October 10, 1995 Bruins @ Panthers
So what is the next logical destination on a road trip for the B's two days after a game in Toronto? You guessed it, sunny Florida! It took me this long to realize that the schedule this game has me on is not the real '95-96 schedule. I must really be getting slow in my old age. Anyway, to Florida we go to take on the Kitty Cats.....
The boys came out with a fire lit under them like I've yet to see. A first shift goal that was nostalgic yet at the same time completely fantastical. Ray Bourque grabs a loose puck coming out of the offensive zone and makes a brilliant pass to Kevin Stevens. Stevens then proceeds to blow a scoring opportunity, likely story, but grab his own rebound and swings to the corner. This is kind of where we get a little fantasy, Stevens threads the needle with a pass to the slot. Fantasy over as awaiting the puck in the slot is Mr. Neely who rips it home to give the Bruins a 1-0 lead. A couple of Florida penalties and a non-productive Bruins powerplay tells the rest of the first period story.
To open the second, Neely gets a nifty breakaway pass from Adam Oates, then is takcled by (name slipped past me) doing his best Rodney Harrison open field tackle impersonation. Neely is awarded a penalty shot and I finnally get my first chance to blow that opportunity which I did with style and grace. Jesse Belanger then gets lucky for the Panthers. As I was trying to do god knows what with the puck and Blaine Lacher, Belanger somehow sneaks it past to tie the game up 1-1. This apparently pissed off Stevens who went looking for someone's head to knock off. Local boy Tom Fitzgerald just happened to cross paths with Stevens on the next shift and he stupidly drops the gloves. You probably know how this story goes if you've been keeping up, Stevens 5th fight in 5 games and he's now 5-0. Why oh why is Fitzy fighting anyone anyway, tisk tisk Tommy. The very next shift Radek Dvorak makes a couple nice moves and gets himself a breakaway. Too bad for him he was playing the same shift as Ted Donato. Donato rockets back down the ice to somehow catch Dvorak and deny his shot on Lacher. Jon Gruden lumbered down behind Donato to try and cover as well and ends up with the puck and open ice as far as the eye could see. Gruden carries to the red line where he squeaks the puck to a streaking...........TED DONATO! Donato then breaks into the zone, a couple moves and backhands one shortside on the Beezer. 2-0 Bruins.
The Third period didn't see much action until the 6 minute mark. When the 3rd line chipped in a nice goal from Todd Elik assisted beautifully by Steve Heinze. Apparently pulling the goalie when down by 2 was not "in" when this game came out. All comeback attempts by the Panthers were futile at best and I would very much like to see this team in the first round of the playoffs. I finnally outshot an opponent 33-30 in this one. Your three stars were Neely, Donato, and Elik. Through 5 games Donato is so far the team MVP. Also through 5 games, here's a look at the rest of the league......
Division Leaders: Pacific Division Vancouver, Central Division Chicago, Atlantic Division Philadelphia, Northeast Division Buffalo (Bruins in second place)
Goals: Paul Kariya ANA, Gary Suter CHI, Eric Lindros PHI, Joe Sakic QUE, Brian Bradley TB all have 5 goals to lead the league. Five Bruins have 2 goals to lead the team.
Assists: Chris Chelios CHI leads with 7 assists followed by 4 others with 6. Four players have notched 2 assists to lead the team.
Points: Both Chelios and Lindros have 11 points to share the lead, Kariya is in 3rd with 8. Ray Bourque leads the B's with 4 points.
GAA: Grant Fuhr STL and Kay Whitmore VAN lead with a 1.00 GAA. Blaine Lacher is 9th in the league at 1.76.
Should be more to come tonight as I only have 69 days to win the Cup.