Holy shit, that OT was something else. Thanks to coincidental minors just 51 seconds into the extra session, fans were treated to the much-ballyhooed 3-on-3 that the AHL has been test-driving for the NHL this season (and which the NHL will likely incorporate for next season). And I had to do a Vaudevillian triple-take to make sure I was really seeing David Pastrnak, Ryan Spooner, and (GAH!) Matt Bartkowski on the ice at the same time for the Bruins with the game on the line. Had Claude gotten into my stash? I’ll say this—it made for highly entertaining hockey.
Claude’s finally showing some confidence in the kids (he had them out in last minute as well) and was was nearly rewarded on two separate occasions in a quick span but Ben Bishop atoned for an earlier softie by stoning whiz-kid rookie Pasta’s velvety mitts in some legit jump-outta-your-seat action. If there was ever a game that deserved a better fate than a shootout, it was this one. But both goalies held up their end of the bargain and bailed out their teams in the wide-open play so we were stuck with it.
Fortunately, Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand ended things before the post-game gimmick reached its full gestation period for the 3-2 win and the Bs grabbed the bonus point to get within just two points of the 7th seed Capitals. With a game in hand. But regardless of whether they lock up the 7th or 8th, (barring a full-scale ‘Game 6 in ’86’-type collapse), there are still about five different teams they could play. Playoff scenarios are more wide open than whatever girl’s legs are on tbone’s laptop right now. Great times.
Tuukka Rask, I know you’re sick of me repeating myself here, stood on his head once again in stopping 35 of 37 Lightning shots to backbone the Bs yet again. He was the victim of a Zdeno Chara miscue when Steven Stamkos had ice and time to pick his spot. The second TB goal came after the puck hit a leg out front and slowed down for a tap-in. He again made huge saves with the game on the line and was biggest in the scoreless second when the Bs were outshot 16-4.
For all their defensive deficiencies lately, and they are prevalent, as long as the Lanky Finn continues to play this way, anything is possible for this team. Ever since he had to mop up the lab mess from the ill-advised Malcolm Subban Gateway Experiment, he’s posted a .943 SP in vaulting the Bs closer to a postseason ticket (for a barometer, Carey Price’s .935 leads the league).
The win was the team’s fourth in a row and they have garnered 13 outta 14 points in their last seven games to keep pace in the race. They’ll look to make it five in a row tomorrow afternoon when they visit Pittsburgh.
A few more buds for your “Piss wherever, it’s St. Patty’s weekend!” bowl…
*With GMs about to have a chat regarding 3-on-3 essentially replace the shootout for 2015-16, they just need to watch the five overtime minutes from TD Garden last night. Granted, not every team has the talent of Boston and Tampa. But with that much time and space, it becomes world class shinny. And the O/U in shinny ain’t 5.5 so it shouldn’t take forever to get one goal. Whatever they do, just ditch the shootout.
*The Milan Lucic-Spooner-Pastrnak basically epitomizes the team right now—dominant in the offensive end but deficient in their own end. That’s what you lose with no David Krejci. Still, I’m just glad to finally see a prospect/rookie actually get to learn some growing pains on the job instead of getting stapled to the bench after every single miscue. That’s how they learn. And Spooner has to know that he’s probably gotten a little more rope with no #46 but that may in turn give him a little more confidence when he’s allowed to get right back out there. He now has at least a point in seven straight. The difference between his appearance earlier this year and this call-up has been night and day. Having a real opportunity this time is likely why.
*Adam McQuaid got away with an obvious roughing penalty in the third when he threw a glancing (gloved) right at Brendan Morrow’s head. He then followed it up by menacingly hovering over the aging pest, who wanted nothing to do with the much-bigger, much meaner D-man. Nice to see some snarl back in the Black and Gold. And Morrow’s hardly a babe-in-the-woods.
*That unscreened 50-footer that Ben Bishop gave up to Bergy is exactly why I want Tampa in the first: 0 NHL playoff games played.
*The Bs did catch a break with 1:01 left in OT when Stamkos got a 10 minute misconduct for allowing his broken stick to end up in the crowd. It certainly wasn’t deliberate by the always-classy player but just a half-second of pissed-off carelessness that greatly reduced his team’s chance of getting the extra point. Hey, I’ll take it. He’s a bad motherfucker.
*Non-Bruins Blog Items of the Week. If you’re looking for a show to Netflix binge on, make it “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”. The latest creation from Tina Fey’s (and Robert Carlock’s) brilliant, absurdist, “30 Rock”-style of comedy is about a daffily sincere woman who returns to society after being saved from an “apocalypse cult” and decides to reboot in, where else?, New York City. But don’t let the dark premise fool you, this is a belly-laughing comedy that allows that minx Erin from “The Office” (Ellie Kemper) to really stretch her comedic muscles. Her ace timing, teenager-like faces, and constant sunny optimism make her an instantly likable, funny character in the vein of Michael Scott (i.e. a genuinely funny dipshit). She really does kill it. “Taxi” vet Carol Kane plays the seen-it-all, substance abusing landlord and drops some great lines. But Fey is great at subtly (and not-so-subtly) skewering everything from millennials to yokels. At 22-24 minutes an ep, this is an easy one to burn through that you’ll likely go back a second time for. If only for the brilliant opening title song…Not sure if I noted this yet but “Whiplash” was the best movie out of the Best Picture nominees at this year’s Oscars. But you ought to see “Nightcrawler” and “Foxcatcher”, too. Jake G. does Patrick Bateman-lite as an obsessed videographer who makes TMZ looks like Edward R. Murrow in a gut-twisting thriller that has a legit “holy fucking shit!” ending. And Steve Carell absolutely kills (HA!) as John du Pont. Seriously though, in a different year he’d have gotten way more Oscar buzz because he’s mesmerizing in the role and showed just how much range the funnyman has. Bennet Miller movies might be too slow for some folks, particularly in today’s HDADHD era. But this is one slow burn that is worth it. Channing Tatum was a revelation in a pretty big role. I thought he deserved the Oscar nom more than Mark Ruffalo. A great acting showcase about a crazy story.