“Block the entrances, close the doors. Seal the exits cause this is war!” – Rise Against
It’s game day boys and girls. It feels like the Bruins and Canadiens took a fortnight off before getting ready for tonight’s tilt, but it’s here. I hope the Rush fans enjoyed giving both teams another off day (for those who don’t know, Rush played at the Bell Centre last night). I’m just jealous though because I’d love to see Rush. Now that the Bell Centre is all Moving Pictures’d out, it’s time to drop the puck and hope the Bruins can lock this series up at 2-2.
We all know by now what happened during Game 3, so I’m not going to dwell on it. To those complaining about coming close to blowing a 3-0 lead, close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades. Over the last few days, teams have given their fan base the right to complain with the Kings blowing a four goal lead two nights ago and the Rangers blowing a three goal lead last night. Again, only coming close to blowing a lead doesn’t mean shit. A win is a win and the Bruins won Game 3. It doesn’t matter how they did it. It wouldn’t matter if they won because Carey Price put the puck in his own net 5 times. In the playoffs, the only thing that matters is Ws and Ls.
A modern day warrior, mean mean stride; Today’s Tim Thomas mean mean pride….
So tonight the Bruins need a W. Plain and simple and there’s no way around it. For this to happen, the Bruins are going to have to do what they did in Game 3. Score first.
For the last three games, the team that has notched the first goal has won the game. Coincidence? Maybe, but there’s a trend that’s starting to form. If the Bruins want to stick it to the Habs, they need to score first AND not take their foot off of the gas. That doesn’t mean they have to keep popping goals into the net (though it’d be nice), but they need to keep rushing and attacking the offensive zone. Normally when Boston gets a two or three goal lead, they begin to coast. Claude loves to bring out this prevent style of hockey that doesn’t work for the team. It’s hurt them in the past and it was beginning to hurt them on Monday until Tim Thomas had enough and played out of his fucking mind.
That isn’t to say that Tim Thomas wasn’t part of the two goal problem. Both goals should have been stopped by Thomas. Keep the five hole closed, leave with a shut out – simple as that. The Plekanec goal was far worse than the Kostitsyn goal and definitely made me nervous. With that said, I’m not really worried about Timmy. He’s been a steady presence in net for the Bruins throughout the year, so I don’t see why that would change now. Did he give up two softies? Yes. Were they on Thomas and not a function of a defensive turnover or stupid mistake? Yes. That doesn’t mean the guy is a liability at all.
What does worry me, as it is worrying everyone else, is two things: Milan Lucic and the power play. First the power play. It’s simple to diagnose: it sucks. Bruins have been 0-11 for the series and the power play doesn’t look like it’s getting any better. Good thing Chiarelli gave away the farm for fucking Kaberle right? The problem is the Bruins are relying to heavily on the “Kaberle to Chara for a slapshot” philosophy and everyone knows it. Why do you think the Bruins are always having shots blocked? The Canadiens players know what’s going to happen on the power play so they shadow Chara, block the shot and eventually dump the puck into the Bruins defensive zone.
Milan Lucic also needs to wake up. He looks slow and out of place all the time. Even when he has the scoring chances (like the wide open chance in Game 3 where if he lifted the puck over Price, it was a goal) he’s whiffed. It’s an ugly sight for sure and I know it’s beginning to irk Bruins fans. The guy is a 30 goal scorer and has had 2 quality scoring chances off the top of my head. Montreal isn’t giving Looch the space he needs and he can’t handle it. He doesn’t create his own opportunities anymore or maybe he never did to begin with.
In the end the Bruins are going to win this game if they score first and stay 5-on-5. Their power play has been weak, their leading goal scorer is MIA and their penalty kill is overmatched against a good Habs power play.