Colorado Avalanche at Boston Bruins
Goals: Milan Hejduk (Colorado)
Goalies: Semyon Varlamov (1.000%), Tuukka Rask (.972%)
This game was fast-moving (not too many faceoffs) and had few penalties. Speaking of faceoffs, we were pretty good at winning them.
Tuukka Rask was stellar in net, stopping all but one shot, perhaps reminding people of how good he was in 2009-10.
That PBR line of Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand and Rich Peverley worked well and tried hard. It was also Marchand’s 100th NHL game!
Right, I don’t know what happened, but the stellar team we saw on Saturday night wasn’t here today. They just weren’t. Especially in the first period, we had dreadful trouble just trying to get out of our own zone. Because of this, Colorado was able to get tons of shots on goal, which they then continued to do for the rest of the game.
The top line of Milan Lucic, David Krejci and Nathan Horton seemed lackluster. The NESN guys were wondering why Lucic wasn’t being as aggressive and I wondered that as well. Krejci and Horton both tried, but just didn’t produce like a top line should. In fact, it was the PBR line (I am making that happen) that really pulled the weight here, but the second line alone shouldn’t be expected to shoulder all the burden.
What on Earth were the defensemen doing? Sometimes on scoring chances–see below for more about scoring chances–I’d see just one or two guys in black and yellow in Colorado’s high-trafficked zone, but they were all forwards. We have great d-men…when they choose to play great. Heck, we have the tallest guy in the NHL. Couldn’t he have just casually inserted himself into Semyon Varlamov‘s crease whenever he was in the area?
Epic, constant disappointment on various scoring chances thanks to a number of factors described above had me shouting at my TV in manner of Tyra Banks dressing down an immature America’s Next Top Model contestant. (“I was rooting for you! WE WERE ALL ROOTING FOR YOU!”)
I didn’t want to believe the NESN commentators when they said that in the past, the Bruins haven’t played their best when Tuukka’s in net for some reason, but this game led credence to their theory. Why? Tuukka is a very gifted backup goalie, as we saw today, making some pretty heartstopping saves and keeping the door shut on 35 shots even when Colorado kept peppering him. Does the team need to have Tim Thomas literally tell them “You know, it’s perfectly alright to play like Stanley Cup champions even when Coach decides to have me wear the ball cap?” (Speaking of, he didn’t wear one today.) If that is what it takes, please make it happen somehow, hockey gods, or else I’m going to start dreading when I hear 40 is going to be in net and that’s not fair to Tuuk Tuuk. (John Bishop reported postgame that the team gave Rask the credit he deserved and felt that he deserved a better game. Well, you’ve only got yourselves to blame.)
In summary, it’s simply not going to cut it if you just swan in assuming you’re going to win because the other team isn’t known for its recent successes and, well, you are. You have to work together as a whole team, not just as a really good line nicknamed for a beer known for its low prices or as a pretty good backup goalie. This team needs to realize that before it goes on the road to Raleigh.
at Carolina Hurricanes
October 12, 2011
Come on, boys! We’ve got to do better! I believe in you!