Friday, November 13, 2009
The Bruins registered another fine defensive performance. Tim Thomas was stellar in net, the defensemen broke up play after play, and forwards like Bergeron and Bitz were outstanding in their own zone.
Offensively, not so bad, believe it or not. I know, I know, 0 goals is 0 goals. But the Bruins put 40 shots on Tomas Vokoun. And he had an amazing game himself, made no mistakes. And these weren't a sloppy 40 shots either. In my book, if you get 40 shots on net, you've at least had a decent offensive night.
One thing that worried me was that some Bruins lost their patience in the 3rd period. Michael Ryder exhibited none in the final period or the overtime. He tried some silly behind-the-back pass, and several times his attempted fanciness triggered Panther counterattacks. If not for teammates who were playing excellent Hockey 101, Ryder would have cost the Bruins the game.
Another shootout loss. The Bruins are 2-3 in OT/SO. But they were 7-10 last year, so this is hardly a new trend. Michael Ryder's fancyboy play was contagious, spreading to Blake Wheeler and Patrice Bergeron in the shootout.
When it was announced that Chara would shoot 3rd, I was happy. I figured he'd just rear back, and let loose with a 105 MPH slap-shot. Sort of like a closer throwing a high fastball. "If you get this, good for you." Instead, even Chara fell victim to impatience and fanciness.
And it simply wasn't intelligent shooting by Wheeler, Bergeron, Chara, and Ryder. They tried to get Vokoun to make a mistake and get out of position. That's something he hadn't done on 40 previous shots. Wheeler actually did get Vokoun to move, but couldn't execute.
It's frustrating, but worrying about shootout wins is something to do in February and March, not November. The goals will come, they'll come from solid defensive play, so long as the forwards remain patient. For now, just credit Vokoun with an outstanding performance and we can all move on to the next game. Which is at Pittsburgh Saturday night.
You do have to feel for Tim Thomas though. In his last 6 games, he's allowed 6 goals, and has only 1 win. He's in Pedro Martinez in 2001 territory now.
AP Photo/Charles Krupa