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Sunday, February 9, 2014

Perfect Way to Head Into the Olympic Break: Bruins Embarass the Senators, 7-2

Only one team showed up to TD Garden this afternoon, or at least that's what you'd think if you saw the game or caught the final score. The Bruins (37-16-4) rolled over the Senators (26-22-11) 7-2 and it didn't even feel that close. Today was the final day of action for the NHL which now takes a break until February 26 because of the Sochi Olympics.

Chad Johnson (26 saves) won his fifth straight start to improve to 11-3-0. His emergence has been one of the more underrated subplots this season. For the first few months, he looked like a major liability (remember Niklas Svedberg got a start) but lately he's been excellent. Boston use to pick and choose his spots vs. the worst teams but these days, he's beaten good teams as well.

Obviously when you hang seven on an NHL team, the offense was the main story. The B's were relentless: scoring two goals in the first and second periods with three in the third. Zdeno Chara is already in Sochi (did you hear?) and Tuukka Rask got some rest but the other three Bruins headed to Russia had multiple points: Patrice Bergeron (2 goals, 1 assist), David Krejci (2 assists) and Loui Eriksson (2 assists). Jarome Iginla and Carl Soderberg also had a goal and assist while Reilly Smith added two assists. All that was missing for Boston was a goal by Matt Bartkowski (he doesn't have one yet this season).

It's hard to imagine the Senators playing much worse. They spotted the Bruins a 3-0 lead by the second period; Bobby Ryan cut it to 3-1 but Patrick Wiercioch's power play goal didn't come until it was 6-1 Boston in the third. The season series ended 2-2 with the Senators scoring eight goals in their two games at home but only two at TD Garden. The B's won both of their games at home by five goals (tied for the largest margin of victory by them this season).

There is only one more Bruins game in February: February 26 in Buffalo. Boston's next home game isn't until March 1 vs. Washington. Now excuse me while I go cry for weeks.

On a serious note: with all the issues surrounding Sochi, it feels like this will be the last time that the NHL allows its stars to compete in the Olympics. Therefore, you should pay extra close attention since this wonderful tournament could be the final one for all the big names. Go USA!

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