Welcome back to the Adventures in Pucking Monthly Wrapup! Since so much goes on in the world of hockey, it’s nice to just take a moment at the end of the month (or, well, the beginning of the next one) and reflect on some things.
Emma: Do you believe in the magic of Movember? After the immense turnaround the Bruins had this month, I absolutely do. This time last month, we were in the Eastern Conference basement. Now we’re staring down Pittsburgh for the top of the conference. Never again will I disparage facial hair.
The magic began on Nov. 2 when we snapped a six-game Senators winning streak and, not knowing at the time, began our own 10-game winning streak. In a 5-3 win, there was scoring depth as 12 different men of the Spoked B notched points. Daniel Paille also scored on a breakaway, showing that it is possible for a Pie-yay breakaway to go well.
The Bruins then visited Toronto, general home area of many Bruins (hey, I often say I’m from Atlanta though Decatur is ten miles east; it’s still part of the greater metro area), for one truly standout game. In a resounding 7-0 victory, Tyler Seguin got his first hat trick in front of his family and the “ba-boom, ba-boom, ba-boom” saying from Jack Edwards was exemplified in three different instances of quick back-to-back goals.
We came home for a thoroughly unusual game against the Islanders, a team I also like. While I was happy we won 6-2, and that we showed we could win in front of Tuukka Rask, I still felt a little conflicted. However, this game marked the beginning of a new Bruins tradition: Marc Savard making Twitter predictions. He correctly predicted goals by Milan Lucic and Nathan Horton, adding in a prediction for “at least 5 straight wins…maybe more.” Sometimes his tweets break my heart, sometimes they uplift me, but I always look forward to his predictions.
Again we faced a team I also like, the Oilers. We beat them 6-3, earning another W for Tuuk and improving our power play past the point of being time for a bathroom or snack break to something worth watching. Again, though, I had conflicted feelings!
In a game featuring the surprise reunion of a soldier home on leave with his Bruins-fan parents, the Bruins decided they needed to win one for the troops. So they did, 6-2 against Buffalo, the third game in a row in which we won by six points. The Chaperone Line continued to shine and the Milan Lucic-Ryan Miller incident happened.
I didn’t realize this until later, but we won by six in three consecutive games before taking on the Devils. Coincidence? Well, this victory was a more hard-fought 4-3 in a big physical game that even featured a Shawn Thornton goal.
The Bruins didn’t listen to me when I said they shouldn’t treat their meeting with Columbus like something where they don’t even have to try and they’ll win 17-0. They did, so we had to fight really hard just to score once and then had to win in a nerve-wracking shootout, 2-1. This game completed a perfect five-game home stand and Edwards advised us that “Life is uncertain. Eat dessert first.”
More existential fan angst as the Bruins went to Long Island to see the Islanders again. Because of the close proximity of the two teams (Vicky’s flight from Long Island to Boston took less time than some of my college class sessions), many Bruins fans were there and honestly it felt more like a home game at times. Our 6-0 win gave me lots of feelings, including happiness at a Patrice Bergeron goal.
Up in the Bell Center, the Bruins fought very hard to win 1-0 against the Canadiens after two bad October meetings. We took the top of the division and came in second to Pittsburgh. That same night, something big happened in Pittsburgh: they welcomed back Sidney Crosby. Good for them!
For the first time since the aforementioned Miller incident, the Bruins visited Buffalo. Lucic was booed roundly when he took his first shift and easily took down Paul Gaustad to hopefully finally put that whole incident to bed. Don’t poke the bear! We had to win it in a shootout, but we won 4-3.
In what is hopefully the first of many Black Friday Showdowns, Boston took on Detroit for our only meeting this season. They snapped our win streak with a 3-2 shootout victory, but since we didn’t lose in regulation, that gave us the ability to say November 2011 had no regulation losses at all.
I used just a tad bit of alcohol to help me cope with the Bruins’ first meeting with the Jets this year, a 4-2 win at home. Honestly, it’s better to have snapped a win streak against Detroit than possibly against Failapeg, and this game was like the weirdest high school reunion ever, but I am still glad we won. We saw more of Chris Kelly‘s scoring prowess–it’s no wonder he shares the second A.
Finally, we finished November with another visit to Toronto as half of a home-and-home. While this game was not as epic as our last meeting at the ACC, a 6-3 victory is still nothing to scoff at, I say, especially when the sometimes inconsistent top line kept scoring and scoring!
I hope December is also a good month for the Black and Gold. This month, they take on Toronto, Pittsburgh, Failapeg (in their barn, ugh), Florida, Columbus, Los Angeles (on my birthday), Ottawa, Philadelphia, Montreal, Florida again, Phoenix and Dallas on New Year’s Eve. This should be fun!
Krista: Just as the Bruins slumped in October and surged in November, the Blackhawks did the opposite, ending with a November record of 7-6-1.
The boys began the month on their Father’s Trip, where they took their dads with them to Florida for some bonding and a couple of games. The first was a nailbiter against the Florida Panthers that ended in a shootout, but in the end Patrick Kane sank a beauty of a shot behind Jakub Markstrom to seal the win. The next night saw them fall to the Tampa Bay Lightning, and they went home to Chicago not only with a split but some quality father-son time under their belts.
The losses continued with one at home against the Vancouver Canucks and a shutout on the road against the St. Louis Blues. But they rallied and beat the Columbus Blue Jackets, which began a little win streak with victories against the Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers.
Then came the annual Circus Trip, so named because Ringling Brothers takes over United Center for two weeks, sending the team on the road. They began the trip in Vancouver, where they avenged the nasty loss at home by beating the Canucks 5-1. Notably absent from that game was Roberto Luongo, who was nursing a groin injury (or maybe suffering from a case of “Please Don’t Score On Me” nerves).
