The Bruins can honestly say they were victims of circumstances. They don't like excuses, but Sunday night, they had a boatload of them.
The Bruins played inspired hockey in Edmonton Saturday night, battled to a hard fought overtime win, and then had to sit an extra forty minutes on a bus that had a dead battery. They simply couldn't get to the airport. By the time they did, flew to Vancouver, and bussed to the hotel, it was 2:30 am Pacific. That's 5:30 am on the East Coast body clocks.
I can empathize with these guys. I was discombobulated myself. I stunk on Sunday night's telecast, and I only had to talk about playing hockey. They had to skate. And that said, after coming out with flat feet and taking three penalties in the first seven minutes and falling behind early, the Bruins actually battled back. I was amazed they had a chance to win. Their fourth game in six nights came down to the final twenty minutes, tied 2-2.
Then the tough break: The eventual game winner was a fluke: the
Canucks scored on a shot that deflected off B's defenseman Brad Stuart's leg as he went down to block it. At that point, the wind started to come out of the sails. Fatigue penalties put Vancouver on the power play, and they, the team with the best home record in the NHL, put the game away. A good sign, after the game, the Bruins to a man honestly believed they still coulda, shoulda won.
The tougher break: Nick Boynton went out with what first appeared to be an ankle (turns out to be knee) injury midway through the first. The loss of this team leader who recently found his game was tough to handle. It threw the D depth out of whack, and piled minutes back onto guys who were tired and normally shouldn't see them. B's fans should pray this injury doesn't linger. It's a bit of adversity the team doesn't need, after seemingly finding the right mix.
Oh yeah: and the Bruins lost Sergei Samsonov prior to the game. He was sent home to Boston to have tests on some numbness in his hand(s) and arm(s). He had just begun to play his best all-around hockey of the season, and hustle factor was at an all-season high.
Today, another long day of travel to Denver after a lively, loose morning practice in BC. The fellas will get some rest prior to Wednesday night, acclimate, and I'd be shocked if a lively effort wasn't there. I'm convinced the shaky chemistry/confidence is behind this club (even with the injuries to Boynton and Samsonov). B's fans hope I'm right.