Tuesday, April 06, 2010
The Bruins aren't playing tonight, but there four important games for them tonight. All of them are at 7. Rangers @ Sabres, Canadiens @ Islanders, Flyers @ Maple Leafs, Devils @ Thrashers.
In theory, the Bruins could still be in 7th and in a great position to make the playoffs. They'd only need 3 points to clinch a postseason berth. But that's only if the Rangers lose in regulation.
Also in theory, the Bruins could fall to 8th, and have only a 1 point cushion over those same Rangers.
The Rangers also play Wednesday night, so it's possible that the Bruins could fall to 9th before they play again on Thursday night. But they'd also have a game in hand.
So, yeah, this will be a stressful week for the Bruins and their fans.
Sox fans won't have to worry about the bulk of their rotation for a few years now, as the team and Beckett concluded a 4 year extension. The signing will keep Beckett in a Sox uniform until 2014. The Sox have John Lackey and Beckett under contract until 2014, Jon Lester until 2013 (with a $13M option for 2014), and Daisuke Matsuzaka until 2013.
Beckett's deal is worth about $68 million, which averages to $17 million a season. That's not cheap, but the length of the deal is excellent. If Beckett excels, then the Sox have gotten their money's worth. If not, the deal is short enough to be tolerated.
I still hesitate to call Beckett an "Ace." His career's been too up-and-down for that. But you're not going to find pitchers of his calibre for less money than this deal. And had the Sox, with a withered offense, not retained Beckett, they'd be screwed in 2011. There will be no free agent pitchers of his stature, and the free agent hitters won't be very impressive either. The Sox need to win with pitching.
Very few teams have gone down to Washington and left with any points. Only 16 times this season have the Caps allowed a visitor to get any points. Their visiting opponents have tallied a grand total of 26 points in 39 games (10-23-6 record). What I'm trying to demonstrate is that an OT loss in Washington is a good result.
Holding Washington to 2 regulation goals and 3 total is also a noteworthy achievement. The Caps average 3.85 goals per game. And remember the Bruins did this without Seidenberg and Stuart.
Apart from a few miscues, the B's played an excellent game, especially in their defensive zone. Dennis Wideman had his best outing of the season, scoring a goal and kick-starting the play that resulted in another.
But the Bruins' deficiencies were also made apparent in this game. Michael Ryder had a golden opportunity to score against Spaz Theodore, who'd gone horizontal. But Ryder utterly failed to elevate the puck into the 12 foot square hole in front of him.
Brooks Laich's game-winning goal in OT made me think about the Bruins' forwards. The puck hit Laich's chest, fell at his feet, and he reacted to it in half a heartbeat. Apart from Recchi, none of the Bruins are capable of this kind of quickness and awareness.
The Bruins have a few days of scoreboard watching before they host Buffalo on Thursday. Here's what the standings look like today:
Team - Games Remaining - Points
6. Montreal - 3 - 86 points
7. BOSTON - 3 - 85 points
8. Philadelphia - 3 - 84 points
9. NY Rangers - 4 - 82 points
10. Atlanta - 3 - 81 points
AP Photo/Nick Wass