So, Yeah, That Happened: Bruins Not Looking Great Before Leafs
Toronto Maple Leafs (15-9-0) at Boston Bruins (14-3-3)
Tuesday night in Washington, yeah that really happened...the Bruins came out firing on all cylinders, clearly upset about losing to life long rivals Montreal. The first period of the Caps game was as exciting for a Bruins fan as it gets. After the officials rewarded Brad Marchand with a penalty shot for Alex Ovechkin's hooking on a breakaway, the Honey Badger went five-hole on Braden Holtby and put the B's up 1-0. Marchand leads the Bruins with 12 goals so far this season.
Not long after, Milan Lucic showed his worth by sticking with the puck, sending it to Zdeno Chara, who took a shot on net, and after hitting David Krejci, got his own rebound and put Boston up 2-0. Shawn Thornton finally got a dance partner and despite his team not needing a pick-me-up, obliged Erskine for a great fight which ended with #22 taking down his opponent with that killer right.
Dougie Hamilton scored his third of the season from right up the middle on a Bruins power play to lead the B's to a 3-0 lead by the end of the first twenty minutes. An amazing first period for Boston, however, there must have been a mistake because the Black and Gold hopped the Amtrak back to Beantown after only playing 1/3 of a game.
The rest is just embarrassing. The Bruins allowed the Caps to come back and tie it up before the end of the game. Overtime was even worse for Bruins fans. After a beautiful pass from Nicky Backstrom, Eric Fehr completely undressed Dennis Seidenberg and Hamilton for a highlight reel goal and two points for Washington. Bottom line, the Caps wanted this win more, the Bruins only played 20 minutes and that is just unacceptable. Come on, Washington is in 14th place in the East, be embarrassed Bruins, you didn't even deserve one point.
On to tonight's game against the Toronto Maple Leafs. Now, any other time I'd say,
"Leafs...lol" but not with this current Boston team and the way they are just phoning it in lately. This is the second of four meetings for these division rivals. The first saw the B's win, barely, by one goal, score by...wait for it...Chris Bourque.
Speaking of Bourque, he was put on waivers today by the Bruins, they say for reassignment purposing, so looks like he'll be hitting cruise control and heading south down 95. The Bruins first experiment in nepotism has officially, epically failed...now if they can only share notes with the hiring staff at NESN.
Not sure what AHL player the Bruins will call in to replace him, not sure who from Provy is really ready to take that spot on the weak third line...but more on that later.
The Good News
After beating the Ottawa Senators last night, 5-4, at home, the Leafs are facing their fifth back-to-back series of the season. Toronto has yet to win back-to-back games, so at least the Bruins have history on their side.
The Bad News
I'm not going to apologize for coming across rather pessimistic in this post. In the Bruins locker room in Boston there is a quote from Aristotle painted on the wall, it reads, "We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit". Someone should really hire an art student from Emerson to paint over the word, "excellence" and correct it with "half-assed-ness".
The Bruins have given up more 2+ goal leads this season then anyone wants to remember and just because there have been occasions where they somehow bounced back doesn't make it acceptable. Out of the twenty guys that sit on that bench and play this season, seventeen won the Cup two years ago, so what should anger fans more than anything is knowing that these guys have the skill and ability to play championship hockey.
The third line is definitely an issue, Rich Peverley and Chris Kelly should be leaders on this team, Hell, Pevs is the guy who use to sub in on the first line, so yes, while Chris Bourque was not the "super-seed" the Bruins had hoped for, the onus here belongs on the experienced Kelly and Peverley. The writers over at Days of Y'Orr brought up a great point today, the contributing third line we use to know and praise was made up of a Kelly and Peverley who were playing for new contracts, are we now seeing the "real" #23 and #49? Now that they got fat deals are they showing us their true colors?
Not all of the B's issues can be blamed on the third line, Lucic could be more consistent, and overall the team could have better puck control and dominance in the neutral zone. This is all mental, which makes it that much more frustrating to watch. To know your team can perform at a higher level, to see them hustle for twenty minutes and then just let the game slip away. I'm sure some Bruins fans will cry that Montreal was diving, the refs in Washington were blind, and yes, both those things are true, but the Bruins also gave up multiple point leads in both of those games and only walked away with a point. So who's fault will it be next time?
I hate to say it, but I think the Leafs, who sit fifth in the East (just behind Boston), silence the "Thank You Kessel" chants tonight...giving this to Blue by one.
Where To Fine It
TD Bank Garden, Boston, Massachusetts 7:00pm
Radio: 98.5 The Sports Hub
Where To Find Me