Your Boston Bruins welcomed the Vancouver Canucks to the TD Garden tonight after an embarrassing loss to the NYR on Black Friday. That game was so bad. How bad was it Brownie? Well, I’ll tell you Dear Reader. I could smell the stench of that Ranger game all the way up in Maine, that’s how bad it was. The aggressively odious assault on not only my olfactory senses, but also to my hockey sensibilities drove me to drink. Luckily I was on a family vacation and if I was awake, I was drinking. In my head that last sentence was said like Forrest Gump talked about running. I…… was…….drinking. Thank you for humouring me as I digress, back to hockey!
Linus Ullmark was in net for the B’s after battling a minor injury that kept him sidelined for the better part of the week. In the opposite cage was old friend Jaro Halak who’s had a “challenging” go of it in Vancouver (0-3-1 : 2.79GAA : .903 Save %) so far this season. In these parts we all know how good Halak can play, I’m chalking up his subpar numbers to the shitshow that is Vancouver Hockey this season. Imagine being back during the COVID shutdowns they went through and thinking “How can it possibly get any worse than this?” I’m sure the Canuck fans aren’t overreacting; they’re usually a calm and rational group.
Bruce Cassidy has (hopefully, finally, please please please) seen enough of Jake DeBrusk and his one-man glide tour; while Erik Haula learned that there’s just a touch more expectations in Boston than there was in Nashville as Cassidy scratched both players. Butchie didn’t hold back when asked about the health bombs. The Bruins bench boss cited lack of second effort and “needing more compete” as key components that led to the players having a seat on the 9th floor. I was taught early on that the 2 most important things you can bring to a team are your effort and your attitude, that’s true at all levels apparently. That introduced Trent Frederic back into the lineup (missed last 7gms with a concussion) and he centered Nick Foligno and Karson Kuhlman. Craig Smith went back up (where he so very clearly belongs) with Charlie Coyle and Taylor Hall while The Erection Line and 4th line remained intact.
On the back end, Cassidy reunited Matt Grzelcyk and Brandon Carlo and had Charlie McAvoy and Derek Forbort together while Jakob Zboril rode with Mike Reilly. In the aforementioned Ranger game, Jakob Zboril had a major gaffe that directly led to a NYR goal (as did DeBrusk, but I think I’ve expressed myself enough regarding that donkey), but Zboril’s error was a poor decision, not a lack of effort. And I think that’s a crucial difference. If Zboril continues to make the same poor decisions, then he’ll be out as well, but the kid competes and works his ass off, something that DeBrusk (and Haula) clearly aren’t currently doing.
An unbelievably soft call on Zboril led to VAN’s first goal of the night on the PP, and oof, Ullmark looked rusty. Nils Hoglander tossed the puck on net and Ullmark couldn’t get a glove on the puck to tie it up as it bounced around the paint. Tanner Pearson poked it home for the early lead. I mean there were only 3 Bruins standing around watching this transpire, but hey I’m just a blogger what do I know.
Just over 2 minutes later Anton Blidh showed why he should remain in the lineup as he brought the effort and the skating legs for his first of the year. Blidh gathered the puck in his own end and worked down the right wing wall through the neutral zone. As he entered the VAN zone he drove across the zone to his left with 3 defenders chasing. Skating left and shooting right he beat Halak under the glove to tie the game. Maybe both goalies were a little rusty? But hell yeah, that’s Blidh with a whole lot of fuck you in his game right now.
In the second local boy Conor Garland put the Canucks back up when he had a “seeing eye puck” per Brick on the NESN feed that somehow leaked through Ullmark. It was actually Garland’s 2nd goal of the night but the first was waived for being offside. Ullmark was definitely not himself tonight as his angles were off and he had difficulty controlling rebounds. I will say that when he needed to he came up with some big saves and he improved as the game progressed. I heard an interesting point on a podcast earlier this week about how tough it must be for the Boston goalies to get in any type of rhythm with the layoffs in their schedule. The Bruins have played the fewest games in the NHL thus far. So please keep that in mind as you rant and rave on Bruins’ fan Facebook pages. You know who I’m talking to and if you don’t know, then I’m talking to you dum-dum.
In the 3rd period, Ullmark made the save of the game when Tyler Motte had a shorthanded breakaway that Ullmark denied. Just an Ice Bear Dude doing Ice Bear Dude things I guess.
Brad Marchand tied it up on the power play when he cleaned up the loose change in front of Halak. David Pastrnak put one off the crossbar that rebounded off Foligno and was bouncing around in the paint. With Patrice Bergeron and Foligno crashing the net, the puck squirted out to Marchand in the slot. A quick curl drag and up over the traffic put the B’s right back in this one as Marchy got his team leading 9th goal.
With less than 4 minutes to go, Oliver Ekman-Larsson boarded Blidh putting the B’s back on the man-advantage. After a lengthy possession in the VAN end, Marchand came off the half wall on the RW and absolutely dog-walked Kyle Burroughs (no, not that scumbag Alex “Bite Boy” Burrows) and found Pasta cross crease at the post for the backdoor tap in. Is the power play cranking up? Is it? Whatever you do, don’t put the Bruins on the PP if they… are… fucking… clicking. Pasta’s goal proved to be the GWG and hopefully that gives him a little bit of a boost.
In the closing seconds the Bruins potted an ENG but it waived off for being… you guessed it, offside. For those keeping score at home, that’s 2 goals waived off for the Bruins (Tomas Nosek with a distinct kicking motion) and 1 for the Canucks. Everyone’s good with that right? We’re all here to see the stripes.
Up next for the Bruins are the Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday who are only 1 point ahead of the B’s in the standings (Keep in mind, the Bruins have 4 games in hand). Play the music.
- Finally everyone seems to be where they’re supposed to be. Craig Smith should be with Hall and Coyle. As much as I like the addition of Nick Foligno, he should be on the third line, and you all know where I want DeBrusk. Here’s hoping that whatever injury that Smitty had is behind him, cause that guy has a motor.
- Like to see Butchy with the health bombs. The only thing the coach has at this level for leverage is playing time. Although it’s tough to trade DeBrusk from the pressbox.
- Brad Marchand brought his big boy pants tonight (actually he does every night). He abused OEL all over the ice with hit after hit. When Marchy ramped up the physicality in the 2nd period it changed the tenor of the game.
- Still a little too much overpassing. Would like the Craig Smith shoot first mentality to infiltrate the team a bit more.
- David Pastrnak got demoted (albeit briefly) at the end of the second period. A little in game wake up call for Pasta.
- The Bruins were a little scrambly in their own end and had difficulty breaking out of their zone. A better team will definitely take advantage of that.
- I will admit, I do like the VAN away jerseys. The orca on the white just looks so clean.
- With all the trade talk swirling around the Canucks, how good would Conor Garland, Brock Boeser or JT Miller look in the Black and Gold? I will personally drive Jake DeBrusk and whatever package you put together cross country (berating him the entire way), just give me the call Donny. Gas is on me.