Posted by: Adventures in Pucking | March 12, 2012

February wrapup

The shortest month of the year was still a busy one in the NHL, that’s for sure.

Our Teams

Krista: February was definitely a month that the Blackhawks would like to forget for the most part, I’m sure.

The first two and a half weeks were spent on the road, beginning in Edmonton. That was a flashback to November, when they whipped the boys 9-2; this time they managed score a few more goals for an 8-4 loss. Aside from the really bad defense, the talk of the night was Sam Gagner’s 8-point game (four goals, four assists). Good for him, awful for the Blackhawks.

On to Calgary the next night, and while the score was low, it was still bad. Michael Frolik’s double minor opened up the chance for Jay Bouwmeester to score on the power play, and that turned the tide of the game. Ugh.

After a bit of a break, the second leg of the road trip started in Denver with a 5-2 loss against the Colorado Avalanche. Another low-scoring affair on their part, and another case of the defense totally falling apart.

The Sharks were next, and while the boys lost 5-3, some good things did happen: Bryan Bickell netted his first goal since December, and Sami Lepisto got his first point (an assist) as a Blackhawk! Other than that, the terrible losing streak continued.

The Coyotes game…3-0. It was bad. Very, very bad. Let’s just leave it at that.

Another break before the very last leg of the road trip came with another loss, this time a 3-2 loss to the Nashville Predators (which is where the long, nightmarish losing streak began). It was the best effort they’d made on the road, but it was still for nothing.

But then they played the Rangers in Madison Square Garden…and like magic, the nine-game losing streak was broken with a 4-2 win. All four goals were sunk in the first ten minutes of the game, and the boys held them to two measly goals total. Everything was solid that night, and I cried tears of joy.

The game against the Blue Jackets was a win as usual (6-1 to be exact), and as usual Viktor Stalberg scored a goal – his eighth in five games. It also marked Sami’s first goal as a Blackhawk and his first goal in over a year! He’d made a bad turnover that led to the only Jackets goal, and after being benched as punishment, he atoned for his sin by scoring. It also marked the most lopsided fight I’d ever seen, a scrap between John Scott and Derek Dorsett.

It was good to come home again, especially when the boys beat the St. Louis Blues 3-1. It was especially nice to see Corey Crawford get his mojo back in net, Duncan Keith and Dave Bolland each score a goal and Scotty show Ryan Reaves what happens when you hit a man when he’s down.

The good news on my birthday: the boys beat the Detroit Red Wings 2-1. The bad news: it would be the first game out of an unknown number that Jonathan Toews would miss due to an upper-body injury that’s suspected to be a concussion. But Marcus Kruger, our baby Swede, potted his first game-winning goal!

The Dallas Stars came calling, and despite a valiant effort by the boys they lost 3-1. Corey had another good game in spite of the fact that no one kept him from being screened.

The next two games were out in California: the Kings demolished us 4-0, and the Ducks beat us 3-1. The lowest part of the trip was that neither Toewsbot nor Niklas Hjalmarsson went with the team; Hammer had been out previously with a concussion and had a setback after the Dallas game. The only bright spot? Patrick Kane scored the first goal of the Ducks game. While that wouldn’t normally be anything to cheer, it was a power play goal, and the team hadn’t scored a PP goal in 39 chances.

Speaking of Kaner, he was in fine form for the last game of the month, a home game against the Toronto Maple Leafs. The boys won 5-4, and Kaner not only had a goal and an assist on the first of Marian Hossa’s two goals but centered the first line in Toewsbot’s absence. The game also marked the debut of Johnny Oduya as a Blackhawk after he was traded (rescued)  from Winnipeg for two future draft picks, and it saw the return of Andrew Shaw, who netted the first Blackhawks goal of the game.

The boys ended the month with a 5-9-0 record, but the end of the month showed some promise. Could this be our March 2010? I hope so.

Emma: Yeah, the Bruins’ February wasn’t so great either. There are a lot of ups and downs. Please take mood stabilizers as necessary.

The month began with a 3-0 shutout against the Carolina Hurricanes. For the first time since they were in Hartford, the Hurricanes swept their four-game series against the Bruins. (Also I had terrible stomach cramps that night and watching the game actually made them worse.)

They did manage to score a goal against the Pittsburgh Penguins, but lost 2-1 at home. Weirdly enough, that one goal? Scored by Joe Corvo.

On NBC, the Bruins won 4-1 versus the Washington Capitals. Milan Lucic, Brad Marchand and Tyler Seguin all scored, with Rich Peverley adding an empty-net goal for good measure. Due to Nathan Horton‘s continued absence, Claude Julien started experimenting with the forward lines.

