Yesterday the Boston Bruins came out flying against the Toronot Maple Leafs. And for the final 10 minutes of the game they came out flying again. The middle 40 minutes, however, were some grade A+ bullshit play from the team.
Too many passes when they had opportunities to score. Too many PK and defensive responisbility failures. All added up in a 4-3 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs. It was an exciting game. Thornton got back into the fighting spirit, Boychuk nailed JVR into next week, and plenty of other big, physical hits, but it still was a letdown loss against a team that just got it's third win in regulation in previous 27 games. Yikes.
But the Bruins defense and PK units have been in shambles since Dennis Seidenberg went down. I know there's a Berlin Wall joke somewhere here but, frankly, I'm not feeling well enough to be that witty, so you can work it out.
After the jump… the good, the bad and the fugly…
– Sam Bern tribute.
- PJ Axelsson returned.
- Daddy Destroychuk Returns. Boychuk returned to play after his wife gave birth to twin girls on Monday. Johnny must've had an extra jump in his step because he blasted James Van Riemsdyk into an alternate reality. Meanwhile, JVR's glove went sailing over the glass and into the 11th row of the Garden.
Not sure how JVR walked away from that one. He was crying to the officials, of course, because, well, JVR. Have a different angle, for fun:
The fan that caught JVR's glove threw it back, though.
- Merlot Line. Gregory Campbell found a way to get Boston on the board. After Shawn Thornton barely missed a goal, the Merlot Line continued to battle hard (as we've come to expect from that crop), and Campbell buried out, sneaking it around the poke check.
Shawn Thornton also had his first fight back after his suspension.
The Bruins would score shortly thereafter.
Also, let's not forget this:
Shawn Thornton was Corsi perfection. 8 for, 0 against…
— TomServo42 (@tservo42) January 15, 2014
- Patrice Bergeron. Sweet wrap-around, bro.
Don't worry, Bernier, we know a guy who can relate:
Takes a puck to the face and barely ackowledges that it stings.
- The Hits. Lots of big hits in the game. Next to Boychuk's was this one by Kevan Miller.
We're pretty sure there were enough Oooooos, and Aaaahs that you could play MXC Drinking Game rules and get trashed pretty easily.
- Marchand. Buries this nice rebound home.
- The Anti-Rask People. Everytime we see someone say "Tuukka Rask sucks" what we assume people really mean is "Tuukka Rask isn't bailing out his teammates for their blown coverage and defensive ineptness." Only one goal can be pegged on Rask for one he should've stopped. The rest is a team effort of bad moves. Rask is only one man.
He still leads the league in shutouts (5), and has a 2.11 GAA, and .928 SV% (fourth in the NHL). At even-strength he has a .941 SV%, second best in the NHL among startering goaltenders (Ben Bishop is #1 with .945, so it's virtually a tie). He was lightsout for basically three months, but a couple weeks of struggles and people are throwing him under the bus.
- Power Play. Boston's Power Play is 10th in the NHL which is a dream come true to Bruins fans who have seen nothing but dog poop from the PP units since Savard's career ended, but the team hasn't scored a PPG in quite a while. Too much passing and not enough pucks on net will do that.
- Penalty Kill. Never thought we'd say this but the Bruins which Claude Julien still coaching but the Bruins PK is trash right now. 100% Garbage. It's at the point where we're expecting the opposing teams to score when Boston goes down a man. No Dennis Seidenberg isn't helping. No Chris Kelly isn't helping.
Boston's PK is 12th in the NHL at 82.8%. That's…. ungodly awful for a Julien coached team. They're hemoraging goals short-handed right now and when Boston gets hit with as many penalties as they do, that's just a recipe for disaster.
Tuukka should've gotten this one. He's in too deep, but he's probably hedging his bets on a pass to the Maple Leaf in front to the open side. With how the D had been dealing earlier in the game, it would make sense. Regardless, you have three Bruins PKers on one side and poor Miller alone to defend 2.5 guys down low and to glove Tuukka's glove side.
And Boychuk was asleep on this play. Left Bozak wide open for an easy PPG. We're going to blame the newborns.
Remember, you can't turniquet the taint.
Meanwhile at Geoff Ward's house…
In general, Boston isn't blocking shots, nor are they getting into the passing or shooting lanes. They're giving up prime real-estate.
- The Linesmen. From our seats they looked lost on their off-sides calls. But at least we were rewarded with this.
Also, possibly the best thing McQuaid has done for the Bruins since taking himself off the ice with penatlies.
- Whatever this is. Still not sure if this hit Bernier or off post.
- Four goals. No good. Not sure how much Chara is screening Tuukka on this goal but it appears Rask saw enough of it. Either way, Chara gave JVR way too much room to file a wrister from the top of the circle. It also looks like it redirects off Chara at a decent click.
Here's Bozak's first goal. Tuukka makes the initial save off the hard slapper but gets no help clearing the rebound. Rough night for Miller.
- Penalty Kill, Where Art Thou?
– Who saw the new season of Archer?
– Will Chris Kelly really solve the PK problems?
– Seriously, how does Geoff Ward still have a job in Boston?