On Tuesday in Anaheim, the Bruins lost their second game in the span of ten days where the negative result was mostly because of special teams play. The first game, naturally, being the game at the Garden against the Islanders, where the Bruins surrendered four unanswered goals after taking a 3-1. Against the Ducks, the Bruins once again had the better play at Even Strength, but four PPGs by the Ducks and one shorthanded tally has our B's going to LA two points lighter.
The power play, which has been due to come down to earth a little, hasn't converted many chances recently. But the PK side of things is where the Bruins have struggled in noticeable fashion. No doubt, some of this has to do with the simple fact that it's hard to maintain a top PK unit all season, whereas some of it has to do with the Bruins losing one of their primary PKers, Dennis Seidenberg, to injury. Seidenberg's extension earlier this year revealed a bit of a divide amongst Bruins fans on the quality of his play, but there's very little question about the TOI ate up. He might not drive play at Even Strength anymore, but Seidenberg remained one of the Bruins top options on the PK, among Defensemen:
Zdeno Chara - 132:42 Total SHTOI, 3:09 Per Game
Johnny Boychuk - 109:44 Total SHTOI, 2:44 Per Game
Dennis Seidenberg - 81:40 Total SHTOI, 2:24 Per Game
Adam McQuaid - 44:52 Total SHTOI, 1:47 Per Game
Matt Bartkowski - 35:10 Total SHTOI, 1:16 Per Game
Dougie Hamilton - 20:10 Total SHTOI, 0:39 Per Game
Kevan Miller - 16:13 Total SHTOI, 1:28 Per Game
Torey Krug - 15:21 Total SHTOI, 0:21 Per Game
A couple comments on this before we get to the GIFlarity; firstly, Zdeno Chara logs a ridiculous amount of ice-time on the PK, with over 3 minutes per game. His total time is good for 17th in the NHL. Secondly, there's a rather clear pattern of Chara all day erry day, then Boychuk, then Seidenberg, then the other guys. With Seidenberg gone, that means the Bruins have to plug the SH minutes he plays.
The top two, of course, will continue to log the most minutes, you would have to think, based on Boychuk and Chara both being the only guys with over an hour-and-a-half of SHTOI on the season. I'm spitballing a bit here, but it seems as if you go Chara-Someone, Boychuk-Someone, using the superpairing of Chara-Boychuk against teams with a particularly effective first unit. The distribution of SHTOI suggests that one of those someones should be McQuaid, if you're asking the coaching staff. Then Miller/Bartkowski, then Dougie Hamilton, who plays decent quality of competition at Evens but not much 4v5, then the heavily-sheltered Torey Krug.
Without further adieu, on to the breakdown of McQuaid's PK Adventures!
Anaheim's 1st PPG (Perreault), 1-0 Ducks
This is the one that kicked off the bad night for McQuaid and the Bruins on the PK. I forget who it was, and my apologies for that, but one of our commenters said, "does McQuaid realize he's on the PK?" after this one. That's sort of a fair question to ask in light of this sequence.
Sequence of events:
- The Ducks win the face-off back to the right point.
- Marchand comes out to pressure the point man, who shovels the puck to half-boards man, who passes off to Teemu Selanne.
- Selanne works the puck down low. Bergeron elects to follow him, keeping his stick in the passing lane. At the beginning of his coverage, there's no option to slide to puck through Perreault, who is working down into the slot.
- The box is intact as Selanne reaches the bottom of the circle. Marchand has cut off the cross-ice saucer possibility by sneaking in with the Ducks, left point man, and Bartkowski is out front to ensure that Patrick Maroon won't get a rebound. Selanne works the puck low enough where Bergeron now needs help from McQuaid to keep the lane clogged. This is a good set-up, if McQuaid is able to shut down the pass.
- McQuaid gets caught reaching, and in the split second where he gambles to try and close with Selanne, the Finnish Flash slide the puck through the open lane to Perreault, who redirects it top shelf.
Essentially, our comment section called this one right, as McQuaid played this one as if the Bruins and Ducks were 5v5, and were able to cover one-on-one. Next!
Anaheim's 2nd PPG (Perry), 2-0 Ducks
This is the one where it's more of a unit failure than just a bad move by McQuaid. As you can see from the GIF above, he makes the last bad move, but the entire rest of the unit gets caught too high in the zone.
Sequence of events:
- The GIF begins as Corey Perry has come down low to grab the puck after another Duck, Matt Belesky, loses in edge in front of Chara. Perry throws the puck back to Getzlaf at the point.
- Chara and Marchand both move up high. It's hard to tell, from the camera view, what they're seeing in the brief puck battle between Patrice Bergeron and Ryan Getzlaf, but apparently both players thought Bergeron would be able to clear.
- This is evident because Chara comes all the above the left circle. Meanwhile, Marchand looks like he's expecting Bergeron to be able to knock the puck over towards him for an attempted shorthanded rush.
- Bergeron is unable to get the puck out, as Getzlaf shields him off and makes a nice pass to take advantage of the hole created by Marchand hoping for a shorthanded rush.
- Nick Bonino receives the pass from Getzlaf, virtually left alone at the top of the far side circle. Chara is caught too high, and this leaves McQuaid alone with a man out front and Bonino with the puck on his stick.
- Meanwhile, Corey Perry loops around books it, ahead of Chara, back towards the front of the net.
- Perhaps sensing he has no help, McQuaid attempts to block Bonino's shot rather than come out to challenge him. However, the shot gets through as far as Matt Belesky (it's hard to tell if the puck hits Rask or just the screening Belesky's skates).
