One game folks. Relax. As much as the Bruins tried to "drag the past out into the night", I would try to somehow be positive, and swagger as much as you can after getting beat down 8-1. How's that Dan, you crazy talker? What ? Well, it is what the players sounded like they were going to do with this one in the post game pressers. Flush it, forget it and come back with some swagger. They are still up 2 to 1 right?
Apart from the fact that we all know how fast it changes from one game to the next, I would also posit that the Bruins little Slapshot hockey display was something that might have been gotten away with in one game. Every shift a slash to the back of the legs, every shift another guy trying to stand up and show his coach how "we don't play like that", when that is exactly what they did, every time a Recchi or a Lucic or a Thornton shoved a glove in a face. ( I got pretty sick of the Simpsons and Healys and Milbury's of the world yapping about "old time hawkey!". Give me a break.) Its OK when their guys do that stuff, because we are the "victims here!"
They may have jacked up their team and their fans. But although it worked tonight, and the Canucks were a little overwhelmed late ( The part I was concerned about. They left Luongo out to dry late ), its just one game. The Marchand goal was impressive though, wasn't it?
The Bruins undoubtably did not impress the NHL as much as their fans. Every time they cut to Kris King, he looked unhappy, or was scribbling furiously. Maybe a bit was let go because they all know and played hockey, the guys like King. They have seen a teammate stretchered off before, ( I sincerely hope Horton is OK, BTW ), and let the response happen.
Don't get me wrong, I love physical hockey. Its how the game is played. But this was more than that tonight. The refs could have called a penalty every shift after the first period. Hey, the way the Canuck PP was going, maybe they should have just refused them! The visitors were no shrinking violets either. But the game was not like Slapshot in the first, and it was the Bruins that started all the childish schoolyard bully antics.
It will be a narrative the media will play up, that the Bruins "stood up". To what? I don't think Rome's hit had anything to do with their obsession with digits and dental work. On a night where the Canucks will probably get a suspension, rightly, there will undoubtably be a full tape on the Bruins Mr King will have to go over as well. If they do not get more disciplined, the Bruins will live in the penalty box in Game 4. Even with their penalty killing success tonight, that is not a smart thing to do.
It just seemed to be more manufactured and media induced than anything else. They heard all the cries and "insults" their fans took Lappy's attempted humour ( no one understands him! ) as. If the Bruins can come out on Wednesday with a similar effort, then I will eat my words. They certainly whooped our asses tonight. But that was tonight. We'll see what kind of bounce back our guys have. I expect they will still play physical. I would also say that there is no way the NHL lets the game descend into what happened tonight any more. The first two games of this series were hard and physical, but did not descend into Oggie Ogglethorpe territory. Tonight, for a variety of reasons, it did. I expect the NHL will not be happy with that, and that the tighter standard will benefit the faster, more skilled team.
Where do we start? There will be very few high scores of course, as is right. They lost 8 to frigging 1. But really, they outshot the Bruins 12 to 7 in the first, while killing off a major penalty. Things went down hill from Edler getting a broken stick at the wrong time. Don't get me wrong. Not letting our guys off the hook. They did not answer back that well at all. Part of that was the Bruins, and part of that the Canucks in the second period.
Before the rankings, lets have some perspective. Thomas held his guys in the first period, but he is not "in their heads" as Healy tried to say. Come on now. The Bruins had a great penalty kill, and he was very good. But expect all sorts of hyperbole in the off day that will focus on this result. They will tell you that Thornton turned things around ( he was good, but undisciplined, and Marchand was the Bruin that turned things around on that great 3rd goal ) , when his chirping the bench may have helped lead to the anomosity that made the guy he chirped step up on a late hit. How Lucic and Recchi "stood up for" their team to a joke. Fine. It all sounds a little too pat to this fan. After all this nasty stuff, I expect the next two zebras up to have quite different orders for Game 4. The Bruins got their pound of flesh tonight. I do not expect that kind of play to be allowed Wednesday.
Last word. Come on Bruins. Your coach talked about not doing that shit, and then that's what you do all night. No more talking about being the "classy team" any more. Kudos to Julien for talking to Lucic and him admitting that he was "classless" afterwards though. At least they aren't total hypocrites.
Poutine and Meatballs, and WTF happened to the PP Twins? ;
Henrik Sedin . Well, 25 shifts and 18:28 TOI included a whopping 8:45 of most ineffectual PP time. He was a -2, blocked a shot, had a hit, and a takeaway. he also took a hit from a goalie ( is that legal!? LOL ), and was overpowered physically a few times. 6.5/10.
