Thursday, October 16, 2008

Bruins vs. Habs: Takeaways

The shootout: Nothing new to hear a diehard fan complain about the shootout, but this game really highlighted a weakness with the current format -- with only 6 shooters, the game ends too quickly. After two and a half hours of furious physical action, spectacular saves, and cut-it-with-a-knife tension, the game ended with a whimper. Here's my vote to move to a 5-shot tiebreaker, in order to extend the spectacle slightly and give it time to build its own sense of momentum.

Comeback-ability: The Bruins have trailed at some point in all three games this season. Against Colorado, they came back quickly to win. Down by 3 to the Wild, they rallied and made it a nail-biter. Last night they salvaged a charity point by scoring 3 straight against the Habs. That's good coaching, folks.

Hit parade: After playing two pretty soft games, the Bruins finally started breaking in the shoulder pads. Numerous large hits all over the ice slowed down the Habs attack and it looked like they were hesitating to rush the net. True to form, PJ Axelsson got absolutely destroyed along the boards.

Savvy/Ryder combo: Jeesh, two more goals for Marc Savard and a few good shots for Ryder. Savard now has 5 goals and an assist in his first 3 games, an inversion of his typical goal/assist ratio. Ryder picked up an A for his 4th point of the season.

Lucic continues to struggle: Looch started the game on the top line with Savard and Ryder, but got demoted quickly. Other than picking up 14 PIM, he was fairly invisible on the ice and spent no time on special teams. Might be a good idea to put him on the occasional PP to get his season started... 1 assist in 3 games is not the returns we need from this guy.

Faceoff problems: David Krejci played well, but was an eyebrow-raising 1-f0r-12 in the faceoff circle. That kind of thing will kill your chances. Other results: Bergeron struggled, winning 7 of 18; Savard won a solid 12 of 19; Yelle was perfect at 6-for-6. [correction: make that 6 wins and 6 losses for Yelle. He was still perfect on the faceoffs he won, though.]

New Guys: I was impressed with Matt Hunwick, who made some defensive errors but was creative and sharp offensively. He's making the Alberts trade look a little better. Sobotka was up to his usual grit-and-sandpaper hijinks, but had little impact.

BellForum Crowd: Perhaps the centennial celebration brought out the wine-and-cheese crowd, but the Habs fans seemed a bit more muted than usual. Other than the frenzy at the end of the first period, there was a sort of chill across the audience -- at least that's how it came across on television. Boos were there for Chara and Ryder as expected, but also for the Canadiens power play. Getting booed while ahead by 2 at the end of the second period during your centennial-celebration home opener? Yikes.

A pretty cool intro montage from this game can be found here.

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6 comments:

The Bastard said...

Slight correction... Yelle went 6 for 12 on faceoffs.

What did you think of the two non-calls in the first that led to their goal(s). Wideman's penalty should have been matching for Kostitsyn's leglock and then another guy (don't recall who) cleared Chara out from the net to allow the PP goal. They don't get that bogus PP and I don't think they even score in that first period. Guess the odd ricochet for the third goal was the hockey god's making up for the blown calls.

Tom said...

I thought for sure when the whistle blew that both Kostitsyn and Wideman were going. Even from the long-distance camera angle it was obvious that Wideman's foot was being locked up, and the ref was looking directly at it. That's the sort of thing that the officials simply have to call, because if they get it wrong Kostitsyn will do it all year (like the Habs' little diving habit during the playoffs).

I was less annoyed with the clearout on Chara, since he still chose to go around the net the wrong way, than I was with the interference on Stuart on the second goal. Granted he should still have pulled his head out of his ass and played some defense, but it was pretty clear that the contact was intentional and threw him off the play.

I agree, the hockey gods had a clear hand in the outcome of the third goal, in retaliation for the Habs' cheap play and appreciation of the fact that the Bruins were simply the better team across the course of the game.

Cornelius Hardenbergh said...

Maybe this is sacrilege, but I could see Lucic sent down or healthy-scratched pretty soon if this keeps up.

Krejci looked damn good, though.

Guy LeSueur said...

3-shot shootout?! WTF. The NHL did its best to get rid of me yet every now and again I show back up wanting it. But this kind of shootout blows. I've long known how stupid the NHL has been, even before that hackjass Bettman showed up, but this is ridiculous.

eyebleaf said...

Lucic sent down? Whoa. I thought he was supposed to be the second-coming of Cam Neely?

Tom said...

He's hitting an old-fashioned sophomore slump. Ever since the beginning of the preseason his game has been slightly off -- not contributing enough to warrant a top-line position, but not getting enough ice time on the 3rd or 4th line to get things back in gear.

I don't think management will send him down, but I would understand if they did. He just needs to get his game back on track, and it's tough to do that when you're playing Stephane Yelle and Shawn Thornton.