Saturday, April 03, 2021
Tuesday, August 18, 2020
The Bruins showed us and the rest of the hockey world why they won the Presidents' Trophy in the third period of Monday night's game against Carolina. After playing with a regular season level of intensity in the first 40 minutes, the Bruins dominated the final period led by two goals from Jake DeBrusk.
Earlier in the game they were losing the battles along the boards and not just the 50/50 up-for-grabs puck battles. There were times that Carolina just took the puck away through will power.
Even though the B's got their act together in time, I'm growing concerned about Halak. The first two goals he allowed were soft. I'm worried Carolina might have found a weakness on his glove side that they'll be targeting for the rest of the series. The Hurricanes have had time to study Halak now, as opposed to Saturday when we learned he was starting about 2 hours before the puck dropped.
I'll conclude by mentioning that Zdeno Chara is 43-years old. That's amazing. He was drafted in 1996. How many NHL, Olympic, minor league/junior, Europe during lockdown games is that? He's played 189 NHL playoff games. And he's done it without hiring sketchy trainers or selling "immunity" products, like some other 40+ athletes we know.
Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown led the Celtics in scoring with 32 and 29 points, respectively, pushing the Celtics to their 109-101 win.
The Celtics dominated in the even quarters, combining to outscore the 76ers 64-45 in the 2nd and 4th. Tatum scored 15 of his 32 in the 2nd. And critically, Brown scored 15 of his 29 in the 4th.
I loved how well the Celtics played in the 4th in response to a 76ers surge in the 3rd. There were a handful of clutch defensive and offensive possessions, Daniel Theis was earning Tommy Points left and right hustling after the ball, besides Tatum's 15 4th quarter points there was Kemba Walker scoring 11 of his 19 total points in the 4th. And they hit their free throws.
Philadelphia put up a solid fight. They hit a lot of their shots early to keep pace with the Celtics. Then they started to roll in the 3rd, forcing the C's to have the great 4th quarter that they did.
We'll see if that fight continues in the rest of the series. We'll see how the Gordon Hayward ankle sprain pans out and the impact that has. After the stoppage and the abbreviated regular season conclusion, these 7 game series seem longer than usual for some reason.
Saturday, August 15, 2020
Plenty of things to like about the Bruins' Game 3 win over Carolina. They seemed to rally around surprise goalie Jaroslav Halak. There were stretches of this game that they outright dominated. Charlie Coyle looked stellar.
But there was still lots of room for improvement. I'm not trying to be negative, I simply want to point out that the Bruins made enough mistakes that a slightly better team (and maybe one that wasn't so focused on officiating) might have capitalized on to beat them.
Halak looked solid, apart from that brain fart behind the net. But don't forget that late in the 1st period he covered a puck right on the goal line. If that had gone over and the Bruins fell behind 1-0 late in the opening period, the game might look very different. This was much more of a game of inches (millimetres in Canada) than it appeared at first glance.
Anders Bjork's tripping penalty in the 3rd was so poorly timed and unnecessary. You dominate play for 5 minutes and then give up an opportunity by committing a penalty 180 feet from your net. Bjork had a hat-trick of penalties, on in each period.
All things considered, it was a big win. It was nice to see all the players on the ice giving a full playoff effort, which hasn't been the case for the Bruins since the season restarted.
Thursday, August 13, 2020
Define weird: watching the Presidents' Trophy winning Bruins who are also somehow the 4th seed team play a home playoff game in Toronto in front of no fans at 11am on a Wednesday.
I love Patrice Bergeron. Where does he fit all time in Bruins history? If you had to put 5 Bruins skaters on the ice in a do or die game I think Bergeron would have to be one of them. This was his fourth career playoff OT goal (most in Bruins history).
The Bruins looked better in this game than in any of the round-robins, but they're not quite playing at post-season levels. Maybe it was the odd circumstances around their game being delayed for 15 hours.
I'd like to see the Bruins do better at the things that are much more important in the playoffs than in regular season hockey. Specifically: board battles, puck support, zone entry/exit, hopeful passing.
Losing board battles isn't the end of the world, but you can't overly commit to a battle and allow the opponent to have space if they win the puck. This led to Carolina's first goal.
The hopeful no look passing works in regular season hockey but in the playoffs there's much less space, much less room for error.
I'm going to criticize Tuukka Rask next, so brace yourself. I'm not saying Rask is a bad playoff goalie. He's just not a great playoff goalie. On Brock McGinn's shorthanded breakaway how confident were you that Rask would make a big save? And on Carolina's first goal Rask was caught pushing a bit too much leaving enough space open for Edmundson to beat him.
Had the Bruins lost the game Rask would not have been the reason why, he also wasn't a big reason why they won.
Tuesday, August 11, 2020
Red Sox to move game start times to 11pm so people fall asleep before realizing how bad this team is
I couldn't stay awake during the late innings Monday night so watched the grim conclusion Tuesday morning. Not a great way to start the day.
It's depressing when this team scores 3 runs in the first, 7 in total, and because there aren't legitimate starters on the staff you're always feeling very much behind. And then after nearly 4 and a half hours you realize you're watching a team whose own ownership and front office isn't interested in, as demonstrated by the insulting pitching staff assembled.
Man of the Game: Manuel Margot
He was 4 for 4 with a pair of doubles, including an 8th inning RBI double that wound up being the decisive run. He also stole a base.
Kevin Kiermaier: 2 for 4, 3 RBI, 2B, 2 SB, BB
JD Martinez: 3 for 4, HR
Kevin Plawecki: 3 for 4, 2 RBI
Jonathan Arauz: 3 for 4, 2 RBI