Wednesday, May 06, 2009
WOW, THAT ONE HURT
The hockey gods are cruel, but fair. Do good things, they'll reward you. Do bad things, they'll destroy you. When the Bruins did good things like position bodies in the crease, they were rewarded with goals. When they committed sins, like turning the puck over deep in their own zone, they were punished with Carolina goals.
As good as Cam Ward, Eric Staal, Jussi Jokinen and the rest of the Hurricanes played, the Bruins lost this one. EVERY SINGLE CAROLINA GOAL CAME OFF TURNOVERS. And these were hardly forced turnovers. These were Brett Favre turnovers.
Carolina Goal #1:
This actually came off a turnover which came off a turnover. Bergeron made a silly pass at his own blue-line, Carolina had a lengthy possession in the Boston zone, getting 6 shots off (some were blocked, 4 weren't), and eventually Michael Ryder committed a penalty from all the pressure. On the ensuing penalty kill, Steve Montador tried to be a hero and smack the puck from his own goal line all the way up the ice. The wind-up allowed Eric Staal to make contact with Montador's stick. The clear attempt turned into a perfect centering pass for Staal, and he stuffed it home.
Carolina Goal #2:
Phil Kessel lost his handle on the puck, trying to take the blue line. No big deal, it happens, just recollect and try again. But he got a bit ahead of himself. Actually, he only got ahead of his left foot, but that caused his body to get ahead of the puck. He fell down, Carolina scooped up the loose puck, roared up ice with a 3 on 2 advantage and Sergei Samsonov wound up with the goal.
Carolina Goal #3:
After coming as close to scoring as a team in overtime can, Zdeno Chara and Stephane Yelle forgot how to play in their own zone. Chara lazily passed up the boards, Yelle never got it, Samsonov recovered the fumble, took it deep, drew Chara, shot it, and Jokinen slapped in the rebound.
Fucking painful. And I'm not trying to detract from Carolina's well-deserved win. I'm not attributing their victory to luck. They played a great game. But the Bruins could have stolen a victory in Raleigh, taken a 2-1 series lead, and retaken control.
As a true Bruins fan, it's hard not to be negative, and scared shitless. To be honest, how this team deals with such a loss, and such a crappy situation will be interesting to see. They're young, and they might fold faster than Superman on laundry day.
But the situation is not as bad as my black and gold (mostly black) vision makes it seem. The Bruins are down 2-1, but they're not facing elimination. If they win game 4, then it's suddenly a best of 3 series with the Bruins having home ice. And on the semi-bright side, they lost because of their own fuck-ups, not because Carolina is a more talented team.
The Bruins need to do 4 things in Game 4:
1) Plant someone in front of the net. When Lucic and Recchi were there, good things happened. The most frustrating part of watching tonight's game was when Bruin centering passes would fly through empty creases because nobody was home.
2) Score on the power play. 0 for their last 16 with a man advantage. The Hurricanes have taken away what the Bruins want to do on the PP, so it's time to crash the net. Punish Carolina for taking away the point shot from Chara and Wideman.
3) Pass from the point, don't shoot. Enough perimeter crap, it's not working. In fact, it's counterproductive. Chara winds up for a 100 MPH blast, the Canes get in position to block and go on the counterattack. Shoot when there's a bit of a lane, but when they try to block, shoot it off the boards to the side of the net, hope for a weird bounce that acts as an indirect centering pass.
4) The puck is a baby, take care of it. Don't give it to strangers, especially in your own fucking zone. High percentage passes ONLY, especially in your own zone, and the neutral zone. The defensemen in particular need to be faster when it comes to passing out of the zone. You can't take your time and allow a Cane to get in front of you, severely reducing your options.
I still love the Bruins chances in this series, but not if they play like they did for most of Game 3. In my opinion, had the Bruins won tonight, it would have been fortunate, even lucky, a nice win stolen on the road.
Game 4, Friday night, 7:30PM, it's on NESN. Not a must win, but it's close to it.
AP Photo/Karl B DeBlaker
AP Photo/Gerry Broome