Your Boston Bruins welcomed in the Western Conference leading Nashville Predators to the TD Garden today for a rare Saturday matinee. It took a little more than 60 minutes to decide this one as the Bruins win their 5th in a row and continue to chip away at the Atlantic Division leaders.
You’ll have to forgive me for the lateness of this post Dear Reader. Your boy Brownie was putting in WORK today. With this being the NFL Wild Card Weekend and the Northeastern Huskies playing this afternoon, I had a lot on my plate. Since I know you’re all intrigued by my manipulations of time and space and are all eternally grateful for what I do for you: I’ll give you the breakdown because why the hell not. First I watched/DVR-ed the Bruins game (watched 2 periods and avoided all news until about an hour ago). I then LEGALLY streamed the NU Huskies game and posted a blog. You can find it here. I then watched my beloved
Oakland LA Oakland Las Vegas Raiders continue their futile pursuit of a playoff victory (20 seasons and counting). Then I thoroughly enjoyed the shit-pumping the Patriots took in the first half at Buffalo, clicked over to the Bruins 3rd period and OT and am now writing this while listening to the BUF/NE game in the background. That my friends is what I do for you, that is the type of dedication and sacrifice that this blogger/podcaster is bringing to the table. Don’t hope for greatness, expect that shit.
Back to the B’s game. The lines up front stayed the same as the game vs. PHI and on the back end the Bruins welcomed back Derek Forbort who skated with Tyler Lewington. Charlie McAvoy and Urho Vaakanianen were the top pair and Mike Reilly skated with Brandon Carlo. Linus Ullmark was in net opposite workhorse Juuse Saros. In this modern NHL goalie tandem world we find ourselves in, NSH is abusing Saros since today was his 31GP (to put that in perspective, Ullmark has 17GP).
With just over 3 minutes gone in the first period, Craig Smith re-introduced himself to his old team with a snipe over Saros’ glove to put the Bruins on the board. The play started behind the Bruins net and if you are a hockey coach, get this film in front of your team. McAvoy gets it going when he went cross-slot with the D to D pass to Vaakanainen who then skated out of the zone. With his head up, he hit Brad Marchand on his tape going into the NSH zone, Marchy found Patrice Bergeron high above the slot and he just kissed the puck over to Smitty in stride at the RW circle. Smith reached the dot and let it fly where it went bar down for the lead.
Oh yeah Smitty, we saw that Superman Celly.
Reilly gave the Bruins the 2-goal lead when he finished off the prettiest backhand by a defenseman that these eyes have ever witnessed. Erik Haula dug the puck out of his own end and found David Pastrnak on the RW wall. Pasta lugged the puck up ice and took the hit to move the puck back to Haula going into the zone. As this was happening, Reilly came off the bench on the far side and busted ass down the LW jumping into the play. Haula circled back at the RW dot and found Reilly coming across the slot and put it on his tape. Reilly dragged it across the goal mouth onto his backhand and waited.. and waited.. and waited until finally stashing a backhand up under the bar far corner. Absolutely filthy and now it’s 2-0 Bruins and the Black and Gold Faithful are pleased.
Colton Sissons got the Preds on the board when he beat Ullmark over the blocker from the low slot. Lewington threw the puck up the boards and the Preds wall work (which was excellent all night) corralled the puck back down the slot and it looked as if Sissons got lost in a defensive switch. You would have loved to see this save, but you can’t leave an opposing player alone 6 feet off the net.
Even though the B’s carried the play for the majority of the first period, NSH was getting chances and competing for loose pucks. The Bruins were showing an obvious team-wide commitment to defense with their layers on the backcheck. Their transition game was on point as they were using quick outlets to counter the Preds aggressive forecheck. It seemed to be working as they took the lead into the first intermission.
The Bruins took their foot off the gas to open the middle stanza as it took over 7 minutes for the boys to land their first shot on the NSH cage. The Preds came out of the room with jump and were taking the play to the Bruins. Luke Kunin tied the game when his wrister through Carlo’s legs beat Ullmark blocker side through a number of players in front. The highlight (or lowlight from the Bruins view) of this sequence was the stop and go move Mark Borowiecki laid on Haula. Look if you can’t appreciate a great hockey play, then I don’t know what to tell you. The Bruins woke up in the last half of the period and ended the 2nd like they were playing in the opening frame. Knotted at 2 the teams headed into the 2nd intermission.
In the opening minutes of the 3rd (who else) Marchand put the Bruins up again on a power play. PP1 was getting looks, but Saros was like a spider monkey in net with his lightning fast lateral moves. It looked like the Bruins were going to denied on the man advantage until Marchand stepped up. McAvoy and Marchand played catch from the right point to the elbow until Marchy saw his opening and walked into the RW circle. His drag snap buzzed Saros’ ear short side and the Bruins were back up. I’m not sure, but Marchand certainly looks like an All-Star.
The Bruins were pouring it on now and keeping NSH on the perimeter in the BOS end until Pastrnak whiffed (or was puppy shit soft) on a clearing attempt and gave the puck directly to Phillip Tomasino at the Bruins blue line. Thomasino slid the puck to Roman Josi who walked the slot to the inside of the LW circle where he beat Ullmark over the glove through a screen to tie the game. This game had a playoff feel to it and you could feel it heading to OT as the teams opened up the nasty to end the period.
In OT the Preds got the first best chance as they rang one off the crossbar behind Ullmark. Not to be outdone, DeBrusk put one off the pipe that trickled cross crease before being swept out by the NSH defense. Apparently DeBrusk will skate hard, but it’s only during 3 on 3 play.
Oh great, DeBrusk has the puck. Here comes the turnover….
NSH pushed the pace back down the ice and had Vaakanianen in a 2 on 1 and it looked like curtains for our heroes. What was that? Did he? Could he? He did bat that puck out of mid-air! Vaaky corralled the puck and fed Taylor Hall busting through the neutral zone on the right wing. Hall gained the NSH zone and dropped the puck to Pasta and drove the net. Pasta danced down the RW and shot from the corner that just leaked through Saros for Hall to punch in on the net drive. Game over. Play the music.
Up next for the Bruins is a tough week. The boys welcome in the Hurricanes, Capitals and Jets over the next 7 days. This team’s a wagon.
Whew! That was exhausting. I’d like to give a stick tap to Mrs. Brownie who allowed this day to happen and to Daughter of Brownie who felt the sting of a Raiders playoff loss for the first time in her young life today.
Game Notes: (Just a couple of things before you go)
- Tue night vs. CAR the Bruins will be retiring #22 in honor of Willie O’Ree. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Mr. O’Ree has done great things with his life and continues to try to make hockey inclusive. Congrats on the ceremony.
- Brad Marchand
- Nine straight 20 goal seasons (11 overall out of 13 seasons)
- 5 straight multi point games
- Nine goals in his last 6 games
- Since the New Year: 16 points in 9 games
- How on Earth is this guy not an All-Star
- Catching up with some old friends:
Torey Krug showing how everyone feels about TOR
Milan Lucic throwing bombs vs. OTT