I had all intentions of going into the weekend trying to take in all the tiny details of it and come out the other side of it with a running diary. This past weekend had plenty going for it. Personally, it was a trip down from my current home in D.C down to Southern Virginia to spend Easter with my girlfriends family. This meant a fairly long road-trip through miserable I-95 traffic, family gatherings and the such which all make for such wonderful stories The biggest issue is that this was all taking place over the first weekend of the NHL Playoffs for the Boston Bruins.
Friday, right near the end of the drive from D.C to parts unknown was the beginning of this years chapter of the Boston Bruins chase for the Stanley Cup. I had originally had all intentions of writing about the weekend as a displaced Bruins fan, lost without a way to watch his beloved Bruins while putting in time to make friends with someone else’s family over the holiday weekend.
A funny thing happened though. I wasn’t separated from the Bruins. There’s an app for everything now. With the exception of a stretch of road where their was no service where I audibly freaked out causing my girlfriend to laugh hysterically, I was able to watch the first period of the Bruins first game on Friday night. After missing the second period to bring bags in and eat a late dinner, I was able to watch the final period of that game with my girlfriend’s father. Certainly not the dragged away from the Bruins weekend I had feared.
I probably could have done without Friday night’s game. While an extremely good hockey game filled with what can only be described as “playoff hockey”, it certainly was building towards a gut kick moment. Tied 0-0 late in the third period, both Boston and Detroit had traded blows and chances right in front of each other’s goal-keepers. In fact, seconds before the Bruins best chance of the game, both my girlfriend’s father and I decided that this game was ending on some dumb rolling puck or dirty chance in front of the net. That’s how all these hockey games end in the playoffs. There was no way Milan Lucic’s tip-in was going in, even though I still have no idea how it did not.
Shortly after, both of us looked like idiots as Paval Datsyuk did Paval Datsyuk things and reminded hockey fans everywhere that he is a wizard. If there was one positive about the goal, is that even my girlfriends father described Datsyuk as a wizard. I can get along with this guy.
So Saturday came along and I was dragged shopping, something I will joke as my punishment for wanting to watch hockey on Friday night. Then Easter Sunday came, and I was convinced that game two was going to be the game I would miss. Considering what happened on Friday night, it was a shame as Sunday was going to be the team’s biggest game of the season. Losing the first two when the underdog is certainly bad, but understandable. As the favorite and the President’s Trophy winner? It would have been unacceptable. I was dreading the moment of the day where I would be sitting on my hands just hoping that the Bruins would play a better game.
But we got home from brunch at 3:00 and we watched the first period at home. Then, we left between intermissions, and I watched the second and third periods while beginning to travel back to Washington D.C. In those times, I watched the Bruins turn the tables from their Friday night effort. The Bruins first goal was a combination of right place/right time and finally pouncing on a Jimmy Howard mistake, something they failed to do on Friday night. The second goal was a result of the Bruins finally getting behind the aggressive Howard and putting one of his failures to cover the puck into the back of the net.
In the process, the Bruins reestablished themselves as a physical presence in the playoffs. It felt like there was punishment for any player wearing white and red going for a puck in the corner. It got so bad for poor Brendan Smith that he tried to fight Zdeno Chara with humorous results. He was just so fed up with the abuse.
When Chara finished a power-play goal on the doorstep in the third period, the game was pretty much over. All the fears of the weekend, from the singular fan who thought he would miss the whole weekend, to the fans that hit all the panic buttons after the game one loss were extinguished. There are still 15 more wins to go for the ultimate prize, but it certainly was a fun weekend to begin the playoffs.
It was filled with family, food, and hockey. Hard to complain about any kind of weekend like that.