Thursday, April 26, 2012

Bruins Lose With a Capital L

On the bright side, I get to trim my beard. That's good because it was getting a bit unruly. Some tomato sauce got caught in it and since my beard has a reddish hue, I was never certain that I got all the sauce out.

Anyway, to the game and the series.

The Capitals played to 100% of their potential. The Bruins fluctuated between 80% and 100%, mostly hovering around 90%. Rarely reaching 100%.

We're going to here the theories. It's amazing how small minded people come up with the biggest and most complex explanation of things. They'll blame the so-called "Cup hangover." They'll say the Bruins celebrated too much in the off-season. They might even point to Tim Thomas not visiting the White House.

I'm more simplistic. I see David Krejci not scoring goals and just think that he's not a very consistent player. I see Milan Lucic skating up the ice before he has full possession of the puck, turning it over on his own blue line. That's something the Bruins have done many times, both before and after winning the Cup. I see brad Marchand trying too hard to make plays on his own.

These aren't complicated things. The Bruins didn't execute. It happens. It happened in the 2011 Cup run too. Just not 4 times in a 7 game stretch.

Krejci and Lucic made the right plays at the wrong time. They'd fling the puck in front of the net, but not when the Bruins had any bodies in front. They didn't do much in the offensive zone that had any purpose. Only Seguin did a good job supporting the play. Only Seguin looked dangerous in the offensive zone.

I missed Mark Recchi in this series. His timing to get to the front of the net was something the Bruins were sorely missing all series long. Holtby was giving up rebounds, struggling to smother loose pucks, and frequently made mistakes with his glove. But there were no Bruins hovering around the net, pouncing just as the shot got in, and getting body position to capitalize on rebounds.

Holtby was the story of this series, but not the star. He did a great job, but the Bruins did a poor job of making him work to make saves. No traffic, no second-chance opportunities. Lots of perimeter shots that he was able to see clearly.

Anyone who wants to blame Thomas for this series loss is a fool. He wasn't godlike, as he was in 2011. But how perfect would he have needed to be last night?

Defensively, the Bruins did a good job shutting down the Caps. But most of the top 6 Bruin forwards did nothing on offense. Kelly's line produced at the start of the series. Then the defensemen took over. Seguin and Peverley combined for 5 goals, which is 1/3 of the Bruins' total offensive production. Bruins forwards only scored 11 goals. The top 6 scored 7 goals, and 5 of those were Seguin's and Peverley's

Krejci had 1 goal. Marchand had 1 goal. Lucic had 0 goals. Bergeron had 0 goals.

One of these guys needed to produce. Just one.

The Bruins needed their scorers to score. They were never going to outmuscle the Caps. These aren't the Canadiens, the Lightning, or the Canucks. Alex Ovechkin is 230 pounds. He doesn't shy away from physical contact, he initiates it.

So now comes a long off-season. Will Thomas be back? Will the Bruins get a "scorer?" Will they try to construct a true top line. We have plenty of time to find out.

Photo Credit:
AP Photo

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