Where to begin, where to begin…
First and foremost, I’d just like to say that this is truly a difficult recap to write. Do I focus on the now concluded series with Detroit, taking further opportunity to rip on that cesspool of a city and question the decision making of Coach Hair? Or do I just totally ignore the Red Wings altogether, and write entirely about the upcoming series with Les Douchebags…a series which, I’m not ashamed to admit, is making my shorts a little bit more snug. Let’s have at it…
With last year’s Toronto series still in everyone’s minds (and last year’s opening series against Anaheim fresh in Detroit’s), both the Bruins and the crowd at the Garden needed to bring it today…and bring it, they did. Rene Rancourt clearly knew the gravitas of the situation at hand, and emphatically unleashed a triple fistpump typically reserved for the later rounds of the playoffs. Three fucking fistpumps!!! I don’t mean ‘going through the motion’ fistpumps, either…I really thought the guy was going to throw something with his enthusiasm.
The B’s were able to take advantage of a Justin Applicator hooking penalty and jumped out to a 1-0 lead on a powerplay goal by Loui Loui. Tuukka Rask, clearly not satisfied by just being a brick wall, decided to get in on the scoring and contributed the secondary assist on the play, with the other helper going to Douglas Hamilton. Please note…this game would get ugly…Not ‘ugly’ in the sense of wanton violence or anything, but ‘ugly’ in the sense that these officials weren’t about to abide by the traditional “it’s the playoffs, let them play” mentality that you typically see in the NHL. Both teams’ special teams units would get plenty of opportunities!
The Bruins came into the second period with that same 1-0 lead. And, as has been typical with them throughout this series, they then tried everything within their power to shit the bed and relinquish that lead. In this case, Milan Lucic got called for high sticking when he confused a Detroit player’s face for genitals. Brendan Smith, Danny DeKeyser…doesn’t matter. I’ll give Looch a pass since the confusion is understandable when playing the Wings. Pavel Datsyuk (who else?) was able to convert on the Detroit powerplay to knot the score at 1-1.
Four more minor penalties would be called in the second – three on Detroit, and one on Boston on a bogus goalie interference call on Loui Eriksson. What was refreshing is that the refs finally started calling the Wings for all of the clutching and holding that they’d been doing throughout the series – a trend that I hope can continue as the Bruins ramp up to face Montreal. The B’s effectively broke the backs of the Red Wings late in the second, when Z blasted a laser past Jonas Gustavsson during a 4-on-3 powerplay sequence that began with Patrice winning a controversial draw. Coach Hair’s attempts to voice his displeasure over the face off were largely ignored, as all of the linesmen simply wanted to get into their locker room to giggle and write “Mrs. Patrice Bergeron” all over the backs of their notebooks. And what was with the look on Reilly Smith’s face?
Starting the third with a 2-1 lead, the Bruins again struck quickly when Milan Lucic was able to convert on a wonderful setup by Torey Krug. Of note in the series…Looch finished with three goals – all of which came after the infamous cup check on Danny DeKeyser. Was he able to draw some sort of magical power or ability from DeKeyser’s teste satchel? Maybe like his stick is a ‘reverse Chitauri scepter’? Reaching? Whatever. I just watched The Avengers again. 3-1, Bruins.
The third period as a whole was again mired in penalties, with five more being called throughout the frame. The Wings made it interesting when Hank Zetterberg scored to make it 3-2 with just under four minutes to play. However, any momentum that the Wings had seized was quickly pissed away in the form of a penalty for too many men on the ice. While the Wings would effectively kill Boston’s powerplay, Lucic would setup Jarome Iginla for an empty netter, making the final score 4-2, Bruins. Boston wins the series, 4-1.
– Tuukka Rask. What a fantastic series from start to finish. The Wings were able to put only six pucks past the Finnish netminder throughout the five game series. And in fairness, some of those goals only happened after Rask made good first or second saves on various sequences. Simply put, he is playing lights out…but we all know that.
– Douglas Hamilton. What a fantastic series from start to finish. We witnessed solid play in both the defensive and offensive zones…we witnessed amazing passing…we witnessed goal scoring. If this series could be named ala a music album, it would be called ‘The Maturation of Doug’…it would have a black & white album cover, and he would be clad in a black turtleneck looking stoic as hell. Our little Dougie is definitely a man now! (I’ll spare you the photoshop)
– Bruins special teams. What a fantastic series from start to finish. Two more powerplay goals today. And while the Wings were able to convert a PP goal of their own, the B’s successfully killed the other six man advantage opportunities. All told, the Bruins scored six powerplay goals in the series.
– Brad Marchand. Marchy definitely seems a tad snake-bit over the past two games. From his numerous misses in Game 4 to his two penalties today, he definitely has to get back on track. He looked nothing like a successful agitator…looking more like a plug…and that can’t happen against Montreal. He’ll be a marked man, and he needs to be at his best for the Bruins to thrive.
– Coach Hair. I still don’t understand the reasoning of playing Henrik Zetterberg in this series. Obviously there’s the emotional lift that comes with the return of your captain and (arguably) best all around player to your lineup…but at what cost? The Wings squeaked into the playoffs, and would have had slim to no chances to win the Cup EVEN IF they’d gotten past the Bruins. At Zetterberg’s age – or any other age, for that matter – back surgery is no joke. It seems as though the prudent thing would have been to give more ice time to the kids and let Hank heal properly. This game is fun to watch because of players like Zetterberg, and I winced at various times when I saw him taking a beating today at the hands of Chara, Marchand, and others.
– Do they even have golf courses in Detroit? I thought this was your typical gentleman’s outing in The D?
– Did Reilly Smith ensure a bigger Christmas haul this year after Brendan’s putrid performance throughout the series? Reilly will be getting an XBox One this year, while Brendan will be getting…a Reilly Smith B’s jersey. And keeping to 8 Mile references, Detroit hasn’t seen anything that comically awful since Cheddar Bob shot himself in the crotch.
– Does Detroit need to examine the direction their goaltending is heading? I mean…here’s a comparative snapshot. You decide.
Farewell, Detroit. While your Red Wings have maintained enviable levels of performance over the past 20+ years, you remain at a bit of a crossroads ever since the retirement of Nick Lidstrom and the subsequent snubbing by Ryan Suter. If anyone is able to bring this team back, I have faith that Ken Holland and Coach Hair are the men to do it. Sadly (for you), your offseason begins today. I thoroughly hope that you enjoy it…which means you should probably leave the actual city of Detroit in the process.
Bring on Montreal…