Boston Bruins Week in Review: Week 13
An Intense, Hard Week
That was possibly the most difficult, heart-wrenching week that the city of Boston has endured in a long, long time—a difficulty that extended to and included the Boston Bruins.
They were supposed to play at night on Patriot’s Day, a fun way to cap off a great holiday in the city, but then the terrible bombing happened at the Boston Marathon just hours before puck drop. The league, very wisely, chose to reschedule the game despite the season winding down because safety is a priority and, at the time, the suspects were still on the loose.
Therefore, the Bruins’ first game post-marathon was held on April 17 at home. By this time, much of the country had already started to show their support in many different forms and all of a sudden, a midweek game against another Northeast Division team, already scheduled to be on national TV, turned more important than ever.
This would be the first of two losses in Boston statement games. Rene Rancourt found himself too emotional to sing, so after 10 words of the national anthem, he decided to be the conductor as the sold-out TD Garden crowd sang for him. (They may have just started a new tradition of singalong anthems.) Daniel Paille and Chris Kelly scored, but then the Buffalo Sabres tied it right at the end of the third and won 3-2 in the shootout.
Then, for the second time in a week, a game was postponed due to the ongoing safety issue. April 19 was a peculiar day in Boston: everyone was told to shelter in place as a manhunt ensued for one of the two suspects, the public transportation was not running and having a game as ‘normal’ seemed rather unlikely indeed. This game, though, was rescheduled as a matinee the very next day.
The Pittsburgh Penguins dealt them another 3-2 loss in yet another weighty game, even though Brad Marchand and Tyler Seguin scored. Something needed to get better fast: the Bruins were on a four-game losing streak and in the midst of a fairly tight division.
They found a reason to make their fans smile on April 21, playing yet another matinee, this one against the last-place Florida Panthers. Tuukka Rask got his 15th career shutout, 3-0, as both the oldest (Jaromir Jagr) and the youngest (Dougie Hamilton) Bruin scored along with Marchand. The team then held a touching ceremony where each player gave the jersey off his back to someone involved with the marathon or the relief effort—police, firefighters, a doctor, runners, etc. That ceremony was even shown, in part, on NBC Nightly News!
Here’s a look back at a difficult, heavy week for the Bruins and for Boston.
First Game Back
A former member of the Sabres was the first to score in this first game back to normalcy, just five minutes after Rancourt had been emotionally unable to finish singing the anthem without the help of more than 17,000 people. Daniel Paille put the Bruins on the board, but the visitors answered with a tying goal before the end of the first. Then, Chris Kelly gave Boston a lead that they held almost, just almost long enough to earn two points. They were unable to do so and instead fell 3-2 in a shootout, a hard end to a big game. They did, however, clinch a playoff spot--finally.
As part of the fabric of the city, the Bruins have done an admirable job of giving back and helping after the tragedy.
In total, groups with interest in the Bruins have donated $250,000 to One Fund Boston, the official charitable arm formed by the mayor of Boston and the governor of Massachusetts.
There were 80 tickets donated to the game against the Sabres, all given to police, firefighters and EMTs who were brave in the aftermath of disaster.
Marchand will raffle off his suite for the first playoff game and all proceeds benefit the family of Martin Richard, the youngest victim of the bombing and an avid Bruins fan. Visit bruinsraffles.org if you would like to enter. Also, jerseys will be auctioned off from Bruins and Penguins to benefit One Fund--that's at nhlalumniraffles.org.
Every team that faced the Bruins this past week showed support for their fellow humans with patches, hats, shirts and so on. Florida even bought about 40 Boston Strong shirts from the pro shop.
Now the Philadelphia Flyers will donate 50/50 raffle funds to Boston relief efforts. Support has been absolutely solid from all over the league.
A Visit from Iginla
Jarome Iginla found himself roundly booed every time he touched the puck in his first game after his surprising trade to Pittsburgh. The Bruin-Who-Wasn't took on former Penguin Jaromir Jagr and his new crew in a Saturday matinee that didn't end well for the home team. Though the Bruins scored first--on the power play, to boot--they then seemed to lose their energy and allowed Pittsburgh to pull ahead with a pair of power play tallies after a Jussi Jokinen goal. Yes, in this game, the power play was a pattern, but not great for Boston as they lost 3-2.
The Shirts Off Their Backs
The youngblood, the greenhorn and the team-leading scorer all put up goals against the lowest-ranked team in the conference as Boston played its second matinee in as many days. Rask moved into a tie with Don Simmons for the 10th most shutouts in Bruins goaltending history, a goal was scored in each period and the Bruins paid tribute to the heroes of their city by giving the jerseys off their backs, a move sanctioned and supported by their season ticket holders. It was a wonderful touch and a great way to finish off a good game.