BostonBruins.com - Though Bruins fans hail from all over, there is no doubt the strongest contingent in Boston's backyard.
Olympic hockey often pits Bruin against Bruin, but country against Bruin?
That was the case for many on Friday, as Team USA played against a Canadian team with Patrice Bergeron, along with Coach Claude Julien and General Manager Peter Chiarelli, in the semifinal.
The Bruins' alternate captain will now play for gold against Loui Eriksson and Team Sweden on Sunday, after Canada defeated the United States 1-0.
Sweden won the first semifinal, 2-1, over Finland. Rask did not suit up due to illness. Team USA will now face off against Rask's squad for the bronze on Saturday.
One Bruin will be bringing home gold, with the potential for all three to bring home a medal.
BostonBruins.com - Loui Eriksson will be playing for the gold medal, as Sweden defeated Finland 2-1 on Friday in Sochi.
Tuukka Rask was not between the pipes for Finland. The goaltender was out due to the flu and did not dress for the game. He reportedly played through symptoms in the quarterfinal against Russia, when he made 37 saves in the 3-1 win.
Kari Lehtonen found out about an hour before game time that he was getting the nod. Henrik Lundqvist minded the net at the other end.
Eriksson scored the game-tying goal for Sweden, putting up goals in back-to-back games at the tournament. Seemingly gaining more confidence each game, as Sweden has won five straight in Sochi, the Bruins winger continues to play in a top role for his country.
WILMINGTON, MA - When the Bruins reconvened for practice on Thursday morning at Ristuccia Arena amidst the Olympic Break, Adam McQuaid was back skating with the group.
Sidelined by a leg injury since January 19, the defenseman had missed the last nine games before the NHL's two-week hiatus.
Prior to the break, he had been working out and started skating, but wasn't yet ready for game action. On Thursday, he spent time with Strength and Conditioning Coach John Whitesides on the ice going through the motions, before joining his teammates for the full skate.
It's been a tough season health-wise for McQuaid, who has only suited up in 30 games (dropping the gloves in seven fights to go along with a goal and five assists). He's missed 26 games to various leg/lower-body injuries in stretches of eight or nine games.
"Obviously I missed some time again, and once again, hopefully can kind of ease our way back in here," McQuaid said, following his first practice back with the team since the injury that caused him to leave the Bruins' game in Chicago on January 19.
BostonBruins.com - It was 6:45 p.m. in Sochi, 4:45 p.m. in Finland and 9:45 a.m. in Boston.
But "Tuukka Time" has no geographical boundaries.
Tuukka Rask came out with a stone-cold performance on Wednesday, making 37 saves en route to Finland's 3-1 win over Russia in the quarterfinals, ending the home country's bid for the gold.
Finland will now face Sweden in the semifinals on Friday, February 21, with Rask pitted against Bruins teammate Loui Eriksson.
"Even though no one ever picks us to win medals, we always seem to find a way to get there," Rask told reporters in Sochi following the game.
Although the Finns have never won gold, Finland is coming off a bronze medal in 2010 in Vancouver and is the only country to win three total medals in the tournament since NHL players first began to suit up in the Olympics in 1998.
BostonBruins.com - Loui Eriksson became the first Bruin in Sochi to advance to the semifinals, as Sweden shut out Slovenia, 5-0, on Wednesday in the opening quarterfinal game. They will face the winner of Finland-Russia.
The Bruin notched a goal and an assist for his first two points of the tournament in the win.
Consistently relied on as a top-two forward for Sweden at the Olympics, Eriksson led forwards on his squad with 17:44 in ice time, playing in all situations. He finished the game with a plus-2 rating.
Sweden earned a 1-0 lead in the first period with their fifth straight power-play goal, but game remained very tight checking, and was mostly played along the boards. Though Slovenia was playing its third game in four days, they didn't give up. It stayed a one-goal game entering the third period.
Just 1:42 into the third period, after good cycling, Eriksson fed Team Sweden linemate Daniel Sedin with a beauty of a pass from the goal line to the bottom of the left circle, which he buried for the 2-0 cushion.
BostonBruins.com - It was a third period any hockey fan would appreciate. The tension was high, the back-and-forth action at a premium, and both sides fought until the end.
Captain Chara and Slovakia fought back from a 4-0 deficit, and kept building steam in the third period, but it was Krejci and the Czech Republic ultimately moving on to the quarterfinals with a 5-3 victory.
For Krejci, who notched his first goal of the tournament and an assist on the empty-netter that sealed it, the win was showcased in his postgame smile.
For Chara, who played a monster of a game with his team on the brink of elimination, the cause fell short, and represented a difficult week on the ice for his native country.
The Czech Republic finished the preliminary round with one win and two losses. Meanwhile, Slovakia lost all three of their first round games, though they picked up a hard-fought point in the shootout in their final game against Russia.
Heading into the qualification playoff round on Tuesday (February 18) in Sochi, Russia, the two Bruins find themselves facing each other in a situation where the preliminary round no longer matters.
The puck drops at 12:00 p.m. ET, live on NBCSN (9:00 p.m. local time in Sochi).
When the final buzzer sounds, one Bruin and his country will move on, while the journey to a medal will end for the other and his fellow countrymen. The winner will next face the United States in quarterfinal action.
But this is the Olympics, and matchups are bound to happen.
So on Sunday, two Black & Gold mainstays found themselves squaring off as the puck dropped between Canada and Finland in the final game of preliminary round play in Sochi, Russia at the 2014 Winter Olympics.
Team Canada, along with Bergeron, Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien and GM Peter Chiarelli, came away with the 2-1 win in overtime, defeating Rask and Team Finland.
While individuals aren't necessarily the focus at the Games, with entire nations following along with their teams' play, it's still worth noting the efforts of those who typically don the Spoked-B.
Rask made 25 saves on 27 shots in the OT loss. The netminder no doubt would have liked to come out of this one the hero, as he made several key (and some incredible) stops throughout the game to keep Canada off the board, but Finland still advances directly to the quarterfinals.
BostonBruins.com – After 18 games in five days at the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, Russia, preliminary round play has concluded, with the playoffs starting on Tuesday, February 18.
After the round-robin play, Loui Eriksson and Team Sweden earned the top spot heading into the playoff rounds, with USA close behind, Canada in third place and Finland in fourth.
Those top four teams automatically get a bye to the quarterfinals, which kick off on Wednesday, February 19.
Team USA and Canada both finished with eight points right below Sweden’s nine, but goal differential is the next tie-breaker. The U.S. finished the preliminary round with a plus-11 goal differential, while Canada finished with plus-9. Finland came in at seven points, with a plus-eight goal differential.
BostonBruins.com - According to the NHL.com staff in Sochi, Russia, Tuukka Rask will start for Finland against Canada and Bruins' teammate Patrice Bergeron today (Sunday), as announced by Finnish Head Coach Erkka Westerlund.
Puck drops at noon ET (USA Network) between the Group B opponents at the Olympics.
Rask started Finland's opening game on Thursday, in which they earned an 8-4 win over Austria. He got the night off the following day, as Kari Lehtonen backstopped his squad to a 6-1 victory over Norway. Antti Niemi will be his backup on Sunday against Canada.