Then, it was the most egregious loss of the season so far for the Bruins. Actually, one of the most egregious losses in a few years. The Buffalo Sabres shut them out 6-0. It was just a bad night all around.

The Bruins took on the Nashville Predators for their only regular season meeting. (Fun fact: the Bruins and Predators have never made a trade with each other.) Lucic was a miracle worker when he untied the game with less than a minute in the third, leading to a Boston shootout victory, 4-3.

Ouch, another shutout, this time 3-0 against the New York Rangers on Valentine’s Day. What a heartbreaker.

Now it was up to Montreal to meet our most hated rivals, the Montreal Canadiens. The Bruins won 4-3 in a shootout, Benoit Pouliot scored against his old team, NBC Sports Network didn’t cut away when a fight was starting, there were a few mistakes, Peverley injured his MCL…definitely a mixed bag.

In their final regular-season meeting with the Winnipeg Jets, the Bruins dropped the decision 4-2. Jordan Caron and David Krejci scored, but it wasn’t enough, although Bruins fans were relieved to see the end of this series.

Hockey Day in America–happy hockey-versary to Krista!–wasn’t great for the Bs as they lost 2-0 to the Minnesota Wild. Niklas Backstrom was absolutely on fire. (The Bruins have a depressing tendency lately to make goalies have a career-defining game.)

After those two losses in a row, the Bruins needed some energy. They got it in a 4-2 win against the St. Louis Blues. Marc Savard predicted the outcome, Shawn Thornton played through illness, Marchand scored twice, Lucic had a goal and so did Chris Kelly for the win.

Back to Buffalo to see the Sabres again. This time the Bruins were not as humiliated, but they did lose 2-1 in the shootout.

In a very hectic, dramatic game against the Ottawa Senators, Patrice Bergeron scored twice, Marchand scored, Carter Camper had his first NHL goal, Krejci had one too and the rivalry between the two division-mates grew stronger. The Bruins got a 5-3 victory and the promise of a rematch to end the month.

But the rematch wasn’t great. Ottawa bested Boston 1-0 at home.

So, February wasn’t grand. Here’s hoping March will be better!

Fantasy

Erin continues her dominance of the main fantasy standings! Here are some new records made in February: Erin’s team had eight goals in one day on Feb. 21. Nicole’s team, Erin’s team and my team all had goalies get a shutout at three different times of the month. As we approach the end of the regular season, I realize that on my team–this may or may not be true for others–I’m on track to play more games than the system allows. Nuts. I don’t know what happens when you exceed the limit, but that may start happening.

Schadenfreude Report

Time again for our monthly comparison of relocated teams (and the Thrashers) to the new Winnipeg Jets.

1980-81 Calgary Flames: 9-2-1

1995-96 Colorado Avalanche: 9-3-1

1996-97 Phoenix Coyotes: 6-7-0

1997-98 Carolina Hurricanes: 1-2-1 (due to the Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan)

2010-2011 Atlanta Thrashers: 2-7-2

2011-12 Winnipeg Jets: 7-5-2

Remember that shutout stat? Make that SEVEN shutouts for the mighty Jets. Yeah.

Etcetera

With the Bruins suddenly bedeviled by the injury bug–after spending much of the season relatively injury free–the team needed to fill some roster space at the trade deadline. They added veterans: Brian Rolston, Mike Mottau, Greg Zanon, two forwards and one defenseman, one with prior Bruins experience, one willing to take a puck to the teeth for the team and another who is excited to play in Boston even if he might get lost in the city.

Also, Carter Camper was a delight. Due to the trades, he was sent back down to Providence, although in his short time as a Bruin he did make some waves, including scoring his first goal on his first shot. A nice, good-hearted Jewish boy from Ohio who went to my parents’ alma mater? Here’s hoping he’s seen in Boston again in the future (if only because it’s hilarious when Andy Brickley says his name; “Cah-tah Cam-pah”).

The biggest news of the trade deadline wasn’t so much a trade but a non-trade. For weeks, all we’d heard was that Rick Nash was looking to leave the Columbus Blue Jackets. Come Deadline Day, we held our breath waiting to see if and when someone would bite…and no one did. But then Jackets GM Scott Howson revealed the secrets behind the whole story: Nash had wanted the trade for a month, and the New York Rangers had offered Brandon Dubinsky, several prospects and some draft picks to the Jackets…but Howson turned it all down. It seemed as though Howson telling the world about the deal was a case of him throwing Nash under the bus. At best, he’s making Nash’s exit from Ohio easier. At worst, he’s put his own neck on the line.


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