|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|
If you watched the first meeting between the Boston Bruins and the St. Louis Blues then you know the two teams play each other like two heavyweight contenders trading haymakers. That first meeting was on November 21, 2013. Since then not much has changed as both teams are still near the top of their respective conferences and virtually identical in all major statistical categories.
The big difference between the latest game and the one in 2013 is that the Bruins were without captain and star defenseman Zdeno Chara. Chara was in Sochi with the distinct honor of carrying the flag for his native Slovakia in the opening ceremony of the 2014 Winter Olympics.
With Chara out the Bruins defense was severely lacking in experience. The most experienced player for the game against the Blues was Johnny Boychuk with 297 games of NHL experience. The other five defensemen had a grand total of 225 games of NHL experience.
But, experience be damned, the Bruins were able to put up a good fight. Unlike the first game where the two teams traded goals in the first two periods only the Blues were able to put points on the board for two periods this time around. Despite the fact that Boston outshot and outhustled the Blues for most of the game they were unable to solve Jaroslav Halak and the Blues took a 2-0 lead into the third period.
It didn’t appear that Boston had a chance as they were 0-14 this season when it was down by two goals at any point in a game. The only thing the Bruins had on their side was the fact that St. Louis had blown three straight third-period leads.
Finally, in a span of a little over two minutes the Bruins figured out their offensive woes and David Krejci and Brad Marchand were able to tie the game up. The game would stay tied at two and for the first time this season Boston was able to secure points after trailing by two goals.
Momentum had swung in Boston’s favor but the past didn’t bode well for the future. Of the past 14 times these two teams had faced off, 8 had gone into overtime and the Blues had emerged victorious in every one. However, the Bruins were the only team in the NHL yet to give up a goal in overtime.
Somebody was going to blink first in this game of chicken and unfortunately for Boston it was the Bruins. T.J. Oshie was able to sneak the puck between Tuukka Rask and the post in order to secure the two points and the right to call the Blues the first team to beat the Bruins in overtime.
The Bruins have one more game to right the ship before the official NHL Olympic break. On Saturday the Boston will take on the Ottawa Senators and again they will be without Chara. After that game Boston won’t return to the ice, as a team, until February 26th.