Beginning to Feel a Lot Like : PLAYOFFS

The Bruins had their home finale tonight and got the extra point, beating the Islanders in OT to lock up 3rd place for the playoffs. The Bruins will square up against the number 2 seed, the Capitals (whom they also play in their season finale tomorrow night) whenever the NHL decides to get the playoffs cranked up. Latest news is that the series vs. WAS will start on Saturday.

Tuukka Rask was in net tonight and Bruce Cassidy did some shuffling with his bottom 6 up front. The Mayor of Walpole, Chris Wagner was back in the lineup on the 3rd line with Kuraly at center and Ritchie on the other wing. On the Merlot Line, it was DeBrusk, Lazar and (checks notes) Ondrej Kase who saw his first game action since Jan 28th, that’s over 3mos on the shelf.  Unfortunately Kase had to leave the game after the 2nd period with an upper body injury, hopefully it’s not concussion related.

The game had the feel of an exhibition game for much of the 1st period with the Bruins dominating on the stat sheet but with nothing to show on the scoresheet. Sometimes all you need is something to rally around, be it a big hit, a highlight goal or in the case of tonight’s game….. a cowardly play by a dirty player. No I’m not talking about Wilson and the Caps, tonight it was Komarov with a butt end on Pastrnak. On the ensuing power play Hall got his first of the night when he one-timed a Krecji feed at an almost impossible angle to put the Bruins ahead. Komarov got whistled for a double minor, and of course Home Boy Jack was calling for a major, and I have to agree with him. Call the major and then you can always walk it back to a double minor after reviewing it. If you don’t call it a major, you can’t change it. It’s as if the refs are unaware of the rule changes for this year.

Sound up to hear Home Boy Jack’s call

Originally tweeted by That's Hockey Talk (@ThatsHockeyTalk) on May 10, 2021.

The power play carried over to the 2nd, but was negated by a McAvoy hook and then was turned into a PK when Hall took a crosschecking penalty (for those keeping score, Hall drew 2 penalties but got whistled for 1, so he’s ahead on the night). It was good to see Hall with some emotion and getting a little nasty out there, welcome to the postseason. During the 4 on 3 Wahlstrom tied up the game at the LW circle off a pretty Barzal feed. Every time Barzal torches the Bruins, Cassidy must look at DeBrusk with disgust. Marchand put the B’s ahead again when Pastrnak stole the puck on a backcheck (yes, you read that correctly) and found Krecji coming off the bench on the wing. Krecji gained the faceoff circle and found Marchand at the edge of the blue paint. The pass had some mustard on it and Marchy redirected it past Varlamov from the left post. Just a few minutes later Barzal tied the game back up (do you feel the eyes upon you Jake?) when he came out of the LW corner and went high blocker on Rask. McAvoy didn’t see him coming until it was too late and the puck was on and off his stick so fast Rask didn’t have a chance. 

The Bruins carried the play in the first and the Islanders dictated the play in the second. I would’ve loved to hear Butchie peel the paint off the locker room walls in between the periods. The B’s came out with some jump and snarl and all of a sudden it felt like a playoff game. The Islanders didn’t land a shot on net until the 12-minute mark of the 3rd; oh yeah the boys were dialed in finally. Curiously the Islanders started Sorokin for the 3rd period in net, there was no explanation given for the goalie change during or after the game. The teams played with jump and took the body whenever possible, but both netminders were up to the task and kept the scoresheet clean for the final frame. Heading into OT, Cassidy matched speed vs. Barzal and actually put out DeBrusk, Pasta and Grzelcyk to defend. Of course DeBrusk had an OT bid as he walked in on the wing and with half the net open, he put it slightly high (10 feet over the net). It was a miss of Wesley-ian proportions. When he went to the bench he took out the frustration on his stick, and I have to admit I didn’t think he had the jam to actually break a stick, but he persevered.

Hall had the game winner and any words I can come up with will not do it justice. Witness:

Holy Hall says it all.

#NHLBruins

Originally tweeted by x – Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) on May 11, 2021.

One game left in the regular season. I expect it to seem like a pre-season game as there should be a lot of dusty numbers out there.

Plus/Minus

Plus:

  • Good to see Wags back out there after 5 games off due to injury. Seems like he was playing with his usual “good anger”.
  • Krecji-Hall-Smith is an unbelievable line. This signing couldn’t have worked out better.
  • I like how the Bruins didn’t run around and take any dumb penalties trying to get Komorov. He won’t fight (as Billy Jaffe chirped him pointed out numerous times on the NESN intermission) but they certainly didn’t miss a chance to put the body on him. If everything goes well, they’ll get to see the Islanders in the Eastern Division finals.

Minus:

  • Hate to see Kase get hurt. He looked good when he was out there and could be a huge boost for the B’s in the playoffs.
  • Rask looked good when he was tested, but he only faced 18 shots. Would’ve like to see him track the Wahlstrom shot better, but he can really shoot.
  • FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, PLEASE GET JAKE DEBRUSK OUT OF THE LINEUP. I honestly don’t know what he does out there. He floats, he’s weak on the puck, he doesn’t take the body and he can’t finish. Give me Frederic, Blidh, Senshyn, Kuhlamn, McKegg, anyone. I’ll take Clifton at wing over him at this point. Coyle can’t get back in the lineup fast enough.

Game Notes:

  • David Pastrnak scored his 200th career NHL goal the last game and was the 5th fastest to do so in NHL history.
  • Patrice Bergeron went 15-17 at the face-off dot tonight. Filthy.
  • Taylor Hall’s stat line since joining the Bruins: 8-6-14 in 16 games with a +15. Is that good?

Author: Brownie

Hockey fan/player from the greater Boston area.

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