It was the best of times, it was the blurst of time?!
Once again the Bruins proved that during one game they can be two totally different teams. In the first two periods, the Bruins came out buzzing like the bees that come out of the mouth of the dog that bark and shoot bees at you.
In the third period, the Bruins packed it in and went back on their heels. They had to rely on their goaltender to win this hockey game. Now a lot of Anti-Tuukka people won’t want to hear that Tuukka Rask was a big reason they won the game when you consider the stops he made in the last two minutes, but fuck em.
When you watch the team during the third period and they do that shitty little prevent system they like, we all immediately start acting like this:
What the Bruins did well this game is they continually attacked the Lightning defense and basically sent up a camp in their offensive zone. Throughout the first two periods, the Bruins didn’t allow much to get to Tuukka Rask. What they did allow, Rask did a fine job of stopping.
At about halfway through the second period, the Lightning seemed to turn on the jets and speed past the Bruins defenders. There were three times in that latter half of the period where Lightning forwards had a clear path to Rask, two of those times being Tyler Johnson and Rask made two out of three saves (the first Johnson moment was ruled a no goal because the puck didn’t fully cross the line).
So before I go into who was good, great and wonderful let’s have some takeaways.
- The Boston Bruins can actually play very good hockey.
- They can’t do it for 60 minutes.
- The Bruins are starting to get goal scoring from someone not named Pastrnak or Marchand. This will absolutely help them because there will be times where those guys will hit slumps and the Bruins will desperately need guys like Krug, McAvoy and Heinen to step up.
- Tuukka Rask was fine tonight.
- Zdeno Chara and Charlie McAvoy are one hell of a pairing.
Charlie “Calder” McAvoy
Charlie fucking McAvoy people. At 19 years old, McAvoy averages over 20 minutes per game, quaterbacks a powerplay, plays sound defensive hockey (for the most part) and has a corsi of 53.56 – the best among any Bruins defenseman.
He’s an absolute monster on the ice and we’re starting the Charlie Calder campaign. McAvoy opened the scoring tonight with a howizter on a beautiful pass from Pastrnak.
If this is what Charlie McAvoy turns into on a consistent basis, he’ll be one of the elite defensemen in the NHL for a long time. Shit, he’s already getting compared to a young Drew Doughty because he is both offensively skilled and defensively sound.
I said on the upcoming The Optional Skate podcast that Charlie McAvoy is the Bruins best well-round defenseman right now and his play against the premiere team in the NHL proved it to me.
Charlie. Fucking. McAvoy.
When I saw Riley Nash was the second line center tonight, I threw up in my mouth a little. Riley Nash isn’t the kind of guy that you want on your second line…is what I thought until I saw him play the type of game he played.
It wasn’t just the goal. The goal was nice and was helped by a beautiful setup by Danton Heinen but Nash really was everywhere tonight. He won 47% of his faceoffs, logged over 17 minutes of ice time and, again, scored.
The thing about the goal was it was a snipe and a half. I didn’t think Riley Nash was capable of such things if we’re being honest.
Danton Heinen and David Backes
You know, these guys played with Nash all night and all were incredibly effective. Heinen had the wonderful assist and continues to prove that he’s an asset to this Bruins team. If Heinen can keep up 65% of this production, the Bruins will be good to go. He’s basically filled the role I thought Frank Vatrano was going to play – a young playmaker who has the potential to put goals on the board while making the guys around him better.
Backes also played very well. That isn’t considering that 27 days ago he underwent surgery for diverticulitis. While Backes didn’t find the scoresheet tonight, his biggest play was a diving stop to break up a breakaway in the second period.
You can look at the numbers and make all the decisions you want.
.905 SV%, 2.00 GAA.
That’s your call to make.
Here is what I’m going to tell you – Tuukka Rask saved the Bruins bacon a couple of times tonight. The big saves that stick out in my mind are the save on Nikita Kucherov, the save on Stamkos in the last 1:30 and the final save around 10-5 seconds left.
When Rask was announced as the starter tonight, everyone made jokes on the DOY FB that the Bruins were fucked and he would let up a shit ton of goals. On expectation alone – against the second best goal scoring offense in the NHL (and first in GF/G) – Rask won.
Krug’s goal was insert chef making that kiss with their hands thing but more importantly, he was sound defensively. That’s the big part here. Krug has had a really tough year defensively and he was able to not make any mistakes against a really good team.
The goal is the icing on the cake, sweet baby.
It’s 11:11pm and I’m tired. That’s pretty bad.
The Bruins third period gameplan is a garbage fire. I don’t know why the Bruins always pack it in during the third period when they have a lead? Nine times out of ten it allows the opposing team to mount a comeback and put more shots on the opposing goaltender than needed.
The Lightning had more shots in the third period than the first and second combined and that’s because the Bruins allowed them to take both the offensive and neutral zones by sitting back and packing it in around Rask.
Stop doing that.
Where Tuukka Rask goes from here is the biggest question. He lost to one of the worst teams in the league, but he beat one of the best and was good whilst doing it.
We talked about it during EP 39 of The Optional Skate (OUT NOW!)
where the Rask vs Khudobin line is. Rask is your starter. Khudobin is hot. Play the hot goalie.
But whatever, it’s now 11:30 and I’m fucking tired.