Friday, March 12, 2010
BRUINS GROUND FLYERS
168 minutes, 57 seconds. That was the gap between multi-goal Bruin leads. It was March 6th on Long Island when the Bruins last held a 2+ goal advantage.
I'm going to bathe in this victory a bit. Not just because I hate the Flyers. Not just because I hate Philadelphians and Pennsylvanians. Not just because it was the B's first multi-goal margin of victory since February 7th. Not just because this was without Savard. Not just because the Bruins have a 5 point cushion over the 9th place Rangers (and a game in hand). Not just because Philadelphia is a playoff team.
But because it was the best Bruins game I've seen them play since... well, a long enough time. In a pre-game interview, Mark Stuart said the team was hoping for an "ugly win," simply wanting anything to get them 2 points. This win was far from ugly.
Normally, my Bruins' recaps are an airing of grievances, Frank Costanza on Festivus style. But this will be the opposite: a list of praise, because quite a few Bruins put in very good efforts last night.
Tuuka Rask got Daisuke Matsuzaka support from his offense, but he had an excellent game in his own right. He made a huge cross-crease save in the 1st when it was 0-0, and that certainly changed the dynamic of the game early on. He also made another athletic stop when it was 4-1, which essentially closed the door on the Flyers' chances of winning.
Patrice Bergeron had a goal and 2 assists in an excellent three-zone performance. The Bruins need his offense in order to consistently score goals.
David Krejci and his line looked like they did last year. Krejci-Wheeler-Ryder totaled 70 goals last season. They're only up to 41 this campaign, but they were outstanding last night. Wheeler's first goal was the end result of textbook hockey played in all three zones. Wheeler and Ryder harassed the Flyers as they tried to carry through the neutral zone. Then Wheeler forced a turnover, passed it up to Krejci, who carried it into the offensive end. Then Wheeler got it, and calmly made a slick move that beat Leighton and put the B's up 1-0.
Brad Marchand's stat line looks pretty dull. 11:02 on ice, 1 hit, 0 shots, 0 assists, 0 blocks, 0 PIM, etc. But that one hit was when he sent James van Riemsdyk over the dasher and into the Philly bench. Marchand had a solid night, didn't make mistakes, played within himself, and did what he could when he could.
The same can be said of Vladimir Sobotka, who was a bit busier. He made his presence felt, and I was actually surprised to see that he was only on the ice for 12 and a half minutes because he made so many solid plays with and without the puck.
A lot of people have whined that the "Bruins didn't do anything on deadline day." Tell that to Dennis Seidenberg. It's fun to watch him and Chara play on the ice at the same time. And it's a relief to have him on defense as opposed to Derek Morris. Seidenberg had his best game in black and gold. He had a clever assist, was a deserved +3, and blocked 4 shots. Maybe it's because he's from Villingen-Schwenningen, Germany, but he's quickly found a place in my exclusive Bruin Binky Club.
I'll give marginal credit to Dennis Wideman too. He had a good game, and was actually consistent for 60 minutes.
Mark "Crazy Eyes" Stuart scares me sometimes. Lucic and Thornton might be the brawlers on this team, but Stuart has the most rage. A pair of fighting majors and a nice display of intensity.
The Bruins are 7-2-1 in their last 10. Hard to believe.
Now, this is just one game, one mile-marker on a very long and harsh road. There's a big game on Saturday in Montreal that has lots of playoff implications. It starts at 7.