The Boston Bruins will resume their regular season schedule on Wednesday against the Buffalo Sabres in their first game since breaking for the 2014 Winter Olympics. When they do, they’ll have three newly crowned Olympic medalists on the ice.
The B’s were well represented in the medal round, as they saw players win a gold, silver and bronze medal at the end of the tournament. Patrice Bergeron helped lead Canada to gold over Loui Eriksson and the Swedish team on Sunday. That came one day after Tuukka Rask pitched a shutout to help Finland beat Team USA for the bronze.
Here’s a look at how the Bruins stacked up in Sochi in the order of who had the biggest impact on their respective teams.
1. Tuukka Rask, Finland
The Finns were a darkhorse medal candidate because of their impressive goaltending depth. They came through on that, as they ended up winning the bronze medal. Rask was the goalie who ended up winning the starting job, and he did not disappoint. His tournament got off to a bit of a shaky start as he allowed four goals in his Olympics debut against Latvia. He settled down from there, though, as he still went on to post a .938 save percentage and was especially impressive in a win over Russia. The Finns may have been playing for gold had it not been for the fact that Rask got sick during the tournament. He came down with an illness and was forced to miss the team’s semifinal game against Sweden. He was back in net for the bronze medal game where he shut out a hapless American squad.
Stats: Four games, 3-1, .938 save percentage, 1.73 goals against average
2. Patrice Bergeron, Canada
It was unclear what Bergeron’s role would be as the Olympics began. He was pegged by many to be a fourth-line winger, which is where he started the tournament. By the end of the tournament, however, the two-way forward was on Canada’s top line with Sidney Crosby and Chris Kunitz. To the surprise of no one who’s followed his career closely, Bergeron was tremendously effective just about every time stepped on the ice. He continued to do all of the little things right. It’s probably not a coincidence that Crosby’s game really got going once Bergeron was skating on his line, either. Bergeron was great in the face-off circle, won puck battles and seemed to do something good every time he hopped over the boards. Or to put it another, he was Patrice Bergeron all tournament long.
Stats: Six games, two assists, plus-4, 16 shots on goal, 13:57 time on ice per game, 31-for-49 on face-offs (63 percent)
3. Loui Eriksson, Sweden
Eriksson really played a good tournament for the silver medalists. The Bruins winger has had a difficult year with various injuries that have made it difficult for him to really get going. He wasn’t slowed by any of those injuries during the Olympics, though. That, paired with the fact that he was on the big ice with a couple of really good players, really suited Eriksson well. He was a member of Sweden’s top line along with Nicklas Backstrom and Daniel Sedin. Eriksson ended up scoring a big goal in a semifinal matchup with Finland that tied the game on the way to the Swedes’ 2-1 win. Now the Bruins are hoping Eriksson can hit the ground running when he returns to the NHL. It will be interesting to see if he’s playing with a bit of added confidence after a really nice showing in Sochi.
Stats: Six games, two goals, one assist, 11 shots on goal, 19:01 time on ice per game
4. Zdeno Chara, Slovakia
Chara’s impact in Sochi may have been felt more off the ice. The Slovakian captain became a bit of a celebrity during his time in Sochi, but he also played solid for a Slovakian team that really struggled. The Slovaks were banged up and were going to battle with a team that looked a lot different from the squad that gave Canada trouble in Vancouver back in 2010. This year’s struggles certainly don’t fall on Chara, though. Despite the fact that the Slovaks were outscored 16-5 in the tournament, Chara was still only a minus-1. His team was lit up for seven goals in their tournament opener against Team USA, but Chara was only the ice for one of those goals. He did his job for the most part, but he just didn’t get much help around him.
Stats: Four games, one assist, nine shots on goal, 23:31 time on ice per game
5. David Krejci, Czech Republic
It’s certainly not knock on Krejci to put him on the bottom of the list, especially given how some of his teammates played. Krejci was really effective at times for the Czechs as one of their top centers. Their real problem, of course, was that they couldn’t really play much defense, which isn’t on Krejci. The forward may have surprised some people when he scored a power-play goal against Slovakia on a big slap shot from the left wing. That’s not something Bruins fans are used to seeing — Krejci shooting the puck — but it’s something they will certainly get used to, if he continues to fire the puck like that moving forward.
Stats: five games, one goal, two assists, three shots on goal, 17:50 time on ice per game
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