It was also in this first game that Brent Seabrook slammed into the boards funny and hurt his leg. He eventually came back for the back half of the trip, but it was like we couldn’t function without him, as I’ll explain shortly.
You would think that after such a win, they’d ride that victory into Alberta and continue the streak – but they didn’t. The first loss was to the Flames, and while the 5-2 score wasn’t evil, the lack of defense was downright criminal. The next night promised to be a good game, as we’d beaten the Oilers at home and wanted to hand them a loss. That night also happened to be Kaner’s birthday, and what did he get as a present? An unsportsmanlike conduct penalty during a 9-2 loss. If I never hear the Oilers’ goal horn again, it’ll be too soon.
The second half of the trip started off badly with a 1-0 loss to the San Jose Sharks. I can’t blame the boys for not trying, because Antti Niemi was just a beast in net and used his knowledge of his former teammates to shut them down. After the Thanksgiving holiday and a few days to regroup, they came back from a two-point deficit to win against the Anaheim Ducks, thanks in large part to Jonathan Toews’ two points and Patrick Sharp’s hat trick. From there the boys beat the Los Angeles Kings and headed back home.
There’s an old hockey myth that says the first home game after a long road trip is always the toughest. Well, we fell into that hype in a big way with a loss to the Phoenix Coyotes. It was like they put everyone to sleep, even poor Corey Crawford in net, because they switched him out for Ray Emery. This led to a giant line change, switching Kaner back to right wing on the top line and putting Marcus Kruger at second line center.
Hopefully the reunion of Kane and Toews will be what the team needs going into December. With games against he New York Islanders, St. Louis, Phoenix, San Jose, Minnesota, Anaheim, Calgary, Pittsburgh (at Consol, wish I could be there!), Montreal, Columbus, Los Angeles and our arch-nemesis Detroit, I sure hope so.
Emma here. One day, I discovered that I could remove the Can’t Cut list from our league, since it’s a Custom League, which gives me lots of power as the commissioner. (Maybe too much. Muahahaha.) So, once I eliminated that, there was much rejoicing. Erin has been doing very well this month, holding the top position for the most part, although sometimes trading leads with Krista. Here are some new records!
Krista’s team had a really good night on November 25, scoring 8 goals, setting a single-day record.
Erin’s team notched 10 assists on November 5, tying the one-day record with Krista.
At three points, three teams set plus/minus records of +9: Vicky and Anna on November 5, Nicole on November 22.
No one’s beaten my team’s single-day penalty minutes record set on October 18, though.
Krista’s team did well at scoring on the power play on November 19, notching 8 points.
Two teams also made records for shorthanded points: Krista’s on November 12 and Nicole’s on November 19 with 2 each.
Taryn still holds the best shots on goal record from October 15.
Krista’s team got a single-day record for hits on November 25 with 25. Chippy!
Time to compare Winnipeg 2.0’s monthly record to the other relocated teams and our beloved Thrashers:
1997-98 Carolina Hurricanes: 7-5-1
1995-96 Colorado Avalanche: 8-2-3
1996-97 Phoenix Coyotes: 4-6-3
2010-11 Atlanta Thrashers: 8-5-1
2011-12 Winnipeg Jets: 5-5-3
It should be noted that while Ondrej Pavelec had a shutout this month with the Jets, he had two with the Thrashers, and that’s after returning to the ice a month after his awful ordeal at their home opener.
Surprisingly, Winnipeg isn’t bottoming out the Southeastern Plus division. Recently, Carolina has been doing that job–no wonder they hired a new coach. (Carolina has an ignominious -27 goal differential. Ouch. Meanwhile, the Bruins have a +31…not to brag…) But with the Jets sitting at 13th place in the conference and 24th overall, and the recent bout of musical coaches, I’d say Claude Noel should consider updating his resume. He might want to leave out that time he pulled Pavelec after two goals, though. Especially knowing that Randy Carlyle used to coach the awesomely-named Manitoba Moose (another casualty of relocation) and he’s won a Stanley Cup, they may want him.
One more bit of schadenfreude for us: we were happy to hear that Ben Maxwell was put on waivers and then snapped up by the Anaheim Ducks. Good for him!
Just as October was Hockey Fight Cancer Month (a cause very close to me [Krista] right now), November was renamed “Movember” and designated as the month to raise awareness of men’s health issues, particularly prostate cancer. To do this, players from all over the league grew mustaches and posted their pictures for donations. Some were creepy (Carey Price), some were atrocious (Cal Clutterbuck), and some were pretty much non-existent (Ryan Nugent-Hopkins). Our faves participated as well.
Here’s Patrick Kane on November 29. If you squint, you can see a very blond ‘stache there.
And here’s Patrice Bergeron, who was captain of the Bruins’ Movember team:
We’ve already touched upon the return of Sidney Crosby. The Pens are sitting pretty in the East, which may or may not be the result of his comeback.
Hey, let’s play a game called Musical Coaches! The steps are very easy:
- Fire Bruce Boudreau from his job as the coach of the Washington Capitals.
- Fire Randy Carlyle from his job as the coach of the Anaheim Ducks.
- Hire Bruce Boudreau as the new coach of the Anaheim Ducks.
Well, maybe not the last two, but those others are exactly what happened in the waning days of the month. In fact, Carlyle found out that he’d been fired about 40 minutes after the Ducks beat the Montreal Canadiens on November 30. At least he left Anaheim with a win (and a Stanley Cup).
– Emma and Krista