Grindin Gears: We’re Not Done Yet Edition

thomasYou know, three days ago most of Boston had their tippy toes peeking over the ledge of the Tobin Bridge waiting for a nice gust of wind to throw us into the brown abyss known as the Mystic River. Suddenly the sky opened up and what we saw was glorious. What we saw was what the black and gold bible has been speaking about since the days of Andy Moog. A man who will come down from the unknown and stop everything in his path to bring the Bruins eternal glory in the shape of a silver cup. What we saw was Tim Thomas standing on his head in the last half of the third period. And it was good!

Seriously though, Thomas was either really good or really bad on Monday in Montreal. Most of the time the guy was masterful between the pipes but there were some instances where the fans were clutching at their chest because of heart palpitations so large they would’ve put Wile E. Coyotes’ to shame. For most of the night, Thomas stayed in his crease (yeah I know, shocking) and he had a steady hand at what was in front of him, but the goals by Sergie Kostitsyn and Tomas Plekanec were weak. Very weak. The Kostitsyn goal wasn’t as bad as Plekanec’s goal, but Thomas needs to close his five-hole and stop both of them. If you’re going to win a Stanley Cup, you can’t allow soft fucking goals like that one, especially to a team that has had your number for three games.

Let’s be honest with ourselves for a minute. When we were watching the standings throughout March, isn’t this the team we wanted? Wasn’t this the team that the Bruins defeated two out of the last three times with a 6-8 victory and then a 7-0 beating, both at home? We all wanted Montreal because the Bruins could beat them, but had trouble beating the Rangers and the Sabres throughout the season. The Bruins had it all when it came to facing Montreal. They had depth, strength, aggression, size and the goaltending evened out. Hell, in the 7-0 game, the Bruins finally learned how to skate with the Canadiens, right? Wrong.

Games 1 and 2 were probably the worst games the Bruins have played all season or at least it felt that way. It could have been the weight of the playoffs that made these losses more intense, but coming out of Game 2 I thought all hope was gone. I’ll be real with you, DOY family. I was sending text messages and tweets to my friends saying that I was “on the ledge” because the Bruins looked like District 5′s bastard child. As bad as the Bruins looked, the Canadiens looked great. Carey Price was positioned well in net and didn’t have to move horizontally to make saves, the Canadiens forwards were cutting to the net and finding open space in the slot and their power play was once again effective. Basically, the Canadiens beat up on the “more physical, stronger and aggressive” Bruins by taking their weakness (skating, shooting, special teams) and shoving it down their throats.

After the jump, lets look at Game 3 and some random thoughts…

Game 3 rolled around, Days of Y’Orr has its fantastic live chat rolling (a big thanks to those who attended, you know who you are) and I predicted another Habs victory because I was so down on this team. What was there to be optimistic about? Yes the Bruins are a better road team then they are at home, but going down 0-2 in a series is nothing to be excited about. Luckily (and thankfully) Boston scored the first goal and was able to set the tone right away.

My issue is that even when the Bruins were up 3-0, I never felt safe with the lead. Then Plekanec scored. Then Kostitsyn scored. The DOY chat room almost felt as though it was the inevitable Bruins let down that we saw almost a year ago. Shit, it almost triggered PTSD in most of the chat room. When the chips were down and Montreal was grinding away at the Bruins, Tim Thomas stood his ground. The guy was flipping and flopping around and basically standing on his head to save that game and save that game he did.

When the dust settled the Bruins won 4-2 and the series now looked 2-1 in favor of the dastardly Canadiens. Although it wasn’t pretty, a win in the playoffs is a win in the playoffs, which brings me to my next point:

Dear fans, stop calling radio shows and tweeting about how bad the Bruins were after they won a game. Not every playoff game is going to be a magical 7-0 romp where the Bruins manhandle their opponent. In fact, they are going to be far from that. Sometimes I get the feeling that if a game isn’t perfect then the city of Boston isn’t happy. No playoff game is going to be perfect. Boom. Period. Instead of needlessly pointing out that the Bruins almost lost the game, look at it that they aren’t down 3-0 heading back into Montreal. I swear, the Bruins fan has become the Red Sox fan before 2004. Oh wait, I wrote about that as well back in the day. It’s a good piece, google it.

When the team wins, be happy about it, especially when the two previous games looked like stale donkey shit.

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- Random Thoughts

- I’m sick of people hating on Chris Kelly for the sake of hating on Chris Kelly. When Peter Chiarelli traded for Kelly, a lot of us scratched our heads and wondered what the hell he was doing. The expectations for Kelly are so low that there shouldn’t be any room to hate on the guy. From the piece Justin wrote the day after learning Kelly was traded:

“We shot the crew over at The 6th Sens an email, asking about their opinion of Chris Kelly. Here’s their response:

I guess the question you really have to ask yourself is whether or not you’re comfortable with David Krejci and Patrice Bergeron as your top two centers. Judging by your tone, I’ll just assume that you’re not.

Chris Kelly is not a toolsy player – you’re simply not going to be overwhelmed with his speed, hands or physicality. He was a bit of a media darling in Ottawa and fans all too often heard about Kelly’s intangibles like his hockey IQ, work ethic and leadership, so if you’re one of those guys who believe that those two unquantifiable qualities will rub off on his teammates, that’s good. Personally, I think that he’s just a good third line center who can make some valuable contributions on the PK and can net 12 to 15 goals and 25-35 points per season. (Note: Goal totals are a bit inflated this year because he has 3 empty netters.) Considering that your Bruins have a the middle of the pack PK success rate, maybe that’s an area that Chiarelli wanted to address?

A late second rounder seems like fair value for a decent center who adds more depth and quality to your roster. ~ Graeme Nichols

So a good third line center who can kill penalties and score 12 goals in 82 games. That’s exactly what the Bruins have got out of Kelly. Those killing Kelly because he hasn’t scored many goals clearly don’t know the type of player that Kelly is. He’s not a speedy guy like Rich Peverly and he doesn’t have the passing tools like Tomas Kaberle or David Krejci. He’s a middle of the road, penalty killing center. Anything after that is a bonus. Lay off the guy, will ya?

- The “put your game face on” thing in Montreal is lame. Very lame.

- After watching the Sharks/Kings game at the Shark Tank last weekend, I still believe that the Bruins should Black Out The Garden. The crowd was dressed in black and the Sharks were wearing their black alternates. Again, I don’t see why the Bruins don’t do something like this. Run a campaign (or even *gasp* hand out black t-shirts) about blacking out the Garden for Game 5 (it’s still early enoguh to catch on) and have the B’s wearing their black thirds. It would be fantastic, but yet again the Bruins fail at listening to their fans.

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