Photo Credit: Joe Haggerty
The Boston Bruins enter today hanging onto the final wild card spot by three points with five games remaining. The team behind them the Tampa Bay Lighting has one more game left than the Bruins. The B’s have not made the playoffs in two seasons and have suffered disastrous collapses in both of those. As of late it looked like the Bruins were doomed to repeat that fate as they lost four straight from March 16th-23rd. Not only were they losing but the games were not particularly close and starting goaltender Tuukka Rask pulled himself from the game against the Lighting causing head coach Bruce Cassidy to call out his goaltender. Since that game that ended in a 6-3 loss to the Lighting this team has looked different.
After last night’s win the Bruins have won two straight and it all starts with the Bruins net minder Tuukka Rask. After the Lighting game many people criticized Rask and called him out for not showing up for big games. Last year Rask sat out the last game due to sickness with the season on the line. Rask reminded people last night why he is so crucial to the Bruins as he recorded his seventh shutout of the season in the Bruins 2-0 win over the Dallas Stars . In recent years the Bruins have struggled to find a capable backup to Rask meaning Rask has been forced to play more than he should. This has caused Tuukka to not be as fresh at the end of the season when the Bruins need him the most. Lately, Rask has been able to get that essential rest as since new coach Bruce Cassidy took over, Rask’s backup Anton Khudobin has not lost a start.
With the standings so close every game down the stretch is crucial for this team. If they miss the playoffs after collapsing for a third straight year there will be a lot of changes for this roster and management heading into next season. This team is trying to avoid that and after looking flat in their previous four games they look more determined than ever. The Bruins play in a city that expects excellence and in which every other team is annually making the playoffs. They are trying to avoid being the team that doesn’t and if they can continue to win over these final games then playoff hockey will return to Boston.
Written By: Jamie Gatlin
#Bruins #Boston #DallasStars