Your Boston Bruins took the ice at home tonight welcoming the white-hot Calgary Flames for their only visit to the TD Garden this regular season. Sixty minutes later the Bruins were left looking for the license plate of the bus that ran them over as they got pumped 4-0 in front of the Black and Gold faithful.
Butch Cassidy rolled out the same lineup as last night except for Jeremy Swayman was in net facing the cast-off Daniel Vladar in the Calgary cage. From the opening shift you knew it was going to be an uphill battle for the B’s. Talk about a tone setter: First shift of the game Blake Coleman lit up Brandon Carlo with a reverse hit that sent the B’s defenseman off the ice doubled up the whole way. Luckily, Carlo was back after apparently only getting the wind knocked out of him, but it certainly didn’t allay any fears for the blueliner as Homeboy Jack described him as “on his hands and knees in the tunnel for many minutes”. You know I love the hyperbole Jack, but not about our guys!
Johnny Gaudreau opened up the scoring with what turned out to be the game winner only 89 seconds into the game when he put one past a sprawling Swayman. Juuso Valimaki with the slap shot and the rebound went right to Johnny Hockey at the left post for the open 4×6; 1-0 Flames. That was it for the scoring in the period as the Flames controlled the tempo and the pace from the opening face.
Can I digress a moment? Actually, this is my blog, so I’ll go off on any tangents I damn well please. When you talk about team identity; I’ve long held the belief that a team emulates its’ captain and the way they play the game. I’ve always been hard on the Capitals because I don’t think Ovechkin plays a complete game, much like I’ve always been a fan of the Pens and the Jets due to the way Sid and Wheeler both compete over the entire 200 feet. But what about when a team doesn’t have a captain? When Mark Giordano was left unprotected in the Kraken draft, Calgary lost their identity. So who does the team follow? Who do they pattern themselves after in the vacuum left behind? Head coach Darryl Sutter, that’s who. This team plays like he played, they are the embodiment of his personality up and down the ice. Collectively they play like assholes, and I mean that in the most complimentary way possible.
In the 2nd period the play was more even except on the scoreboard. The Bruins seemed to wake up a bit and were skating with the Flames, but Calgary’s commitment to team defense is impressive. Every loose puck was contested, every backcheck was hard and clean and they closed their gaps quicker than the Bruins were able to react. This led to the B’s getting caught flat footed on a set faceoff play (something they’ve been doing to other teams for years). Rasmus Andersson won the faceoff back to Matthew Tkachuk who put a shot off Swayman’s right leg. A shot with purpose as Homeboy Jack likes to say. Noah Hanifin was sneaking down the LW wall and apparently everyone in black and gold was watching the puck as no one saw him until he was celebrating his first goal of the year.
A quick word about Hanifin (again, my blog so my tangents to go off on). For those of you who don’t remember, he was the brass ring that the Bruins were after in the 2015 draft when they had 3 picks in a row that they thought they were going to be able to package in order to move up and draft the local stud. As we all know the
Hartford Whalers Carolina Hurricanes told the Bruins to pound sand and the Bruins were caught unprepared and picked Jake DeBrusk, Zach Senshyn and Jakob Zboril with their picks, leaving many, many, many far superior future NHL stars on the board. This has led to the Bruins continually inserting DeBrusk in the lineup hoping to justify his presence especially when they have to look over at Hanifin wheeling around the ice. Sigh, like two ships passing in the night…. We’ll always have eyes for you.
Going into the 3rd period, it was time for the Bruins to get it going and climb back into this one. And they did, for about 2 minutes. They were skating with the Flames and even drew a penalty. Ok, let’s get ‘er going boys! And then they gave up quite possibly the worst shorthanded goal these eyes have ever witnessed. Do you have any idea how hard it is to get a 2 on 0 shorthanded?? Swayman made the initial 2 saves but the Flames finally punched one home as Nick Foligno and Charlie McAvoy stood at the paint like Buckingham Palace guards. No reaction and no movement.
A little over a minute later, the Flames got another one and this is the only goal I’ll hang on Sway. Mikaeil Backlund’s shot juuuuuuust trickled through the pads and Charlie Coyle almost swept it off the goal line, but after the review it was called a good goal.
The only positive I can see is that the Bruins have a few days off before they visit the Buffalo Sabres on Thanksgiving Eve. Nothing gets you right like Buffalo (we hope).
- 4th line was solid again tonight. The more Anton Blidh is out there, the more I like him. Tomas Nosek and Curtis Lazar are playing great as well, but Blidh is driving that train.
- Swayman played very well after being off a few games. The 4th goal was a little leaky, but you can’t fault him for the other 3, he had no chance on any of them.
- Jakob Zboril made some big plays tonight and seems to have eliminated the brain farts that plagued him in the past. Making his case to be a blueline regular.
- So if Derek Forbort doesn’t score, it all dries up? Nothing like making Vladar look like an all star? Where was the scoring, this was only the second time the B’s were shutout this year.
- The Erection Line looked deflated. Actually the last couple of games they’ve looked slightly off, I mean I know they’ll figure it out, but usually they’re so in synch it’s almost shocking when they aren’t seemingly on the same page.
- Jake DeBrusk is soft as puppy shit. He had his skating going at different times tonight, but holy shit a mean thought knocks this guy off the puck.
- This was Jeremy Swayman’s first regulation loss at TD Garden for his career.
- Mark it down: Both Noah Hanifin and Matthew Tkachuk will some day be Bruins. Shut up! It’s my blog I can say what I want. Go to bed Brownie, you’re drunk.