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Friday, January 20, 2017

"Apparently You Need to Score A Goal(s) to Win Hockey Games At Home, Who Knew?"-The Bruins


The Bruins (23-20-6) were shut out by the lowly Islanders (18-17-8) on Monday and they blew a pair of three-goal leads at Detroit (20-19-7) in Wednesday's crushing shootout loss so naturally they slinked home to TD Garden and lost 1-0 to the Blackhawks (29-14-5) this evening on Causeway Street. What made this loss even more rough (besides the fact that the Bruins were shut out in back-to-back home games for the first time since 2003) is that Chicago's Marian Hossa scored the game-winning goal with 1:26 left in regulation. Is that it for Claude Julien, the NHL's longest tenured head coach? It probably should be but judging by the way that he's skated by consecutive non-playoff appearances, he'll probably get an extension by the end of the weekend.

As usual, the Bruins had way more shot attempts (61-42) but that means little when you can't hit the broad side of a barn with a majority of said shots. The first period was a classic Boston fruitless frame from the last few seasons as they dominated (outshooting Chicago 17-6) but had nothing to show for it. Neither power play made an impact as Chicago was 0-for-3 and Boston was 0-for-2.

This was the end of a long road trip for the Blackhawks and you can bet that this proud team will be squarely in the Western Conference playoff mix this spring as they have been for the better part of the last decade. Corey Crawford had started the last five games so former University of Maine goaltender Scott Darling (12-4-2) made 30 saves for his second shutout of the season and fourth of his career. In the battle of Original Six rivals, Chicago notched its 42nd all-time shutout of Boston but only 12th here. More interesting, the Blackhawks' previous shutout in Boston was turned in by Tony Esposito on Jan. 17, 1970 (just 13 years before I was born).

If it feels like Boston has played an inordinate amount of one-goal games (10-8-6), you are correct my friend. This was the second time in this campaign that the B's dropped a 1-0 decision with the game-winning goal being allowed in the last two minutes of regulation (Nov. 17 vs. Minnesota). It certainly wasn't Tuukka Rask's fault (22-11-4), he made 21 saves and no goalie in the world would have stopped Hossa's sweet one-timer. People named Tanner Kero and Vinnie Hinostroza (which sound completely made up) had the assists on Hossa's 17th goal of the season.

The Bruins wasted a great defensive effort as they nullified the likes of Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, Artemi Panarin, etc. To not get at least a point from that contest seems cruel but somehow fitting with how this season has begun to circle the drain with three straight losses. Will we see any changes behind Boston's bench or on their roster by the next time that we see them on Sunday afternoon (3, NESN) at Pittsburgh (29-11-5)? Time will tell but look out for the Penguins who hung a TD & PAT at Carolina (21-17-7) tonight in a 7-1 whitewashing. The defending champs are an NHL-best 19-2-2 at PPG Paints Arena and they have scored the most goals (164) in the league. Haha maybe it'll be the old reverse lock for Claude and his boys?




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