Daniel Sedin was as physical as his bro' , with 1 hit tonight in his 21 shifts and 15:16 TOI ( 6:46 PP ). He had 2 shots on goal and was a -1. His 10 minute penalty was a joke, so I won't hold that against him. I would suggest of all the "tough" guys on the Bruins, the one that will have his number remembered is Ference. That elbow to Dank's head was long after the play was dead. Classy. 6.7/10.
Alexandre Burrows . Or lightening rod, as we should call him tonight. He was in the middle of a lot tonight. Somehow an even tonight. In 21 shifts and 13:30 TOI ( 4:28 PP / 1:58 PK ) he missed a shot, and was credited with one hit. He somehow was given 12 minutes for being attacked by Lucic from behind, and 2 for standing up to Chara. 7/10.
Kes' not so Lordly tonight :
Ryan Kesler . Somehow, when he is not dominant, there is something wrong with him, like Valk was trying to say tonight. Come on. I love how he stood up and sent a message back to sender tonight. In his 28 shifts and 18:11 TOI ( 7:35 PP / 2:07 PK ), he was a -3. He got outworked for the nicest goal of the night on the power play, letting Marchand get by him to get a shortie. But 4 shots, a block and 3 hits show he was at least putting in the effort. He had 3 penalties, but I am not blaming him for any of them. I mean, he got 15 minutes for the fight, and the minor was for a totally clean hit on Paille at a time the refs were scared of the game getting out of control and looking for anything to call to shut it down. Oh, and 11 of 16 draws won. All that eventful night adds up to a 6.99/10, I guess.
Chris Higgins though, gets my vote for one of the most effective players for the visitors all night. He had several great chances to score, including a breakaway in his 23 shifts and 16:27 TOI ( 6:24 PP / 2:05 PK ). 4 shots, a -1,1 block, 4 hits and a giveaway. One of the most effective Canucks on a tough night. 8/10.
Mason Raymond is trying hard. I'll give him that. He led his team with 6 shots, but seemed to get checked a lot too. In 22 shifts and 15:44 TOI ( 5:27 Pp / 1:42 PK ), he was also a -2, blocked a shot, and had 2 hits. Still a kind of "meh" game for him though. 7.2/10
Pull my finger ;
I am sure some of the TEAM callers will be blaming this ALL on Maxim Lapierre tonight. How his ( what I thought was funny, and good natured ) little finger thing was a rallying cry. Come on now. That is more the Bruins media and fans making sure that they take it as an insult. Whatever. I stand by what I said above, it all seems manufactured to me. In his 20 shifts and 11:37 TOI ( thats all? I thought there were fingers in his face more than that! ) ( :36 PP / 2:27 PK ), he had an assist, finished an even ( one of only three players, and one of them played 2 shifts and a minute and a half in Rome ), and won 9 of 15 draws. No shots on net, and only 2 hits is not quite enough. 7.2/10.
Jannik Hansen actually scored a goal tonight. He was his usual fast, abrasive self amongst the madness. In his 23 shifts and 15:06 TOI ( 1:31 PP / 3:53 PK ), he had 4 shots, was a -1, and blocked 2. 2 hits and a takeaway, and a 1 of 2 on the draws. 8.25/10.
Raffi Torres was physical force, at least. His 5 hits led his team. In 21 shifts and 13:12 TOI ( 1:04 of late, and totally ineffectual PP time ), a -1. 1 shot, 1 miss, and a penalty that was another of those the refs were handing out at the end for not that much. 7.1/10.
You know it's not your night when the 4th line is the best line ;
Manny Malhotra and his line got a ton of minutes in the third, when things were out of control. Their stats will reflect that. In 23 shifts and 14:58 TOI ( 1:27 PP / 2:46 PK ), he was almost mortal on faceoffs, with 8 out of 15 tonight. A -1, with 2 shots and 1 block, he and his line showed a lot of "no quit" when all that was left was the countdown 7.3/10.
It is a bit of a shame that Victor Oreskovich had to wait for a blowout to get extra time. He was a very good 4th liner tonight, and stood up well with the extra time. He was a -1 in his 17 shifts and 8:58 TOI ( ;46 PP ), had 2 shots and missed 1. The stat guy must have been looking down filling in the penalty portion too much though, as I am sure I saw more than the 1 hit he was credited with. 7.45/10.
