Last night’s 1-0 loss to the Vancouver Canucks has been described as heart-breaking, devastating, and potentially season-ending. Though disappointing, I did not find the loss any of those things. If anything, I found the effort promising.
Four things that show promise for the Bruins:
- Most experts felt the Bruins would have a lot of trouble with Vancouver’s offense, especially the top line of Alex Burrows and Daniel and Henrik Sedin. However, Boston did a great job of controlling the twins (Daniel had eight shots, but very few that were in dangerous areas, and Henrik had no shots) and getting Burrows riled up and more concerned about hitting than scoring.
- Boston killed six Vancouver power plays. If there was one area Vancouver had a clear advantage in coming into the series, it was on special teams. The Canucks have the best power play in the league, and Boston has struggled at times killing penalties. That was a huge positive for the Bruins as the series moves along.
- It was physical – far more physical than I anticipated. The Bruins play their best when the games are hard-hitting, there are scrums and scraps, and people are getting a bit nasty in the corners and in front of the net. It’s their style. Even though most of the Canucks can play that way too, I believe that style of game suits the Bruins better. Boston cannot match Vancouver in a finesse game.
- Tim Thomas was unbelievable. He made great save after great save in the third period and looks to be in the zone. Vancouver has scored just two goals on Thomas in his first career games against the Canucks. If he plays like this, the Bruins can win this series.
That being said, the Bruins still need to do some things better if they expect to win the series. Obviously, they played a good game last night and lost, so there needs to be some tweaking done.
Three things the Bruins need to do better:
The Bruins need to find a way to get more traffic in front of Luongo. This happened at times, especially early, but it did not happen enough. Nashville and Chicago had success against Luongo by putting bodies in front of Luongo, throwing the puck at his skates, and looking for a bounce. Both teams got a lot of them thanks to the chaos caused in front of the crease area.
Johnny Boychuk cannot take unnecessary chances like he did in the neutral zone last night. If Boychuk stays
home instead of stepping up and trying to steal the pass to Ryan Kesler, that game goes to overtime. You cannot take a chance that late in the game unless you are down on the scoreboard.
The third line needs to show up. Other than Chris Kelly getting dropped by a quick jab during a scrum, the third line was invisible. I didn’t notice Tyler Seguin or Michael Ryder at all, and Rich Peverley, who is another key guy, was also not a factor.
- Should Alex Burrows be suspended?
Burrows clearly bit the finger of Patrice Bergeron during a scrum at the buzzer of the first period. I am a fan of Burrows, so I say no war. The last biting incident, in January 2009, saw Jarkko Ruutu take a two-game suspension for biting Andrew Peters. This is the Stanley Cup final though, not some regular season game, I say hit him with a hefty fine and move on.
- Why was Johnny Boychuk on the ice with under 30 seconds to play?
A better question might be why is Boychuk getting as many minutes as he does. WEEI.com’s D.J. Bean reported today that Boychuk has been on the ice for the last seven goals Boston has allowed. There’s no reason he should be on the ice at the end of a close game.
One guy who played his best for Boston:
- The only way Thomas was getting beat last night was on a perfect pass across the crease, and that’s what happened. Thomas deserved better, as he gave the Bruins every chance to win that game. If he plays like this throughout the series, Boston will win the Stanley Cup.
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