goal at 16:29 from Milan Lucic and Torey Krug. However, Iginla's 11th goal of the season was the only goal of the frame though as Boston took a 1-0 lead into the third.

Oh right, the third. It had to be the best period of the season thus far for the Bruins who completely ran over the helpless Senators. David Krejci used some of his usual magic to be in the right place for a carom off the end boards 38 seconds into the third. His eighth goal of the season was assisted by Matt Bartkowski and Adam McQuaid.

Boston really pounded Ottawa in the last 10 minutes as Smith scored his pair of goals (7th game in a row that a Bruin has done that) 7:06 apart, his 13th and 14th of the season, then Marchand sent the crowd into a frenzy with a shorthanded tally with 27 seconds left. We want all the goals! His ninth of the season gave him a multiple-point night, he had an assist on one of Smith's goals and Patrice Bergeron notched helpers on both.

Everything could feel different in 24 hours if the Senators knock off the Atlantic Division leading Bruins but would you bet on Ottawa at the moment? It looks like Niklas Svedberg will make his NHL debut because he was called up from Providence today and served as Rask's backup. Finally, Dennis Seidenberg might have suffered a serious injury late in garbage time. Fingers crossed that it doesn't turn out to be as serious as it appeared. Bruins head coach Claude Julien already ruled the German out from tomorrow's contest.

UPDATE 12/28: David Warsofsky and Nick Johnson were recalled from Providence since Seidenberg and Carl Soderberg (who seemed to suffer a concussion last night) stayed back in Boston.

UPDATE 12/28: Devastating news for the Bruins as Seidenberg will miss the rest of the season with a torn ACL and MCL. You can't overstate the importance of their second best defenseman who always pairs with Zdeno Chara for a true shutdown line in the playoffs. Zach Trotman was called up from Providence and Svedberg went back to Providence (don't ask me why they brought him up?).

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