- McQuaid makes the last mistake by choosing to shove Bonino instead of looking for the puck. Perry picks it up, skates right behind him, and scores.
Again, I think this one's on pretty much everyone but Rask (who got more interference from Belesky than Jonas Hiller got from Iginla, by the way). All four of the PKers made mistakes; Bergeron lost the puck battle that looked winnable, Marchand was caught looking for a shorthanded bid, Chara wandered too far up after Perry, and McQuaid took the body over trying to find the puck. Moving on!
Anaheim's 3rd PPG (Bonino), 4-2 Ducks
Hoo boy, after the Bruins conceded a shorty on a turnover by Reilly Smith (and an incredible bouncing superpuck that eluded him and Dougie Hamilton as they tried to mess up the Anaheim scoring chance), the Bruins got goals from Dan Paille and Hamilton to make it 3-2. Late in the game, Anaheim had twenty seconds of PP time after offsetting penalties. Julien changed lines to get this defensive pairing on, and this was the result:
This goal might be titled "What Is McQuaid doing?"
Sequence of events:
- Just before the GIF starts, Getzlaf carries into the zone and elects to pounce the puck off the boards to get past Gregory Campbell. You see the end of this as Getzlaf goes into the corner.
- Torey Krug follows Getzlaf into the corner, attempting to win the puck or at least break up the play. Given that the Bruins already have all four players in the zone, and Anaheim right point man is slightly the play, this seems like a solid decision.
- McQuaid comes back to guard the low slot, except he doesn't stop. Instead, he drops below the goal line, rather inexplicably making it so he has no chance to interfere with a pass through the middle...or tie up a netcrasher...or anything, really.
- Krejci, on the other side, takes away a left circle crash (the "Stamkos/Ovechkin spot")
- This is compound by Campbell's curious decision to sort of trail Getzlaf, in a position where he doesn't cut off a pass to the slot or the left point. As the forward on this side, that's his responsibility. He appears to assume Getzlaf wants to try to cycle the puck to Perry, who is trailing on the boards.
- Getzlaf gets to the puck right before Krug, whips the puck directly through the hole that McQuaid and Campbell have left, right onto Nick Bonino's tape.
- Campbell isn't close enough to the lane, and never picks up Bonino's net crash.
- McQuaid is caught below the goal line, and lunges to the ice, trying, too late to block the shot.
- Bonino scores. Sometimes Rask has that, but people score on opportunities that good most of the time, I think.
While I wasn't thrilled with Claude's choice to use Krug here, I don't think he does anything wrong. Unlike the Bergeron play earlier, where I thought Patrice had a good chance to break up the play, I think Getzlaf made the pass early enough where Krug needed help. Unlike McQuaid's corner escapade on the first goal. Anaheim really isn't set-up in the zone yet, so I don't think it was erroneous to pressure the puck-carrier in the corner.
What it comes down to, really, is the gaping hole in the slot that's formed by Campbell betting on a cycle pass, and McQuaid, of course, going too low on the play. Finally, we're to the last goal, where I didn't even realize McQuaid was on the ice.
Anaheim's ES Goal (Perreault), 5-2 Ducks
If you're wondering why I didn't initially know that McQuaid was on the ice, this GIF is quite illuminating.
This is Krejci's line out with McQuaid on the right and Krug on left. This is also probably just as bad a mental mistake as his plays on the 1st and 3rd PPGs.
Sequence of events:
- An Anaheim player behind the net (can't really see who) throws the puck around the far side boards to try and clear the zone.
- The play happens right in front of McQuaid. From where he starts, he can see Jarome Iginla, the wing on his side, is caught behind the net, as Anaheim only just gained possession. Iginla throws himself against the boards to try and block the clear.
- Krejci, the center, was at the left circle faceoff dot, again, visible to McQuaid, and not in position to easily cover for McQuaid. In this situation, with neither forward in a position to help, and two Ducks on the wall in front of him, this is a very "don't pinch" situation."
McQuaid pinches. Krug is left to defend a 2v1. That results in this:
Might as well finish this up.
Sequence of events:
- Krejci books it back, but only in time to prevent a possible return pass.
- Selanne makes the early pass, sliding the puck across to Mathieu Perreault, who would be an all-star if he played the Bruins every day, it seems.
- Krug probably plays it slightly too passively, but Perreault also makes a good decision to let it go from the top of the circle.
- Perreault snipes it top shelf.
While Krug might have played the 2-on-1 better, the main problem is that McQuaid allows the 2-on-1 in the first place with an ill-advised pinch when it was clear that the Bruins forwards were not high enough to help.
McQuaid, from where I sit, is on the fringe right now, with Kevan Miller, Matt Martkowski, David Warsofky, and the like. Say this for him: when it comes to CF%, he is virtually indistinguishable from the other Bruins fringey DMen, at around 48%. However, as with fringe players in other sports, it seems like a roster spot in the long run of this season could come down to versatility, including special teams play.
Given that the Bruins will need someone to pick up Seidenberg's minutes, and they seem to like both Miller and Bart on the PK, and with the fact that McQuaid makes more than the other bottom pairing players, it would not surprise me if he started losing more time to the younger players. He's never really been a puck-mover or a great skater, so i he wants to keep his roster spot secure, it'd behoove him to improve on this game by leaps and bounds.
Thanks to Cornelius and Dan for the GIF work! Hope you all enjoyed the book.