You had to forgive Bruins fans for feeling pretty cynical at the beginning of this one.
Fresh off of a slow start in Columbus, you wanted to see the Bruins come out flying.
“Surely, they learned from their mistake in Columbus,” you thought. “Things will be better tonight!”
And then Marcus Foligno scored 90 seconds into the game, and those thoughts turned to “here we go again...”
For the majority of the first period, the Bruins looked awful. Slow, lazy, listless...pick a bad adjective and it probably applied to the Bruins’ first period.
However, the B’s were able to battle back to tie things up in the second thanks to big efforts by two big guns: Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci.
Unlike Tuesday night, the B’s took the next step, scoring twice in the final frame to earn a “sigh of relief” 4-2 win.
Some quick thoughts from tonight’s game:
- It’s like a broken record now, and we already posted about it, but the NHL needs to do something about the interrupted fight tonight. If you want to break up a fight, fine, break it up. The communication between the two linesmen was iffy at best, with one locking up McQuaid and the other failing to do anything to William Carrier. The half-assed policing led to McQuaid getting popped in the face more than once and Carrier slicing open his hand throwing blind punches at McQuaid.
- I haven’t looked at the numbers, but I’m guessing fighting is down this season. Interventions like the two that McQuaid has seen in the past two games certainly make it seem like officials have received word from on high to discourage fights at every turn. If that’s what the league has decided, cool, just outlaw it and get it over with. The “well, it’s OK, but it’s discouraged” is only going to lead to more injuries and more confusion.
- A great third period from Ryan Spooner was capped off by a play that must have warmed Claude’s grit-filled heart: Spooner, on the ice in the dying seconds with the Buffalo net empty, picked off a Buffalo pass in the neutral zone with great stick positioning and great instincts. The goal was nice, but something tells me Julien was even more happy with the steal.
- The hit on David Backes by Carrier was pretty cheap. I’d hesitate to call it an intentional cheap shot, as stuff happens fast on the ice. But it sure looked like Carrier had a chance to hold up or go shoulder to shoulder. Instead, he elected to drive through Backes, finishing high and probably giving Backes a concussion. If there was speculation that Torey Krug would hear from the league after his hit on Andrew Shaw, we should be hearing the same speculation about Carrier.
- Speaking of Backes, if it is a concussion, it’s time to be concerned about his overall health. Backes has received several big hits to the head over the years, especially the one delivered by Brent Seabrook a few years back. Hopefully he ended up with a shoulder injury or something and not a concussion, but if it is a head injury, Backes may need some significant time out to heal.
- Julien elected to shake up the lines a bit tonight, putting Tim Schaller on the third line, Riley Nash on the fourth and Jimmy Hayes in the press box. It didn’t do a ton. The third line had decent possession numbers but few great scoring chances; the fourth line was fine. If Backes misses Saturday’s game, Julien’s approach will be interesting. Does he give Hayes a shot at playing with some skill guys on Krejci’s wing? Does he keep Vatrano on the right and put him up there? Schaller to Krejci’s left, Spooner to his right? DRAMA!
- Expect a chippy affair on Saturday afternoon. The Sabres had a chance to make a dent in their playoff deficit tonight, but fumbled it. Last night’s game got pretty heated at times, and chances are, a day or two to marinate won’t ease tensions.