The Bruins are only 2 points out of 2nd in the Eastern Conference after beating the Islanders 3-2 last night. It was a game without stakes, without consequences, and wasn't very interesting. But it was a win.
What drew my attention most was the Bruins' special teams units. They continue to struggle. The PK unit allowed a goal. The Power Play unit failed to move and failed to score, even with a 2 minute 5-on-3. They even allowed a shorthanded goal. But give Michael Grabner and Josh Bailey credit for that one. The Bruins may have won 3-2, but they lost the special teams battle 2-0.
Special teams are so vital in postseason play because most playoff games are played against the boards, within tight coverage, and very little open ice play. When power plays come along, they're a rare opportunity to play with space and time. If the Bruins can't get their PP unit to score, they need to at least tighten up their PK.
I was puzzled to see Seguin, Kampfer, and Hnidy all scratched. This seems like a great chance to give minutes to all three. Perhaps over the weekend.
Daniel Paille has played himself onto the playoff roster. He's been doing all the little things and some big things the past few weeks. He had another excellent game last night.
And how cool is it to see Shawn Thornton score his 10th goal? He, along with Gregory Campbell, are among 6 NHL players to score 10+ times and fight 10+ times this season.
The Bruins play back to back games this weekend, hosting Ottawa Saturday afternoon, and travelling to Jersey on Sunday. Look for guys like Thomas, Chara, Lucic, Recchi, and Bergeron to get at least one game off. Look for Paille, Campbell, Ryder, Thornton, Kelly, and Seguin to get a chance to earn a spot in the starting lineup with some additional ice time.