Follow Your Leader

In Bruce Cassidy’s pregame presser, he called today’s game a “must correct game” when asked if the team was facing a must win scenario. Cassidy has focused on defensive responsibilities of the forwards as well as a team wide need for urgency. The Bruins started off the year 10-1-2 but have since gone 1-4-0 over their last 5, and it hasn’t gone unnoticed in the room. Brandon Carlo summed it up after the last two games: “This doesn’t happen here. It can’t go on any further than this. This is unacceptable.” 

If you look back at the history of the Bruins’ organization, there’s one theme that has been constant: Team Defense. From the days of Eddie Shore and Johnny Bucyk to Bobby Orr and then Ray Bourque it’s always been about defense. Never was it more apparent than when the B’s won the cup under Claude Julien with Zdeno Chara and Dennis Seidenberg as the shutdown tandem. Sure, the idea of being the Big Bad Bruins got all the hype and was featured on Don Cherry’s Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em videos, but it’s the commitment to team-wide defense that’s been their calling card. Derek Sanderson back in the day was (on the ice) someone to model a responsible game after, and Stevie Kasper was so good at shutting down Wayne Gretzky that the Kings traded for him so Gretz wouldn’t have to face him anymore. That lineage leads us to the captain of the Boston Bruins: Patrice Bergeron.

You want to set the tone? How about you plant Lindgren with a monster check on your first shift. How about you lead all Bruins’ forwards in TOI. How about you win 10 out of 13 face-offs to the tune of a 76.9 face-off percentage. How about you are the first guy back on D all game.  Every. Single. Goddam. Shift.  Less than 4 minutes to go in the game, this legend is out there on the PK beating the absolute shit out of Blackwell. You want to show younger teammates what it means to play a 60-minute game? Want to show how to impact a game without showing up on the scoresheet?

Bergy will show you the way. 

Charlie Coyle got it going about 7 minutes in when David Pastrnak found him in-stride in the neutral zone to send him into the NY end. Coming down his off wing, Coyle put the puck backhand-forehand through Miller’s triangle and beat Georgiev far corner over the glove. After the goal, Georgiev was pulled to go through concussion protocol as he had Nick Ritchie literally sit on his head during a goalmouth pileup. With Shesterkin now in net, Trent Frederic got his stick on Connor Clifton’s shot from the point with less than 2 minutes left in the period and the Bruins were feeling it. Cliffy walked in off the wall at the blue line and looked off Lemeiux who bit on a D to D pass. He then put the puck on net and Freddie cashed in for the (as Kenny Alberts noted on the broadcast) first indoor goal of his career. 

The second period had Georgiev back in net after clearing protocol and the Bruins controlling the flow and pace. NY wasn’t getting any second chances in the Bruins zone and spent much of their O-zone time on the perimeter blasting away at the Bruins’ legs. Georgiev was huge in this period as the Bruins’ could have easily blown it open with a commanding 12-6 shot advantage (and that’s the MSG count: It felt like 18-3). Charlie McAvoy finally got one past him with a one-timer from the blue line off a Pasta feed. I guess you could say that he was spoon-fed from Pasta? Heeeey-oh.. No? Ok, continuing… Chuckie Bright Lights put one on net that Georgiev didn’t see until it was over his blocker and the B’s were up 3-1 heading into the third. 

In the 3rd it was more of the same as the Bruins dictated the tempo. NY got on the board when Blackwell got his 5th of the game and then trucked Greg McKegg. He then stood over him running his mouth. McKegg took exception and the pair were sent to the box. I must have been watching a different feed from Brian Boucher since he couldn’t figure out why McKegg was so mad but you could clearly see him (figuratively) waving his dick in McKegg’s face after he knocked him down.  Coyle ended the scoring late in the game with an empty netter during a 6 on 4 NY power play. The rare ENG/SH goal for Coyle’s second of the afternoon. 

At the final faceoff, Ritchie squared off with Lemeiux to answer for sitting on Georgiev I guess? Low key savvy vet move from Ritchie to back off and shed his gloves as Lemeiux is known for being quick to drop and start throwing. I’ll give the fight to Ritchie since I think he landed the bigger shots and I also think that Lemeiux is a piece of shit descended from an even bigger piece of shit. 

A good full game effort from the boys and let’s hope they can keep it going. 

Plus/Minus:

Plus:

  • Full game effort from (almost: see first minus below) the entire roster.
  • Kampfer and McKegg in for their first games and Kuhlman got in for his 3rd. There was some rust, but I thought they played well enough for what they were asked to do.
  • Rask was very sharp. Coming off a brutal game, he played well and was engaged despite not facing a lot of shots. There were some flurries where he was huge and kept things calm.

Minus:

  • Jake DeBrusk. I think he’s trying. He seems to be skating hard (mostly) but at this point, if he can’t get anything going; I’d rather see him with a night off instead of Wagner or Bjork.
  • Does no one know that Craig Smith is right handed? Studnicka fed him for a tap in on the complete opposite side and then later in the same period Coyle missed him in the slot.
  • Urho Vaakanainen. This falls into the nitpicking category. A few times the last couple of games I’ve noticed him getting bodied off the puck. I’d like to see him set his skates and give a little more pushback. Either that or get him in the gym.

Game Notes:

  • These fucking NY Karens. Every time there was a scrum, or a hit, or any little bit of contact NY was crying to the refs. It was ridiculous. If scumbags like Lemieux and Lindgren are going to run around out there during the big win on Friday, then you have to expect to get some back the next time the teams meet. Instead of taking it and giving some back, they spent all afternoon making puppy dog eyes at the stripes. Pathetic. That’s ten-ply bud.
  • Really liked Marchand’s comments that aired during the intermission. Much like Carlo, he took personal and team responsibility. That’s leadership and accountability.

It’s not acceptable to continue to play like this and we’re gonna work our way out of it. It may not be pretty, but we’re going to work our way out of it. We’re going to be a good team, there’s no question about that.”

Author: Brownie

Hockey fan/player from the greater Boston area.

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