Saturday, February 14, 2009
The Bruins lost their second straight Friday night, squeezed 1-0 by the trap-happy Devils. The B's have lost two straight in regulation, and three in a row overall. If not for some brilliant goaltending by Tim Thomas against the Senators, it could have been 4 consecutive defeats.
So what gives?
One problem against opponents like New Jersey is the trap. The Bruins' offense is predicated on bringing the puck over the blue line, not dumping it into the corner and forechecking to regain possession. But against a team that clogs the middle of the ice as effectively as the Devils, you have to dump in the puck, try to get it back before they regroup, and punish them for standing up on their blue line.
I don't think Milan Lucic being on the 1st line with Savard and Kessel as the best way to utilize him. Lucic excels at this forechecking business, but Savard and Kessel are typically clever enough to bring the puck in, even against a tight defense. Lucic could be better used to help a less skilled line dump and chase. Just a thought.
In the end, you just have to give credit to New Jersey goalie Scott Clemmensen, who stopped all 31 shots he saw, earning his 2nd straight shutout. Also, the Bruins couldn't buy a good rebound.
The Bruins continue their road trip in the South, stopping at Nashville Saturday night, then Carolina, then Florida. Hopefully they'll be able to work out their small problems against this mid-level calibre opposition.
AP Photo/Bill Kostroun