Saturday afternoon’s Bruins game against the Ottawa Senators marked the last time the Bruins will play together before the 18-day Olympic break, and the Bruins made the most of it. They dominated the Senators in every aspect of the game to coast to a 7-2 win.
Scoring came early and often for the Bs, who scored twice in the first period, twice in the second period and three times in the third period to earn the win.
“Our guys just played so well today,” said coach Claude Julien. “Puck was moving well, good decisions all around. It was a real solid game for us and a great way to finish.”
Julien was in a jovial mood post-game, and he even joked with reporters who wished him well in the Olympics after the press conference, saying “I know you don’t mean it” as he left the room.
Julien, of course, will be an enemy to Bostonians for a few weeks as he serves on Team Canada’s coaching staff. He is part of a seven-man contingent representing the Bruins in Sochi. GM Peter Chiarelli will also serve as part of Team Canada’s staff, while Patrice Bergeron will skate for the Canadians in his second Olympics.
Zdeno Chara, is, of course, already in Sochi, where he carried the Slovakian flag in the Opening Ceremonies and will serve as Team Slovakia’s captain. Loui Eriksson will play for Sweden, which faces off against the Czech Republic and teammate David Krejci in its first game in Sochi. Finally, Tuukka Rask will join Team Finland, where he will battle Sharks goaltender Antti Niemi and Stars netminder Kari Lehtonen for playing time.
Although Chara was absent and Rask did not play in Saturday afternoon’s game, the other three Boston Olympians played well in their final tune-up before the Games as all three recorded multi-point games.
Bergeron registered two goals and an assist on the afternoon. His second goal of the day was a dazzler as he patiently drew Ottawa goalie Craig Anderson out of his net, curled around Anderson and defenseman Erik Karlsson and slipped the puck into an empty net for the score.
Eriksson recorded two assists Saturday afternoon, the first of which came on Bergeron’s first goal of the game. The Swede has had a tough go of it recently; he spent Friday getting some emergency dental work done after he fell victim to a high stick in Thursday night’s game against the Blues. On Saturday, he got caught in the mouth again, but it only re-opened his cut instead of causing further injury.
Eriksson, who said he never considered wearing a cage to protect his injured mouth, added that he is looking forward to playing in the Olympics and hopefully staying healthy.
“It will definitely to be fun,” Eriksson said. “I am excited to go there and try to win it, it is a lot of good teams that go there and try to win it. Of course it will be nice to get there and see all the guys on the team too. “
Like Eriksson, Krejci’s two points of the night came on assists. His first apple came at a key moment for the Bruins. At 17:15 in the second period, the Senators, who were trailing the Bruins 3-0 at that point, proved they were still in the building when Bobby Ryan wristed a shot on a 2-on-1 past Bruins goaltender Chad Johnson.
But just 1:03 later, Krejci helped the Bruins back out to a three-goal lead when he waited out a giving Senators defense and found Jarome Iginla in the crease, who tipped Krejci’s pass past Anderson for the goal.
Krejci has not been as successful in battles off the ice, as he has been trying to convince his mother not to go to Sochi due to security concerns. But after Saturday’s game, Krejci admitted there is no stopping his mom, who will be on hand in Russia to watch Krejci play for the Czech Republic.
Despite the off-ice distractions in Sochi, Krejci said he is proud to have the chance to represent his country in the 2014 Games.
“It’s always an honor when you get asked to play for your home country, especially at the Olympics,” Krejci said. “It’s a pretty cool feeling. So like I said, I’m going to go out there and try to do my best and we’ll see what happens.”
And while a handful of Bruins will be very busy over the next two weeks, the majority of the team will get some well-deserved time off. Johnson said he expects his break will be pretty grueling.
“Lots of sun, lots of heat, you know, sweat it out,” Johnson joked. “No, I don’t know. … I think you take the week but you have to be careful too. If you eat too much chocolate or too many chips it can catch up to you.”