|Rob Gronkowski Cleared to Play for Patriots||Dustin Pedroia grants wish of 12-year old boy||2014 Patriots Offensive Line Preview: Solder, Mankins, Stork, Cannon, Vollmer||Bill Belichick Coaching Elsewhere? Albert Breer Stirs the Speculation Pot|
Well, all good things – Thanksgiving vacation, lipsmacking leftovers, and winning streaks – must end, right? Fortunately, some things start right back up again (alright, vacation and leftovers have a few weeks until Christmas), like the Boston Bruins’ (14-7-1, 29 points) winning streak, which is back at one and looking to rise with this week’s schedule. With their 10-0-1 run, the Bruins are in second place in the Northeast Division, trailing only the Toronto Maple Leafs by one point with two games in hand. What a change from last place…
The Bruins picked up their ninth and tenth consecutive wins by scraping by the Montréal Canadiens 1-0 and the Buffalo Sabres 4-3 (in a shootout), before finally seeing their winning streak snapped by the Detroit Red Wings on Black-&-Gold Friday. The 3-2 shootout loss was the Boston’s first loss in November, but the B’s returned the next night to come from behind and beat the Winnipeg Jets 4-2.
Tyler Seguin has been getting nearly all the love this column has to give this season and deservedly so. But, perhaps we’ve been overlooking a few players, notably Chris Kelly, who has 11 points in the last 12 games. He’s in a three-way tie for fourth in scoring for the team, with nine goals and seven assists and is second in the league with a +15, behind only Seguin (+19). [The league’s leading scorer, Phil Kessel (16-14-30) is +4, just for comparison.] Kelly’s two most recent goals came against Winnipeg, one of which was shorthanded, and proved to be the difference in the game.
16 points in 16 games, plus a decking of Robyn Regehr in defense of Brad Marchand? Yeah, that’ll do.
Saturday night’s win over Winnipeg was the 99th consecutive sellout at the TD Garden for the B’s. Number 100 could come this week and nearly two years to the day after their last less-than-capacity game (December 2, 2009 vs. Tampa Bay Lightning).
This might be a bit harsh after he scored the only shootout goal to beat the Buffalo Sabres last week, but he’s got a knack for stupid penalties: six PIMs against the Sabres? Elbowing against the Canadiens? We know the Bruins’ penalty kill is good, we don’t need more proof, Pouliot.
Anyone actually still have leftovers?
Be sure to buy your raffle tickets for a chance to win a Boston Bruins 2011 Stanley Cup Championship ring! All proceeds go to the Boston Bruins Foundation and NHL Alumni Association.
Don’t forget to vote your favorite Bruins into the 2012 NHL All-Star Game! While Seguin wasn’t selected as a candidate, be sure to write him in!
The Bruins only have two games this week (after last week’s four) and spend them both against the Toronto Maple Leafs (14-8-2, 30 points). While Toronto leads the Northeastern Division and is second in the Eastern Conference, they are only ahead of the B’s by one point and have played two games more. More importantly, Phil Kessel, despite leading the league in scoring, seems unable to even come close to beating his former team. In the team’s two previous meetings, the Bruins have won 6-2 and 7-0. The Maple Leafs are riding a three-game winning streak into Wednesday’s match-up and have seen the rise of Joffrey Lupul, who has 18 points in November’s 12 games. (He scored 11 points in 11 games in October, so we use the word “rise” to express going from good to great.)
Prediction: The B’s winning streak is at 3 before the Patriots beat the Colts on Sunday
Pittsburgh Penguin Sidney Crosby finally made his return to the ice and in four games has eight points (2-6-8). How long do you think before he passes Phil Kessel?… The league will speak with Max Pacioretty for his hit on Kris Letang that occurred on Saturday’s 3-2 Penguins victory over the Canadiens. The hit left Letang with a broken nose, but he returned to score the game-winner in overtime… The Washington Capitals fired head coach Bruce Boudreau Monday morning after his team’s downward spiral continued. The Caps started the season 7-0-0 before going 5-9-1. Boudreau was one of the most successful coaches of the last five years, but regular season success never translated to post-season glory for him, Alex Ovechkin, or the Capitals. Former Capital Dale Hunter will leave the London Knights of the OHL to become Washington’s new head coach.