Bruins looking to grab as many wins as possible before Olympic break

Kevan Miller Bruins Ducks

Believe it or not, the Bruins are more than halfway through the 2013-14 regular season and there are 37 games remaining until the playoffs start in mid-April. Of more immediate urgency, Boston (29-14-2) has just 12 games (seven home, five away) left until the nearly three-week long break for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi (they’ll have five players heading to Russia). This important segment of the schedule begins Tuesday (7 p.m., NESN) with a very winnable game against the Maple Leafs (22-20-5), who had lost four games in a row before beating New Jersey 3-2 in a shootout on Sunday.

Last week was a very difficult one for the Bruins: they played three games in California against some of the top teams in not only the Western Conference but the NHL. Boston lost 5-2 in Anaheim on Tuesday and 4-2 in Los Angeles on Thursday. To lose in San Jose on Saturday wouldn’t have been disastrous but for a team with designs on earning a top seed in the Eastern Conference (they are currently second behind Pittsburgh and leading the Atlantic Division), another loss could have stung. Instead, the Bruins pulled out one of their better victories of the season, 1-0, against the Sharks who had only lost once in regulation at the SAP Center before that setback.


Tuukka Rask (22-11-2, .930 save percentage, 2.06 GAA) should never lack confidence since he is one of the top goaltenders in the world, but more than perhaps any other player on the Bruins, he needed a great performance like he turned in on Saturday, with 26 saves for his NHL-leading fifth shutout of the season. For the first time in 2013-14, he was scuffling having lost three of his last four starts, including giving up a season-high five goals against the Islanders on New Year’s Eve and against the Ducks. Still, with Rask probably starting for Finland at the Olympics and tied for third in the NHL in games started (36), the B’s have to find a way to not wear down their franchise goaltender before the games really matter in the spring.

Loui Eriksson (concussion) and Shawn Thornton (suspension) both returned in the Anaheim game after having missed the past 15 games for various reasons. With them back in the lineup, Boston gets more of the depth that they used to have before the endless amount of injuries the last few months. Justin Florek and Mark Fraser showed signs of being decent NHL players but now they are rightfully back in Providence where they can have more (ice) time to grow and develop. If he can stay healthy, a big if with two concussions already suffered this season, Eriksson needs to produce more to start to justify Boston’s trade to Dallas involving Tyler Seguin (21 goals, 20 assists) who predictably with a change of scenery has become the impact player that the Bruins always envisioned.

Follow Metro Boston Bruins beat writer Richard Slate on Twitter: @RichSlate


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
International

'Barack Obama cheats on Michelle' claims Japanese politician…

A senior Japanese politician has marred Barack Obama's official visit to Tokyo with bizarre claims that the President cheats on his wife Michelle. Kazuyuki Hamada,…

International

British Royal family devastated by freak NY death…

The British royals have been left devastated by the death of Mark Shand, younger brother of Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, after a freak fall in…

Local

DA: Homeless man severely beat by men in…

Two former college football players pleaded not guilty to the alleged severe beating of a homeless man in Allston earlier this year.

National

Hamas, Abbas's PLO announce reconciliation agreement

The Gaza-based Islamist group Hamas and President Mahmoud Abbas's Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) agreed on Wednesday to a unity pact.

Television

‘Survivor: Cagayan’ recap: Episode 9

It was only an hour-long episode, but there's a lot to cover this week. The drama of Survivor strikes again as the identity of the…

Going Out

Thursty: Revamped Audubon is back in action

Having been a long time fan of Trina's Starlite Lounge in Inman Square, one of my only complaints about the place is that there's only…

Entertainment

Here's what to do in Boston this weekend

MUSIC Huun Huur Tu Friday, 8 p.m. First Church in Cambridge 11 Garden St., Cambridge $28, 617-876-4275 www.worldmusic.org This group comes from the tiny nation…

Television

TV watch list, Wednesday, April 23: 'Suburgatory,' 'Modern…

'Suburgatory' The men of "Suburgatory" go camping and Tessa mentors a social outcast in a Miss Chatswin contest, which brings her, once again, into conflict…

NFL

2014 NFL Mock Draft: Updated, new April 24…

2014 NFL Mock Draft: Updated, new April 24 version

MLB

MLB video highlights: Red Sox top Yankees, 5-1

John Lackey shines, Pineda ejected in Red Sox win

NHL

Bruins - Red Wings Game 4 preview: Boston…

Bruins - Red Wings Game 4 preview: Boston greedy for more dominance

MLB

Fantasy baseball: Searching for early season prospects

It’s relatively rare for a mediocre 30-year-old hitter to suddenly go nuts offensively for 162 games. That’s why minor league prospects are so exciting.

Style

Pippa Middleton's Etsy pick: Golden Thread Jewelry

Get a look at the jewelry Pippa Middleton loves and find out how you can buy it too.

Parenting

What every parent needs to know to get…

Mom and author of "Small Talk," Tracey Blake, shares her five practical tips to help you develop your children's language skills.

Sex

Subway crush: Meet your soulmate on your commute

Read about a couple who has been 40 years after meeting on the train.

Tech

Happy birthday, Game Boy! The handheld console turns…

Nintendo's Game Boy turns 25 this week. To commemorate, we look at some of its better games, like "Tetris" and "The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening."