Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Statement Game

The Boston Bruins are now 14-0-1 in their last 15 games as the result of a convincing 3-1 win over the Penguins in Pittsburgh last night.  Claude Julien downplayed that this was a statement or measuring stick game, essentially saying that to get real high about this game could lead to being too low coming into less sexy games; that the Bruins take it one game at a time and figure out how to win one game at a time.  If you look at how this game was won and who contributed in key ways, it is very hard to argue with him.  Early key goals were scored by Gregory Campbell and Benoit Pouliot.

The Bruins killed off two 5-on-3s last night totaling 3 minutes and 10 seconds, thanks to great saves by Tim Thomas, of course, but equally because of the patient and perfect defense of the other three guys on the ice. Then Tyler Seguin, who had less ice time than usual due to the team having to kill all that penalty time, gets a power play goal early in the 3rd period to essentially put this one away, especially given how solidly defensively the Bruins were playing and how on top of his game Thomas was.
Thomas has won 10 straight games, including three shutouts, with a .950 save percentage and 1.7 GAA over that time. Give Marc-Andre Fluery credit though. He had a few stand-on-your-head saves last night that kept the game closer than it really was. If you take away those saves and the two 5-on-3s, the score would have reflected even more closely how much Boston dominated this game, despite being outshot by the Penguins.  In fact, David Krejci hit pipe twice in this game.
This was a very spirited game, reflected in a little chipiness, a couple of fights and a lot of yapping (even between Crosby and Krejci). It was obvious how much both teams wanted this one. Hopefully the Bruins did as Julien said and didn't get too high because they play again tonight in The Peg for the first time in over 15 years, a perfect setup for a trap game.  But ever since they started this current run, after starting very slowly with a 3-7 record, they have avoided letdowns by not being too high or too low.  We shall see tonight.


Egbane said...

I unfortunately did not see the entire game, but as far as I am concerned they are playing like the class of the league. It may be "homer" talk but I truly believe that if they keep Thomas fresh and continue to play with this sustained intensity night in and out, I smell repeat! They are playing like a well oiled machine. Perhaps my biggest laugh of the game was when at the end of the night Chara got chippy with Neal and the Rat(5 foot nothing) Marchand comes in to defend the skyscraper. I love it!

Zebster said...

Something I should have included: Another motivation for the Bruins last night was to squash the talk that they wouldn't have gotten to the Finals to win it if the Penguins had been healthy (they could also say injuries hampered them last night). Well, keep this in mind: If you looked at Boston's roster at this time last year, who was their best player? Marc Savard.