Your Boston Bruins started their Western Canadian swing with a visit to the Vancouver Canucks tonight at Rogers Arena. After extra, and then extra hockey the Black and Gold found themselves on the short end of the stick as they fell in the shoot-out, but still garnered 1 point in the standings.
Jeremy Swayman got the nod in net for the B’s while Thatcher Demko manned the cage for Vancouver. Brad Marchand was back in the lineup in his usual spot opposite David Pastrnak on the Patrice Bergeron line. Taylor Hall was with Charlie Coyle and Craig Smith and Trent Frederic centered Erik Haula and Nick Foligno. On the 4th line Curtis Lazar was back at center with Oskar Steen and Jake DeBrusk on his wings. On the back end, Connor Clifton was paired with Mike Reilly while Brandon Carlo skated with Matt Grzelcyk. Charlie McAvoy and Derek Forbort got the start as the top pair of blue liners.
Tomas Nosek did not make the trip as a non-Covid illness works its way through the team, (the reason why McAvoy was out vs. Tampa). Bruce Cassidy was unable to make the trip to Canada as well, as Covid protocols would keep him quarantined longer than the trip itself would last. Joe Sacco manned the bench in Butchie’s absence. On the Vancouver bench it was the newly hired Bruce Boudreau who has been tasked with turning this season around (maybe); and continuing the development of young stars Quinn Hughes and Elias Pettersson (definitely). After tonight’s W, Boudreau is undefeated in his tenure and as we all know, Vancouver fans don’t overreact. Boudreau isn’t afraid to make waves either. In just his 2nd game behind the VAN bench, he health-bombed Oliver Ekman-Larsson who’s been in the Vancouver doghouse since he was acquired earlier this summer.
The first period had decent pace, but the Bruins got the better chances. Demko made some big saves early but neither team could solve the opposing goaltender. With this flu running through the Bruins and having to come cross-country, it was interesting to see if they would push the pace or allow VAN to dictate. For the majority of the first they had some jump and were pushing the puck up ice with quick outlets and speed through the neutral zone.
In the second period Brock Boeser got the Canucks on the board first during the power play when he redirected a JT Miller shot from up high. Current Canuck (and future Bruin??) Miller let one go from the top of the RW circle that Boeser (at the bumper position) tipped low to high and Swayman had no chance. What’s interesting? Sad? Pathetic? Hold on, I’ll tell you. Boeser’s goal was during the 4th power play of the game (3 for VAN, 1 for BOS) and this was the first shot on net during a power play in the game. That’s right, you read that correctly, NEITHER team got a SOG during their power plays. The Bruins actually let up THREE shorthanded bids while they were on the man-advantage.
The Canucks took the 1-0 lead into the 3rd, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t talk about Haula’s goal that was waived off. Yes, he was offside, I’m not disputing that so take it easy Francis. Haula was clearly in the zone before the puck, but his scoring play? He drove the net and put a hard stop on in the slot and then went forehand-backhand-shelf. It was a play that a confident player makes and he has been outstanding since his health bomb. That’s the way a true pro handles adversity, make it so the coach has no choice to play you. And let’s say, you wanted out of town, maybe extend some effort and prove yourself a valuable asset. Just saying.
In the 3rd, while the B’s were already on a PP, Miller clicked skates with Swayman while the net minder was playing the puck, easy call for goalie interference. I don’t think that it was intentional by Miller and I don’t think Swayman embellished it; but it was a penalty and it put the Bruins out for a 5 on 3 man advantage. Could that have been JT Miller’s way to ingratiate himself with his new team? I mean I expect that announcement any minute now. Anywho, the Bruins made quick work of the 5 on 3 when Bergy tipped a Pasta clapper to tie the game. Pastrnak had the puck at the left point and fed Coyle down low, Coyle went back up to Pasta who put a low hard shot on net that Bergeron tipped from the slot to go high under the bar.
Unfortunately the Bruins couldn’t cash in on the 1:40 PP they still had left and the teams went to OT knotted at a goal each. In the last half of the game, Hall looked slow (I called it mopey in a group text) and maybe it’s as simple as not being on Bergy’s line any more? Or maybe it’s the flu that’s going through the team; but he had no jump and committed some uncharacteristic turnovers and looked out of sorts. Apparently the coaching staff had the same thoughts as they reunited Haula, Smith and Coyle midway through the third, which paid immediate dividends as they got their cycle game and puck possession game going. Up until the Hall for Haula swap, the Coyle line hadn’t had a shot on net as a line (Hall finished the game with 0 SOG while Coyle and Smith had 1 each), and I think Haula just fits better there. We talked about it last night on the podcast a bit, it’s not a bad problem to have, but they need to find a better spot for Hall.
In OT, both Hockey East alums showed their skill in net as the period was filled with sloppy turnovers and sparkling saves on both ends. To the shootout we go. Vancouver as the home team elected to shoot first. Here’s the breakdown:
VAN Petterson – lost the handle on the puck and never got the shot off
BOS Pastrnak – wide on the RW kept puck on his forehand and just missed tucking it short side with a shot from the slot
VAN Miller – wide on the LW slow into slot, sold backhand and went back forehand and tucked it home
BOS Coyle – serpentine approach, tried wrister from slot but denied
VAN Boeser – came wide and slow and curled into the slot and went over blocker
That’s the game. Up next the Bruins continue their trip on to Alberta where they take on the Oilers tomorrow night.
Listen night owls, I’m too tired to do plus/minus but I’ll throw a few game notes your way ya filthy animals. Don’t say I never give you anything.
- All 3 shooters for VAN tried the same type of shot. Maybe there’s a book on Swayman?
- Please for the love of my sanity, find some way to trade DeBrusk while on this trip. JT Miller is right there, maybe just switch their bags after the game? Please?
- Patrice Bergeron is wearing a full bubble visor thanks to a dirty play by Filip Forsberg that broke his nose for the “6th or 7th time”. Ever the pro, all Bergy said was that he guessed his “modeling days are behind him.” What a legend.
- Bruce Boudreau is an all-timer. Dropped an F-bomb in his first post-hire press conference and the fans in VAN are chanting “Bruce here he is” during games. If you listen to the pod, you already know this, but he was also an extra in the movie “Slapshot” and by sheer happenstance, just missed being on one of the planes that crashed into the towers on 9/11.
- Speaking of all-timers. Homeboy Jack dropped a beauty early on in the game. With Marchand heading to the box in the first, he opined that the “Dept of Player Safety is doing what they can to tarnish Marchand’s reputation” Brick tried to reel him back by pointing out that Marchand has history, but Jack was having none of it. Brownie’s advice: Find someone who loves you unconditionally as much as Jack loves the Bruins. Hopefully announcers don’t have to pay fines for criticizing officials (on ice or at league HQ), otherwise Jack might be working for free.
Oh yeah. Tell me again you donkey that Jeremy Swayman isn’t elite? This kid is lights out and I don’t know if you should be allowed to watch hockey any more if you don’t agree. As always, tell me how correct I am about all things hockey @abrow28