Having not played since Friday’s win over the Rangers for their fifth win in a row, the Bruins had no reason to not continue their winning formula on the first stop of their Western Canada Reunion Tour*. And having pretty much owned the Edmonton Oilers in the last several years, last night’s tilt in Alberta should have been a win for the more experienced and better-built Bruins if they just played their game—something they’ve struggled to do this season. (*Last night was Pete Chiarelli, who pulled the ultimate Homer, and good guy Andrew Ference, who has found himself in an unfamiliar role this season; tomorrow will be a little chillier when the Bs meet up with Lone Wolf Hamilton and his fellow D-man Dennis Wideman; and Saturday in Vancouver will renew acquaintances with Matt “Stop Calling Me Steve” Bartkowski and Canucks GM Jim Benning who still needs to answer for
Santino Zach Hamill.)
But instead of the effort we saw beat a tough out in the Rangers, we got a lollygagging bunch that somehow mustered 40 shots on goal while rope-a-dopeing their way to a shootout point in a 3-2 loss. After a scoreless first, the Bs fell behind halfway through the second when they gave up their first short-handed goal of the year (in their 23rd game) on a two-on-one that resulted because of yet more line change difficulty. There’s really no excuse for all the line-changing difficulties this team has. That’s high school-level shit that needs to be fixed before it costs them a(nother) huge playoffs series.
Torey Krug’s second goal of the year tied the game late in the second to give the Bs a boost heading into the locker room but it was short-lived. Matt Hendricks, who was the bounty that delivered Johnny Rocket to the Bruins, re-established the Oiler lead when he outmuscled Colin Miller for a deft tip to beat a very solid Tuukka Rask (34 saves on 36 shots). And that goal seemed to wake the Bruins up as they start to get chance after chance. Thanks to the patience of David Krejci and a perfect read by Zdeno Chara, they again tied things up when the former fed the latter in the slot for a sweet tally. Z then made a game-saving stick-check that ensured the Bs the point.
Neither team could pot an OT winner despite each getting ample opportunities in yet another highly-entertaing 3-on-3 OT.
Unsurprisingly, the Bs lost the breakaway contest as they’re prone to do. But the bottom line is they didn’t play nearly well enough to earn two points and are lucky they were able to snag a point at all. They’ll need to be better tomorrow night in Cowtown against a Flames team that just may have turned around its season with a huge comeback win over the Stars the other night.
A few more buds for your “Holy shit, it’s fucking December already!” bowl…
*Rough night for our boy Jimmy Hayes thanks to this dirty fucking elbow from Eric Gryba. Won’t be surprised if he’s out tomorrow night with a conky.
*Since his ugly outing against the Sharks, Rask has seemingly turned a corner in his play. He has three wins (one shutout) and a shoot-out loss in his last four with a .937 SP. More importantly, he’s making big saves when the team needs it.
*Though he was having the expected troubles for a second-year player, David Pastrnak will be a big addition for the team when he’s finally ready to return. He brings an offensive element they simply don’t have right now (unless it’s a power play) and his return will also make the overall line-up better. It’s not like the team is waiting on him but he’ll be a nice player to just drop back into the line-up at some point.
*Brett Connolly, Jimmy Hayes, and Matt Beleskey are continuing to struggle offensively. Each player has had a point spurt at some point in the year but each has also struggled for consistency and haven’t really found permanent ‘homes’ on a line yet. While it’s nothing to be alarmed about right now, the Bs will need these three all going at the same time at some point. But it’d be nice if Claude could have a reliable, consistent Top-9 he can send over the boards without having to play matchmaker every game.