I'm not going to complain about the start times. My lovely Euro friends have already called me to the mat on them, so I will refrain from mentioning them. I swear I will.
Anyways, the Bruins are about to being the dreaded California road trip. If it was December or January, I wouldn't have a problem with this, but there's something about heading out west in March that makes me feel a little uneasy. Basically, I'm just not sure which team shows up so late at night. I guess logic would be that if they blow so hard during matinee games than they should be an unstoppable force when 10:30rolls around, right? I mean, maybe this team is constructed of sparkly vampires? Maybe they are just well rested, as Andrew Ference showed up while the team was on the plane yesterday:
I don't know what's better, the fact that Ference was looking at Lucic and thought "Hey, he looks like Sloth from the Goonies" or the face that Shawn Thornton is making in the background. I can't tell if Thornton is questioning what's going on or about to shit his pants. Either way, I love his guts. Also, kudos to Andrew Ference for being such a BAMF. Who knew that behind those dorky, thickly brimmed glasses made of hay and straw was a hilarious human being? Everyone, that's who.
So the team is resting well, apparently.
You know who isn't resting well right now? The San Jose Sharks. The past two years, the Sharks have made some noise in the playoffs but they've always been the bridesmaid, never the bride. In the 2009-2010playoffs, the Sharks made it to the Western Conference Finals before getting swept under the coral reef by the Blackhawks, who eventually won the Stanley Cup. Last season the Sharks found themselves in familiar territory. They once again made the Western Conference Finals and once again they were embarrassed, this time losing to the Canucks 4-1. We know how that Stanley Cup Final ended.
This season the Sharks are just trying to keep their heads above water (no pun intended) in terms of making the playoffs. They're currently sitting in 10th place, 2 points behind the Coyotes and Kings. Actually, if you check the Western Conference standings, the 7th through 12th place teams are fighting for those last two playoff spots.
Check out that dog fight out west. They all pretty much have played the same amount of games too. I love that Calgary is somehow still in the mix. And if you really want to play technicalities, Los Angeles couldjump into 3rd place because they are only a point behind Dallas in the Pacific Division. What is this madness?
But as you can see, San Jose is tanking. They are 3-4-3 in their last 10 games and and 3-5-3 in March. If you look at the Sharks' statistics, offensively they're middle of the pack (14th overall) in goals per game with 2.63. Defensively they're top 10 in the NHL, sitting at 10th overall with 2.55 goals allowed per game. So, basically, the Sharks are sitting at a 1:1 ratio in terms of scoring and allowing goals. In terms of special teams (PP and PK) San Jose is 4th in the NHL in power play success with 21%.
The crux of this squad seems to be their penalty kill. The Sharks couldn't kill a penalty if it was tied up and left in a dark room, Saw 1 style. They're bottom 3, 28th overall, on the PK with an awful 78.2% of penalties killed. You would think it wouldn't be that big of a deal considering that San Jose is 7th overall in the NHL in fewest penalty minutes, but apparently it's a huge concern. Especially given that the top 2teams in the NHL on the power play are Western Conference playoff teams (Nashville and Vancouver).
Take into account that the Bruins are riding a two game winning streak that basically saw them playing like it was November all over again. They played a tough, gritty game against the Flyers and pulled it out in the shootout and then they dominated the Leafs. Toronto Maple Leafs fans are still dialing 911, complaining about the assault and battery they witnessed that night.
The real question is when will Marty Turco ever play again? The real answer is probably never.
After the jump, maybe the Bruins can play Chief Brody...
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OTTAWA WATCH 2012
Welcome back to Ottawa Watch! Here are your current Northeast Division standings:
So the Bruins have a little breathing room, but not much. Here's the Senators' next game:
Next Game: March 23, 2012: at the Bell Centre for a tilt against the Canadiens.
Season Series vs. Montreal:
Goals For: 9
Goals Against: 13
Top 3 points vs. Montreal:
Filip Kuba: 1G, 3A, 4P
Jason Spezza: 2G, 2A, 4P
Erikk Karlsson: 1G, 3A, 4P
Goalies vs. Montreal:
Craig Anderson: 3GP, 1-2-0, 3.32 GAA, .882 SV%
Ben Bishop: 2GP, 1-0-1, 1.41 GAA, .925 SV%
Alex Auld: 1GP, 0-0-0, 3.16 GAA, .905 SV%
Puck Drop: 10:30pm EST
Radio: 98.5 The Sports Hub
Online Feeds: Here
Do You Know The Enemy?
Game Day Video
The trade of Jumbo Joe. Love it or hate it, it's a huge piece of Bruins history.