Boston’s win over Buffalo couldn’t have been timed better. Here are two big boosts that jolted this team on Saturday night.
Chuck Kobasew Returns
As Bruins play-by-play caller Jack Edwards put it after Kobasew’s huge goal, “Chuckie’s back!” Last season, Chuck Kobasew was one of Boston’s unsung heroes until he was put on injured reserve before the end of the season.
Launching a top-shelfer over Ryan Miller’s shoulder, Kobasew’s presence is being felt again. He is a natural goal scorer, and having him on the ice will only help this Bruins' offense take flight.
Manny Fernandez Shows Confidence
Ever since Fernandez was lit up by Dallas in last year’s season opener, I’ve been saying this guy is useless. A lot of discouragement has been felt by Bruins’ fans. In previous starts, Fernandez has appeared ill-composed in the net.
On Saturday against Buffalo, it looked like a different Manny. He was confident. This was no fluke performance. When a guy stops 32 out of 33 shots on goal against Buffalo’s offense, its no accident.
If Fernandez stays fresh, then he could become the Manny of old, the veteran goaltender he was in Minnesota. That “if” could be a big one, given the injury he is recovering from. But at least the next time he steps onto the ice, fans will be less inclined to cringe.
The Bruins are showing more every game why they are a great team. Here are three tough matchups heading their way where they will get the chance to prove their worth:
Wednesday: Chicago is a young team with a lot of spirit and a lot to prove. They have shown no signs of slowing down. They, too, are coming off a strong win against the Flames. Both the Bruins and the Blackhawks are fighting for their spot in their respective conferences. Expect both sides to play hard.
Thursday: There is no way that Montreal will stand for third place much longer in this division. Montreal is the class of the Northeast division. The Bruins will have home-ice advantage. Look for the Canadiens to bring their “A” game to Boston.
Saturday: The Rangers lead the conference. They are a great hockey team. They have suffered losses in the past weeks, but the intensity of playing in sold out Madison Square Garden ranks up there with a game in Montreal. This game, the Bruins will have to push hard to get through with a win. Plus, if New York beats New Jersey this week, they will be coming out of the gate against Boston with extra momentum.
It won’t be an easy weeks for the B’s, but they couldn’t asked for a better break than a win against the Sabres. To top it off, they are going to Chicago on three day’s rest. They have Kobasew back on the ice. Fernandez has shown that he can perform against tough offense.
What’s most important about this team is that these guys have chemistry. Boston has so many young weapons, and as we head into the second month of hockey, the number-four team in the NHL could be coming together as one tough hockey team.