The Bruins take on the Florida Panthers tonight in TD Banknorth Garden. Florida is 7-10-4 and 5th in the Southeast Division and come in a little banged up. Todd Bertuzzi has been out with back issues and the team has lost four out of five.
However, veteran goalie Eddie Belfour is 4-4-2, a .903 sv % and a 2.80 GAA. That’s pretty respectable. Versus Boston Belfour is 17-7-3 with a .925 sv% and a 2.31 GAA -- that’s more than respectable.
Florida super center Olli Jokinen is 9-10-19. On top of those stats, Jokinen is 10-7-17 in 28 games in Boston. Again, pretty dang respectable.
On the other bench, Marc Savard
leads the Bruins with 22 points and 17 assists and Glen Murray is tops with 9 goals, 6 power play markers and a plus/minus rating of +9. Captain Zdeno Chara
has 32 penalty minutes.
Boston is 4th in the Northeast Division and 12th the Eastern Conference with 18 points -- just four points out of a tie with Washington for the 8th and final playoff spot.
By the way, the Bruins are 7th in Power Play success at 19.6%.
In his notes column, the Boston Herald’s
Stephen Harris had this to say about the B’s recent turnaround…The overall improvement is revealed in several statistical categories. Consider:
The Bruins went 2-5-1 in their first eight games; they are 6-2-1 since.
In the first nine games this season, the B’s scored 19 goals - an average of 2.11 per game that made winning very unlikely. In their last eight games, they have netted 29 goals for a 3.62 average, giving the B’s netminders a little bit of breathing room.
The B’s gave up 54 goals in their first 13 games (4.15 per game). In the last four games, they’ve allowed only eight goals.
The power play was a dreadful 4-for-37 in the opening seven games (10.8 percent). Since then, it’s gone 15-for-59 (25.4 percent).
The B’s were outshot in seven of the season’s first nine games. They’ve been outshot only once in their last eight outings.
Not bad, and thanks for the analysis, Steve.
And did anyone notice that the trade rumors have quieted down?
In any case, tonight will be a good test for the Black & Gold. They have something to prove tonight -- namely, that their recent success is not a fluke and that they can sustain their momentum through a variety of different opponents. And, let’s face it, until the team gets into the playoff picture nobody can be satisfied.
Off to the skate…more later.