Jeff Tambellini might not see the ice in Game 4 though. He was victimized by Marchand in the corner on the 5th goal, took a penalty that was equal parts stupid and not moving your feet, and just not the same spark plug he can be. A -2 in his 18 shifts and 9:17 TOI ( :54 PP, but don't get excited, it was on that mean nothing PP late ), he had 2 missed shots, adn somehow was credited with 2 hits when his much harder hitting line mate got 1. 6.6/10.
Even a deep blue line can have a bad night ;
Where to start ? Well, Aaron Rome, since he had the play that affected the result the most. Not so much the late hit ( and he has a meeting with King and Murphy tomorrow morning. I expect a game or two ), but the way it put his team down to 5 defense men way too early. I get the instincts, and the hit was well intended. But its way to late. The rest of this blather from the talking heads is just that. Jumping and all that. We dissect these hits back and forth on the PVR until we find something, but really, apart from the lateness that rightly caused the major and ejection, it was a pretty good hit. 2 shifts and 1:29 TOI. I hope Horton is going to be OK. 5/10.
Kevin Bieksa sure kept up his try level. Unfortunately, that was the extent of it. In 29 shifts and 24:46 TOI ( 7:35 PP / 3:48 PK ), he was a -2. He also led his team with 6 shots ( and missed another ) He got a misconduct for standing up for his teammates, but was credited with zero hits. That is surprising for him. 7/10.
Alexander Edler had one of the worst nights statistically. He was a -4 for crying out loud! But he also had 26:26 TOI that included 8:12 PP ( get the fucking shot through! ) and 4:05 on the PK. 5 shots ( 1 miss ), 4 hits, and 1 each of a takeaway and a giveaway. 6.65/10
He looked positively OK next to Christian Ehrhoff though. Maybe that is not fair. Its tough in a game like tonight to be down to 5 guys on the blue line, and his 27:53 TOI led his team ( 8:34 PP / 2:55 PK ), was a -3, 3 shots, 1 missed, 2 blocks and a giveaway. 6.3/10.
Sami Salo somehow was statistically the best defenseman tonight. He was a +1, the only plus on the team tonight. In his 32 shifts and 22:58 TOI ( 5:58 PP / 3:48 PK ), he had 1 shot ( missed 2 ), had 1 hit and 1 giveaway. 7.65/10.
Andrew Alberts tried to bring the same game as he had last game. Extra minutes, and uncertain partners did not help. That late goal ( 7th or 8th, they all started to blend together ), he and Ehrhoff were just outworked on the puck behind the net. I get that some of that was the circumstance, but it still was noticeable. In 26 shifts and 16:28 TOI ( :07 PP / 2:22 PK ) he was a -2, and had 1 shot on goal, 2 blocks, and 2 hits. 6.8/10.
LUONGOALZ!? Well, he did not have much help ;
Roberto Luongo let in 8 goals. He is not going to be treated kindly. But although he was not the wall we have come to expect, it was not all his fault. The first two had an element of luck. The third was an awesome play, but he went down too soon. The rest had various levels of fault for one and all. Sometimes it was his defensemen. Sometimes it was his forwards. Hell, the team's best defensive forward in these playoffs got walked by Marchand on the third goal. You knew after that second period it may not be his night. As usual, the CBC guys tried to find fault somewhere, and were kvetching about how he should have been pulled earlier. Meh. The last 3 goals were so quick. It was 4 nothing with a power play to start the third. You don't pul your "guy" in that situation. If the PP can actually score, you never know. He was not totally at fault on his night. He let in 8 on 38 shots. So, not so good. 6.66/10
Did you know the Canucks outshot the Bruins tonight, 41 to 38? They won the faceoffs 38 to 27. According to the stats, they gave the puck away 3 times to the Bruin's 12. The Bruins also won the takeaway stat 10 to 4 tonight though.
So, yes, the visitors got their butts whipped. Kudos to the Bruins for winning the game. Like I said above though, I am chalking this up to the Bruins getting way jacked by their fans, the "finger" non controversy controversy, and some "answering the insult" thing. It was great for them. But they will have to do something similar on Wednesday before I believe this is some magic turning point. If they do it, we have a helluva series that probably goes 7 games. But if the Canucks answer back like I expect them to on Wednesday, than this will just be one game, you know?
Note: remember the "give a shit" line is at 8. A player there did more to help his team than hurt. Yes, we can kibbitz and kvetch and get the numbers higher or lower. Two guys in the Report Card got to that point tonight, and Salo got close. There was plenty of suckage without worrying about a digit or two here or there.