This story is starting to get repetitive. The Bruins have the lead going in to the third period and then they just run out of gas. It happened again at the MTS Centre in Winnipeg this evening. The Bruins had held the Jets scoreless in the first two periods. Tuukka Rask was holding solid in goal, and the ‘Little Ball of Hate’ racked up his thirteenth goal (and team leading) of the season by sliding one past Ondrej Pavelec eight seconds into the second to put us up 1-0.
Then, as it has happened in five out of six times, the Bruins blew the lead in the third period. How? A soft goal. That seems to be Tuukka’s kryptonite. Put him in a situation where it will require an Olympic level save to make the magic happen for the Bruins, and he’s there. Have him face down a 2 on 0 breakaway, and he’ll make the tough save. Put a puck right in front of him, and have it sit there for a second or two before the other team just chips it in…. that’s where we have problems.
There are certain factors (in my opinion) cost us this game. First, we shouldn’t have seen Spooner on the first line tonight. Don’t get me wrong, I live in Providence and I’ve seen this kid play. He is no joke. He is a total stud in the AHL hockey world. However, AHL success doesn’t necessarily guarantee NHL glory. We brought him half way across the continent on the eleventh hour. We probably should have put him on the fourth line, moved up Paille to the third, Peverley to the second, and Bergeron to the lead line.
The ‘lead line’ which looked a bit too much like the LEAD line. We were out muscled by the Jets. (Yea, it sounded just as weird in my head.) We edged them out on shots (38-35), kept a slim lead on the face-offs27-24) and we had them 2 to 1 on give-aways. (15-7) Where we failed here was in what we’re good at. The physical game. The Jets out scored us in hits 33-17. When is the last time we got blown out on that category?
Well, we can’t change what has happened. The Bruins are 19-6-3, and thanks to the Buffalo Sabres who beat the Montreal Canadiens in overtime, we’re only down by two points on the Habs. Maybe this is just the hockey gods way of telling us how epic the Boston/Montreal game is going to be on the 27th. I hope so. To me, getting beaten by the Jets feels like being a team that gets moved to Phoenix (sorry Coyotes).