Monday, April 20, 2009
There was a lot going against the Bruins Monday night. The Bell Centre in Montreal has been a house of horrors. Lucic would be out due to suspension. The Canadiens would have Cornered Animal Syndrome.
Thwe first 15 minutes, the 2009 Bruins looked a great deal like the 2004 Bruins, nervous, shaky, tentative, even shy. They only had 3 shots on goal in those 15 minutes. Montreal scored on a 3-on-2 breakaway, and things look like they were going to get complex. Then Phil Kessel simplified shit. Had to be nice for the young man from Wisconsin to score after the Canadiens fans booed America's national anthem.
Unlike a Canadien, when Kessel brought the puck up ice and had an opponent's stick hassling his advance, he didn't flop to the ice hoping for a call. He continued to skate into the offensive zone. Eventually, Komisarek made an ill-advised pass, and the punk-bitch Greg Stewart couldn't find the puck. Wideman blasted away from the point and Kessel was in great position to redirect it home. The Bruins took a 1-1 lead into the locker room, and the once raucous Bell Centre crowd quietly sipped their wine coolers and champaign smoothies in between periods... worried, nervous, scared shitless.
When Lucic got suspended, I was pissed, mostly at him. My anger lessened when I realized Byron Bitz would likely replace him on the roster. Byron didn't let me down. His physical forechecking on the 4th line, followed by a perfect pass to Shawn Thornton gave the Bruins a 2-1 lead 3:36 into the 2nd.
The Habs got it back, then Michael Ryder made it a 1 goal game again.
If someone were to write a hockey textbook about how to play with a 1 goal lead in the 3rd period of a playoff game, the Bruins' effort in the final 20 minutes would be the guideline. High percentage passes, the only penalty they took was thanks to a Carey Price dive, they stood up on their blue line, Bergeron and Savard played excellent defense and forechecking, and Kobasew's empty-netter was beautiful. Koivu committed about 3 penalties as Kobasew sailed toward the crease and tapped it in.
Speaking of Koivu, how much little shit does that little bastard get away with? Have you ever seen him chased from a faceoff circle? Nope.
The Bruins were remarkably cool in this game. After playing like crap for 15 minutes, they clamped down, and remembered how to play hockey. Montreal went up 1-0, so what? Byron Bitz was hit late by a Hab, but didn't push the envelope when he had a borderline chance to get revenge on the same shift.
The Habs pulled all their little tricks, 3 guys brushing against Shawn Thornton when he changed. Doing their own line changes just half a second earlier than other teams are allowed to do. To the credit of the referees, they didn't fall for most of the diving, and called a great game.
Fun fact: The Bruins are 11-3 vs. Montreal since Game 2 of last year's playoff series.
How much do other Bruin fans miss Glen Metropolit, because I know I do. He's slick.
The Bruins go for the sweep Wednesday night in Montreal. And Lucic will be back, so the Habs will once again turtle and shirk in fear like thousands of Japanese when Godzilla shows up.
AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Paul Chiasson
AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Ryan Remiorz
The Sox are finally above .500 again, and have swept the Orioles in a 4 game Fenway series for the first time since 1995. Bailout starter Justin "The TARP" Masterson received 12 runs of support and registered a respectable 5.1 innings of 1 run work. Delcarmen, Okajima, and Lopez filled in the rest, along with Hunter Jones in his MLB debut.
The Red Sox scored 30 runs in this 4 game set with Baltimore, or 7.5 runs a game. But let's not forget that the 10 run and 12 run games dramatically skew that average. But it was still nice to see some crooked numbers put on the scoreboard.
The first 4 hitters in the Sox lineup were a combined 10 for 18, with 3 doubles, a triple, 3 walks, 7 RBI, and 7 runs scored. 7 Red Sox had hits, 8 knocked in runs, 7 scored runs. Pedroia's 4 for 6 outing upped his average to .281.
In a division with Tampa Bay, New York, and Toronto all tough to beat, it's nice to have the Orioles pitching staff to at least raise some offensive self-esteems. And I'm not trying to pile on the O's, I like them and think they're heading in the right direction, but they have a tough road to travel. The AL East is a guantlet this year.
The Man of the Game is Dustin Pedroia, who was 4/6 with 3 RBI. He had an RBI single in the 1st to make it 1-0, then another one in the 6th to make it 4-1, then another one in the 7th to make it 9-1.
Tim Wakefield goes Tuesday night against the Twins, who send 0-1 Scott Baker to the hill.
AP Photo/Michael Dwyer