Boston Bruins on Paper: California Dreaming or Golden State nightmare?
"Find an excuse to let one of these off the chain, and I
personally guarantee you the bad guys won't even want to come out of
Robert Downey Jr.'s character was speaking of the Jericho Missile in the movie Iron Man,
then he launched one and all manner of holy hell broke loose - horrible
beatings, espionage, intrigue and, of course, in the end the good guys
Krug isn't some mythical super hero, but when he finds an excuse to let
one of his patented "Krug Missiles" off the chain, the bad guys
generally find themselves scrambling.
Only four Bruins
have taken more shots than the demure rookie blue liner, who ranks sixth
on the team in scoring, his two goals on Saturday night leading Boston
to a 4-1 win over the Winnipeg Jets at TD Garden, and also making him
the sixth Bruin to score double digit goals on the season.
is one of a trio of Bruins' defensemen whose shots elicit fear and
loathing from the opposition in the attacking zone, joining veterans
Zdeno "The Condor" Chara and Johnny "Rocket" Boychuk whose blue line
bombs leave nothing but a vapor trail and bruises in their wake.
win was the second straight for the Bruins, raising their record to
28-12-2, the 58 points good for a 4 point bulge for first place over the
Tampa Bay Lightning in the Atlantic Division and remaining within three
points of the Pittsburgh Penguins - who are running away with the
Metropolitan Division - for top spot in the Eastern Conference...
is important, given that Boston is about to engage in a swing through
California starting on Tuesday in Anaheim - a three-game gauntlet that
includes the Pacific Division leading Ducks, their cross-town rivals Los
Angeles Kings on Thursday and finishing up on Saturday in San Jose
against the Sharks.
What makes this Cali-stretch most
difficult is the fact that the teams have combined for only six
regulation losses on their home ice, with Los Angeles suffering five of
those. The Sharks are 15-1-3 in San Jose and the Ducks are a ridiculous
So, the Bruins have their work cut out for
them, as all three offer different challenges - but certainly are in no
position to dictate terms to the Boston, so long as the Big Bad Bruins
bring their physical game.
Anaheim is strong on both
ends of the ice, ranking #3 in the NHL in both shot accuracy and goals
scored, and defensively offer up the eighth rated defense in terms of
goals allowed - so there's little need for explanation for their 65
points which leads the Pacific Division and is just one point shy of the
Western Conference leading Chicago Blackhawks.
Kings lead all of the NHL in goals allowed and their goaltending is #2
in save percentage - and normally one would expect that with All World
stopper Jonathan Quick between the pipes, but this season it's been
mostly due to their backups as Quick has been on the IR since early
November with a grade-two groin sprain, but returned on Saturday night
to earn a 3-1 victory over San Jose...
sporting the fourth rated goals against average and lead the league in
shots on goal, but also have lost their sensational scoring rookie Tomas
Hertl for the rest of the regular season at least - so it is imperative
for the Bruins to bring their physical defensive game with them to the
west coast, along with the same 60 minute effort that helped them
flatten the Jets on Saturday afternoon to take advantage...
Krug breaking out of a personal-worst 11 game scoring skid couldn't
come at a better time - as well as the conclusion of tough-guy Shawn
Thornton's suspension, the 14th and 15th games of which are at Anaheim
and Los Angeles, respectively, meaning that he will rejoin the team in
San Jose - humbled, but hopefully rested and ready to lay some legal
licks on the slick skating Sharks.
But it doesn't end
there, as the three game whirlwind through the Golden State is just the
beginning of a stretch that sees the Bruins playing seven of nine on the
road, with trips to Dallas, Chicago, Philadelphia and the Island on the
itinerary before the Bruins get any extended home cooking.