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Monday, February 28, 2011

Look out Canada: Bruins continue their rampage up North

Granted the teams they've played on this six-game road trip haven't all been Stanley Cup contenders (sorry Senators, Islanders and Oilers) but can you remember a more successful trip in the last few years than this current one for the Bruins?

I certainly can't as the Bs (36-19-7) won their season-high fifth straight in Canada, 3-2 last night over host Edmonton (20-35-8) at the Rexall Place.

There has been a new star each night and against the Oilers-the NHL's worst team-it was Michael Ryder (1 goal, 1 assist) and Nathan Horton (1 goal, 1 fight).

It's been very under the radar since he's so inconsistent by nature but Ryder has had a pretty decent season. The good news is that with Boston scoring so many goals this season, they don't have to count on his mercurial talents to show up in the biggest games (the playoffs). It's a bonus now when he does something.

Horton has also been on fire lately. Using his big body to stick his nose in front of the net while also playing more physical. He's been rewarded with a ton of points lately.

Tuukka Rask (15 saves; 8-11-1) got the start and gave up a goal to Ales Hemsky (from Jim Vandermeer and Dustin Penner) 1:05 into the game but he settled down from there and basically sat back and watched his teammates pepper Oilers goaltender Devan Dubynk (37 saves) with 40 shots.

Horton jumped Edmonton's Theo Peckham at 8:27 of the first period after Peckham had hit David Krejci hard. They got into a short-lived fight but Horton pummelled him and Peckham didn't return in the game.

Ryder tied it up at 15:30 of the first period with a sweet goal from Milan Lucic and Adam McQuaid. It was Ryder's 17th of the season and he waited for Dubnyk to make a move before he roofed it over him.

Horton made it 2-1 at 18:39 of the first period from Krejci and Dennis Seidenberg. Krejci found him with a sweet pass and Horton crushed the one-timer past Dubnyk for his 17th of the season.

Rich Peverley scored his first as a Bruin late in the second period (at 19:08) from Ryder and Chris Kelly. It was Peverley's 15th of the season and it was all him after he made a nice backhand fake on Dubnyk. Somehow the two newest Bruins forwards (Peverley and Kelly) have squeezed some life out of Ryder. Something fellow bum Blake Wheeler (now on the Atlanta Thrashers) could never do.

Gilbert Brule of the Oilers cut it to 3-2 at 3:14 with a tough-angle slap shot from Jordan Eberle and Jason Strudwick.

The battle of the NHL's top picks in 2010 never really materialized. Edmonton's Taylor Hall was held in check and as usual, Tyler Seguin's minutes were limited along with his impact.

Things got more chippy in the third period as Brad Marchand fought Andrew Cogliano and Lucic scrapped with Vandermeer in one of the better fights of the season.

The Bruins have the rare opportunity to cash in a perfect road trip if they can just get a win in Ottawa tomorrow night (where they played a week and a half ago in Tomas Kaberle's first game with Boston). Ottawa is still the worst team in the Eastern Conference and they've had a fire sale, getting rid of almost all their assets ahead of today's trade deadline.

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