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Monday, February 23, 2009

Did the Boston Bruins peak too early?

With last night's 4-3 loss to the god-awful Tampa Bay Lightning, the Boston Bruins wrapped up their shit the bed tour with a 1-3-1 record.

For anyone that has watched this team all season, it's clear that a change has to be made. The trade deadline is next week and the B's desperately an experienced veteran forward and a puck-moving defenseman, is that too much to ask?

It's hard to pinpoint exactly where this season started to turn but the Bruins of the last month have barely resembled the world-beaters of the season's first few months.

There's no energy and the goal-scoring that seemed to come at will has almost completely dried up.

Sure it's not all doom and gloom as Boston (40-12-8) still sits on top of the Eastern Conference, seven points ahead of the Capitals but we don't want to see this team choke in the first round of the playoffs. Right now, that looks like a real possibility.

After Saturday night's weak 2-0 loss to the Panthers, you had to figure the Bruins would take out some frustration on the overmatched Lightning (20-28-12).

The game started out fast as both teams scored twice in the first period. Phil Kessel broke his long scoring slump with his 25th goal of the year (Marc Savard, Milan Lucic). Jeff Halpern tied it up for Tampa (from Matt Pettinger and Steve Eminger). Then Adam Hall made it 2-1 Lightning with assists to Ryan Craig and Evgeny Artyukhin.

Andrew Ference potted his first goal of the year on the power play to compete the scoring in the first. Savard and Dennis Wideman had the assists.

Along with the power play (which has been one of the team's biggest weaknesses lately), the B's showed some backbone with not one but two fights in the first period.

The ageless Mark Recchi gave Tampa Bay the lead again at 3-2 (from Josef Melichar and David Koci) before Zdeno Chara (14th) tied it with helpers to Chuck Kobasew and Aaron Ward.

Boston dominated play, outshooting Tampa Bay 43-18 but that didn't matter as Lightning goaltender Karri Ramo was great, recording 40 saves.

On a power play, Vaclav Prospal (Halpern, Martin St. Louis) scored the game-winner for the Lightning with 1:33 left in the third.

The good news is that Boston comes home for a six-game homestand, starting tomorrow night against the Florida Panthers.

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