The Force is Strong With This One

The Bruins took on the Pens again tonight in Pittsburgh; this time with a better result as Dan “Darth” Vladar got the nod for his first NHL start. Better pace, a recommitment to physical play with a noticeable improvement in team defense: and the B’s hang on to get a crucial 2 points in the standings with a 2-1 win. 

Let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves with any talk of a goalie controversy, but Vladar did play well and he looked comfortable with the speed of the game. He boasts a huge frame and his rebound control was superb. Vladar played really well, and it would be nice to have a young homegrown goalie in the system. Could this be the start of something…. No, let’s take about 20% off there good buddy…. There is no goalie controversy here. Although Vladar had the save of the game (season?) on Sceviour late in the first. He had the entire side of the net wide open and outta nowhere comes the paddle. Witness the robbery for yourself:

Kinda looks familiar…. something about that save tickles something in the deep recesses of my brain. A ghost from the past perhaps…..

Oh Timmy timmy timmy…… Calm down, take a deep breath. It was just his first start. I repeat. There. Is. No. Goalie. Controversy.

Besides Vladar in net, Bruce Cassidy inserted Oskar Steen into tonight’s lineup. Butchie mentioned a few different times today how much Steen liked to shoot the puck. Did everyone in the locker room hear that? Just another subtle reminder that he’s looking for secondary scoring. David Krecji was with Jake DeBrusk and Craig Smith to start the game, with Charlie Coyle centering Nick Ritchie and Steen. The 4th line had Trent Frederic, Sean Kuraly and Karson Kuhlman for the 2nd game in a row and as usual, the Erection Line remained ready to go. 

The Bruins jumped out early on the power play with Pasta getting his 13th on the year. Matt Grzelcyk (who put on an absolute skating clinic tonight) found Marchand with a bank pass coming out of the zone. Marchand carried into the o-zone on the left wing and smoked a pass to Pasta in stride at the opposite dot. Pasta came across and went forehand-backhand-5 hole and the Bruins were out in front. Jarred Tinordi set the tone early with some big checks on Malkin which put him out of the game later in the first period. Watch the video all you muppet Caps fans, this is how you effectively and CLEANLY check an opposing player.

Later in the period the Pens tied it up on a Tanev goal. Coming in the “vunerable minute” after killing off a penalty, the Bruins were scrambling in their own end and paid the price. Jakob Zboril had the chance to clear it, but instead of going off the glass and out, he put the puck in the stomach of Kapanen who ended up getting the puck on net where it was redirected by Rodrigues then off Vlader to Tanev standing at the right post: tie game. I’m faulting Zboril on this play. Not only did he not clear the puck, he then tried to play the puck in front of the net (missing it) while not clearing out Tanev. For those of you scoring at home that’s a bad clear, a missed puck and not taking the body. The absolute mush trifecta. 

In the 2nd period an ugly play happened with about 7 minutes left: Tanev hit Tinordi with what looked like a clean hit with an unfortunate result. It seemed as if Tinordi’s head hit the boards and he may have been out for a moment or two (100% pure speculation). The stripes got together and gave Tanev a major for boarding. After conferring and watching video, they upheld the call and the Bruins were awarded the 5 minute PP with Tanev getting the misconduct. Here’s my opinion: This is how the NHL should handle these types of hits. With the amount of cameras in the arena, and Toronto able to call down from the war room, you should call the major and then reverse it if the play doesn’t warrant the penalty. If the NHL is reviewing offsides calls, they can review these type of hits. However, I believe all of these reviews should be done at game speed. Breaking it down to frame by frame distorts the entire sequence.  In my opinion it was a charge due to the distance that Tanev came to deliver the hit. Another factor weighing in on Tanev getting the major: Pierre Lambert #37 was one of the refs tonight and he was also one of the officials for the referee gong show series vs. Washington. I’m guessing he got his pee-pee whacked and he had that major loaded up in the holster. Of course, the Bruins didn’t cash in on the PP and the teams headed to the 3rd all tied up. 

Trent Frederic scored the game winner just prior to midway in the period with a wicked wrister from the high slot. Pasta came out from behind the net with the puck but got in trouble in the corner, but (of course) Bergeron was there to dig the puck out and work it back to Zboril at the left point. Freddie was driving hard into the zone and Zboril hit him on the tape. High slot – skate left – shoot right over the glove puts the B’s up by 2. Pittsburgh put the pressure on late, but Vladar was thankfully up to the task as the Bruins were playing short a defenseman.  

Up next are 2 games against the woeful Buffalo Sabres. Hopefully this game is one that the boys can build on with their Vezina/Calder candidate in net.

Plus/Minus:

Plus:

  • PK solid again holding the Pens scoreless in 4 attempts
  • Secondaryish scoring. Bergy got a helper on Freddie’s goal, but we’ll take what crumbs we can in terms of anyone else scoring.
  • Charlie McAvoy is an absolute weapon. This beauty logged over 30 minutes TOI tonight. The next closest was Grz with “only” 23:42. Nice young blue line corp the Bruins have built.

Minus:

  • The Bruins went O-fer on the major. Nothing swings momentum like killing off a major penalty. The Bruins need to cash in on the man advantage.
  • Another defenseman out. Hopefully Tinordi is back quickly, but the way he had to support himself using the dasher on the way off the ice didn’t look good.
  • I get it that DeBrusk has been better, but I’m keying on him during the games and he started to do the flybys again tonight in the second period. He needs to bring the max effort every night… unless their plan is to leave him unprotected in the Seattle draft?

Game Notes:

Good to see Vladar get the W tonight. That kid deserved this after that horror show the Bruins put him through in the Toronto bubble. In case you don’t remember: Vladar came in to the game with the Bruins down 4-1 to the Lightning in game 3 of the series. He got lit up for 3 goals on 15 shots (although statistically he did better than Halak did that game), and there was concern that his career was going to be over before it began. Good on him to make it back and to play as well as he did tonight.

Author: Brownie

Hockey fan/player from the greater Boston area.

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