Friday, February 12, 2010
The Bruins scored 5 goals on their way to their 3rd win in a row. That's the most goals they've scored since December 23rd. The B's are also on a 5 game point-streak, and haven't been trailing in any of those games.
But it wasn't as pretty as it should have been or could have been.
The first 30 minutes was sheer dominance. The best the Bruins have looked since Game 2 of the season when they crushed Carolina 7-2. They got 21 shots off in the 1st. After the first 7 minutes of play, Tampa Bay didn't get a single puck on net in the opening period.
But in the 2nd, the Bruins only got 5 shots on goal.
Remember Mighty Ducks 3? The Ducks get recruited to play JV hockey for some prep school. In their first game they score like 8 goals, and everyone's real impressed, then they allow 8 goals in the 3rd period. That's what this game reminded me of.
I actually felt worse about the game AFTER the B's scored the 5th goal. The Bruins play awful when they have leads. And the bigger the lead, the worse they play. They lose their focus and the fundamentals breakdown.
Tuukka Rask is not God. He's mortal (unlike Manny Fernandez) and he has flaws. Flaws which can eventually be polished, but they're still there. All the "Tuukka Time" jerks out there are quick as Mercury to point out Tim Thomas' foibles and miscues, so when I criticize Rask, just shutup and deal with it.
He closes up his 5-hole well enough, but he is slow to close it. That comes with being 6' 2". He's not anticipating things well enough. Again, that can improve with experience. He doesn't steer rebounds away as well as some goalies (Thomas). He's wretchedly indecisive handling the puck.
He's the hot goalie, and if a playoff series started tomorrow, I'd want Rask in net because he is the hot goalie. But he is human.
Had the Bruins blown this game, the season would've ended. No exaggeration here. To surrender a 5 goal lead against a playoff competitor, right before going into the Olympic Break. That's utterly devastating. And guys like Derek Morris did their best to sabotage this win.
I wish the Bruins would alter their breakaway strategy. When you're up by 2+ goals, you're going to force turnovers and get odd man rushes up ice. The Bruins fail to score about 99.9% of the time on these rushes. And what they often do is create a rush for the opponent.
It's simple math. You have a 2-on-1 edge going up the ice, that means your opponent has a 4-on-3 advantage behind you (or worse if you're changing lines). So puck possession is precious in these situations. Unless there's a good scoring chance with the goalie out of position, the B's should hang onto the puck and wait for everyone else. Try to set-up a sustained possession, keeping the puck 150 feet from your own net.
When up 3 or 4 goals, the Bruins need to summon their inner Bill Belichick and "run up the score." The best way to protect a lead is to add to it.
Despite the near tragedy, a win is a win is a win. Michael Ryder looked confident for the first time this season. I think going against Nittymaki, who he's owned in the past, was a good opportunity for him to once again find that scorer's mentality.
Oh, and fuck Steve Downie. Guys like this just piss me off. He tries to fight with Satan, who has been in 2 fights in his 14 year career (Thanks Hockeyfights.com!) Then he instigates Chara by punching him in the back of the head, then Chara turns his 6' 9" 250 pound body around, and suddenly Downie shrinks and turtles.
If you don't want to fight Chara, who is nearly a foot taller and has 50 pounds on you, then don't strike him in the back of the neck. Don't pull on Superman's cape.
Although the whole thing reminded me of this video...
Bruins end their Florida excursion Saturday night against the Panthers. Why does Florida have 2 teams and Wisconsin has 0?
AP Photo/J. Meric