Bruins Show Up In the Third To Beat The Habs and Claim First
Boston Bruins 2, Montreal Canadiens 1
So it looks like it's going to be one of "those" seasons with the Black and Gold. The Bruins showed up to last night's game in Montreal, fashionably late, once again, and were somehow able to walk away with two points. Thanks mostly to a stellar performance from Tuukka Rask. This was the 718th time the two Original Six teams have met in NHL history. Rask stopped eleven shots in the first period (Habs outshot the Bruins 11-4 in the first...ouch!), with pretty much zero help from his skaters. The Bruins repeated their lack luster defensive performance from last Thursday, against Buffalo, in their first of four meetings with the rival Habs. Coming from a team that has one of the best defenseman in the league (Chara) and the current Selke winner (Bergeron), there is really no excuse for the defensive lapse from this team. If it wasn't for Rask, the game would have been over in the first period, twenty minutes before the rest of the team even showed up.
The first period was scoreless and rather frustrating to watch...really was hoping for a fight or some excitement (other than Rask save, after save, after save). Not only did the Bruins' defense not help their tendie, but they actually made things more difficult for him with their anemic forecheck, backcheck, turnovers...do I really need to go on? And in the second period, P.K Subban's shot from the point tipped off Rich Peverley's stick to beat Rask gloveside. I'm surprised Subban didn't include Pevs in his over exuberate celebration.
Having seen enough, Coach Claude Julien remixed the first two lines and sent Tyler Seguin to wing David Krejci and Milan Lucic, while placing Nathan Horton on the second line with Bergeron and Marchand's replacement, Greg Campbell. Eureka! We've seen the chemistry between Seguin and Krejci before and it was a pretty sight last night. Early in the third Segs beat Alexei Emelin down the ice, while Krejci ordered a pizza with extra sauce right to 19's tape for the tap in and his first REAL goal of the season (we all know he wasn't counting the empty netter from the Cane's game). Fun Fact: this marked Boston's 1900th goal against Montreal! About three minutes later the remixed first line was at it again with a hard drive to the net, Seguin fed the puck to Lucic who found Krejci, in perfect position, for the tap in and game winning goal.
I think the most frustrating part of all of this is the fact that we know the Bruins are capable of playing amazing hockey. A majority of the guys on the roster right now also had their name on the Cup in 2011 and despite Shawn Thornton, Dan Paille and Brad Marchand being out, they still have the tools to deliver. There is a laundry list of hockey cliches and at the top of the list is "Play sixty minutes of hockey" and "Defense wins championships". Currently the Boston Bruins are doing neither and we have been forgiving these missteps because they are sitting atop the Eastern Conference but if this continues they won't be for long. Despite last night's loss, Montreal is still breathing down their necks and Saturday's opponent, Tampa Bay, is right up there.
Cue the broken record. The season in over in two months...yup, April is the month after next. There are not that many games and the Bruins are playing Russian Roulette with their defense. When its hot, its unstoppable, but like my ex-boyfriend, they show up when it's convenient for them. Even Chara has been playing stupid, with his arm span and strength, he should not be turning over the puck as much as he has been so far this season.
This wouldn't be a proper recap without bringing up the pink elephant in the room...the Bruins power play. Seriously. This dump and chase is just ridiculous and utterly useless. Every time the Bruins are on the PP and in their opponent's zone there is at least one player out of position and too often have we seen ghost passes to a player who should be waiting on the front porch drinking lemonade waiting for a feed. If they know enough to pass there then how come they don't know enough to be in position there?
And speaking of paranormal activity, who the heck was Plekanec looking at when, on a break away, rather than trying to beat Rask unchallenged, he tosses the puck into the boards? Someone call the Long Island Medium, maybe she can help.
Steven Stamkos and his Tampa Bay Lightning head to Boston Saturday for a matinee game. In case you've been living under a rock, Stammer likes to score goals and he's pretty good at it...he's probably licking his chops watching this Boston defense. His one-timer is the best in the league and he doesn't miss. Add to that the fact that the Bruins don't especially play well in matinee games and the boys better improve significantly before 1pm Saturday.
We're apparently getting a pretty serious blizzard here in Boston this weekend, so stay safe kiddos and as always keep your heads up and your sticks down.