The Bruins headed to the Florida this past week to finish up their road trip by visiting the Florida Panthers and 1st place Tampa Bay Lightning.
The first stop was a trip to Sunrise to take on the Panthers. On paper the Bruins should have not had any issue with the swamp cats. However, the Panthers are fighting for their playoff lives and have been on a role lately winning 8 out of their last 12.
This game was a battle of the backup goalies, as Anton Khudobin and James Reimer each got the nod.
Now, I know that professional athletes say each game counts and we are not looking past our opponent, yada yada yada. However, this one felt like the Bruins were going through the motion waiting to get to Tampa. They didn’t play bad, they actually out shot the Panthers 46-28. It just didn’t seem like they were there. The Panther, however got the offense they needed from their big guns. In the end the lack luster B’s couldn’t get anything past Reimer and fell 3-0. It was the first meeting of the season between the two and they will play 3 more times between now and the end of the season. If the Panthers want to sneak into the playoffs they will need to beat the Bruins at least 2 more times.
Next stop was the Tampa Bay Lightning… the team the Bruins are chasing not only in the Atlantic Division, but for the the overall lead in the Eastern Conference. The Bruins went back to Tuukka and he did not let down. David Pastrnack scored early on a great pass from Torey Krug and that proved to be all the offense the team needed.
Tampa has arguably the best offense in the league with Nikita Kucherov and Steven Stamkos. Kucherov leads the NHL with 93 points and Stamkos is 5th with 84. Tuukka showed he is in fact back to elite status and can play with the big boys! After the W and another shutout the bruins were within 2 point of the Lightning….however, they played this afternoon and are back up to 4 points. Bruins still have 2 games in hand. Next two weeks should be interesting.
Bergeron and McAvoy, anytime you want to come back now…..
In other news the Bruins have signed Ryan Donato to a 2 way entry level contract. Donato is son of former Bruin and Harvard head coach Ted Donato. Ryan led harvard this season in goals and points. He also led USA Olympic team in points as well. Kid is legit and is eligible to play against Columbus Monday night.
I use to coach against Donato when he was in High School, and if that is any judge of talent I can say he is a stud!! If he could make my team look that bad Im sure the NHL would be no problem!!