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BOSTON (CBS) -Tell me if you’ve seen this movie before.
Saturday night the Boston Bruins played what appeared to be a regular season game in January. No intensity, no emotion, no urgency that would lead you to believe that four wins would get you to the Stanley Cup Finals. Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals at the TD garden against the Tampa Bay Lightning was oh so reminiscent of the game one of the opening round of the playoffs against the Montreal Canadiens. Despite the building being electric before the drop of the puck, the team the fans were excited for seemed non-plussed.
Everything the Bruins did right in the previous series against Philadelphia, they did wrong Saturday. They seemed tentative, and defensive, and made mistake after mistake with the glaring turnover by Tomas Kaberle which led to Teddy Purcell’s goal give the Lightning a quick 3-0 lead, all within a minute and a half.
Claude Julien On Tomas Kaberle
Is this what we, the Bruins faithful, waited 19 years for?
Although it was a major faux pas, it wasn’t the only one. Tim Thomas channeling those first few games of round one with a soft goal on Brett Clark’s backhander from a bad angle. A puck he must stop. Sean Bergenheim’s goal came off a couple of errors. Thomas thought he had the puck tied up under his glove but it came out to his right, Dennis Seidenberg had lost his stick on the play and kicked the puck right to Bergenheim for the first goal. 90 seconds later it was basically lights out on Game 1.
How could the Bruins come out so flat and uninspiring? How could they treat this game with no importance? How could the coach not have them prepared to be forceful and determined to play PLAYOFF hockey?
Chris Kelly, Gregory Campbell On Keys To Game 2
With the eight day layoff, what did the Bruins do to try and repair a broken power play? Absolutely nothing it seems. It was as dreadful as it has been all postseason. Boston was 0-for-4 in the game, and now a dreadful 2-for-41 in the playoffs. That’s a whopping 4.9 percentage on the man-advantage, the third worse power play in the playoffs in the last 25 years! OUCH!
The lone bright spot was rookie Tyler Seguin scoring his first NHL Playoff goal and assisting on the other goal. This hockey observer always likes to see in-game adjustments when things aren’t going they way you think they should. Seguin had a total of 11 shifts. He finished the game with an even plus-minus.
Should Seguin play more? I happen to think it wouldn’t hurt. What has Michael Ryder done since game four of the Canadiens series? The fourth line, which is supposed to be your energy line and bring an intangible to the team, really didn’t bring anything. The coach continued to roll out four lines, as he is known to do, and although changed one part with another near the end of the game, his in-game adjustments (or lack thereof) remained his modus operandi.
After all, why should anyone expect anything else?
Faceoffs were a major part of Game 1 also. The Bruins lost 41 faceoffs while winning only 26. When you win faceoffs you have control of the puck for at least the next 20 seconds, in which you get the puck out of your zone or you are holding it in the offensive zone for a scoring opportunity. It shows how much Boston really misses their best player and faceoff center, Patrice Bergeron.
Bergeron practiced with and without the team on Monday and Tuesday but did not address the media. Julien said if Bergeron is on the ice for pregame warm ups, he will play in Game 2.
Julien says the team can be better. Well, they better be if they want a victory in Game 2. Should they fall into another 0-2 hole against a better quality opponent in Tampa Bay, they just may not come back from it.
Yes, when the Bruins lose a game like they did Saturday, there is a lot of second guessing and sometimes panic in the local fandom. It’s the way things are. But logically speaking, now is not the time to make major changes since what they have been doing has got them this far. But if they plan on advancing, the Bruins need to take Julien’s words to heart.
They REALLY “need to be better!”
Read more of Ric Duarte’s Blog BruinsDieHard.