This is the second of a three-part series breaking down the Stanley Cup Champion Boston Bruins’ 2010-11 season. In part two, I take a look at the second half of the regular season.
The Boston Bruins had a pretty successful season up to this point, just winning a game against the Carolina Hurricanes. But as the second half began, the Bruins played in a tilt that changed their destiny and turned the entire season around.
When a fight starts just one second into the game, you know the match is going to be an exciting one. Gregory Campbell dropped the gloves with Bruins enemy Steve Ott, and Campbell was the one who lost the battle. But just three seconds later, Shawn Thornton was challenged by Krys Barch, who Thornton brought to the ground quite easily.
It wasn’t over yet. Four seconds later, Bruins tough defenseman Adam McQuaid took down Brian Sutherby. And yet, the crowd still didn’t have time to sit down. Just 1:20 into the game Milan Lucic and Patrice Bergeron found the back of the net and the Bruins had a 2-0 lead. The Bruins would win the game 6-3 and there would be another fight when Andrew Ference dropped Adam Burish.
It looked like the Bruins would not get anything out of this game when they lost 2-0 to San Jose in their next game. But everything is crazy when Montreal comes to town. In a mirror image of the Dallas game, Boston won 8-6. OK, maybe not mirror image, but very, very close. The Bruins had a dominating lead and the Canadiens came back a bit, but the Bruins held control late. This night would also be fight filled where even Tim Thomas would take on Montreal goaltender Carey Price. The win was important, as it was Boston’s first over the hated Habs in 2010-11.
Unfortunately, this win had repercussions, too. Boston would lose two in a row to Detroit and then suffer a defeat to Toronto. It was at this point they had to head onto a grueling road trip that would take them to the depths of Western Canada. GM Peter Chiarelli knew what his team had in them, but they just needed a few more pieces.
He acquired Chris Kelly from the Ottawa Senators, Rich Peverley from the Winni- oh, I mean Atlanta Thrashers, and Tomas Kaberle from the Toronto Maple Leafs. They also said goodbye to Blake Wheeler and Mark Stuart. Boston won the east coast portion of their trip with a 6-3 win over the Islanders and a 4-2 win over Ottawa. The challenge began in their Alberta/British Columbia trip.
Boston defeated the plummeting Calgary Flames before a real challenge in Vancouver. After losing twice to Detroit, it was wondered if they could defeat a top NHL team. Thomas stood on his head and got the Bruins to a 3-1 victory. Wins in Edmonton, Ottawa and Tampa Bay finished up the road trip and the Bruins won all seven games. The last time that happened was 1972, the last time Boston lifted Lord Stanley’s cup.
Boston would return and then lose four games in a row, including a crushing OT loss to the Montreal Canadiens. The slump continued into April, where Boston was able to go 3-2. The playoffs were looming and Boston faced a first round matchup with their rival Canadiens. The last time they faced in the post season Boston defeated them easily, but that was in 2008-09 when Boston was the top team in the league. Now they were new teams and both hungry for a championship.