With the flood of injuries this week, young players really had to step up, and they did so admirably. Hard efforts from players like Riley Nash, Tim Schaller and the top line all helped to turn in a more gritty performance. Coach Cassidy made the mention that there are going to be quite a few close games this season with the culture that he’s trying to cultivate, so it’s not time to panic just yet.
Side note: it was rather strange to walk out of the Garden and feel warm. Not cool.
Extracurricular activity started early, as each team tried to establish a physical advantage. Colin Miller rode Jake DeBrusk into the boards after the first whistle. David Pastrnak poked at an unsecure puck near the glove of Knights goalie Maxime Lagace and David Perron took exception, leading to most skaters on the ice collecting near the side boards. Perron would be a particular pest in this game, and other bickering began as well. Fortunately, we have the ultimate pest... one that is also on pace to score 60 goals this year. Marchand landed a wicked wristah around 16-minute mark that stunned Lagace a bit.
At the halfway mark of the period, this matchup started to look like it was becoming the Bruins’ game to lose; attacking zone time was leaning in their favor and, though they did have to chase a few dump-ins, they exited their zone quickly. Two tripping penalties with 9m and 5m to play put the B’s on their heels a bit, but Vegas spend 90 seconds trying to enter the B’s zone. They did manage to get the puck near Tuukka for a couple chances at the end of their power play, without luck, and the period would peter out much fanfare. Other notes - newcomer Jordan Szwarz brought good early energy, getting active near Vegas’ net and keeping a loose puck alive. Austin Czarnik was difficult to spot, at least in the first.
Former Bruin Colin Miller took an interference penalty early to put the Bruins on the power play; however, the Bruins looked worse than at even strength. Following the PP, a point shot from Brandon Carlo snuck through traffic and nearly is tucked in by Nash, but goes off the post. Czarnik finds the loose puck in the corner and centers it to Nash, who hasn’t moved off the far post, and he buries it. 1-0, Bruins.
Bruins strike first. Reilly Nash gets his first of the year. pic.twitter.com/TpFt13u57M— Ryan Quigley (@RP_Quigs) November 3, 2017
The second period did slow to a lull for a little while, and for a bit it worked in the B’s favor; with just under half the period (and game), Las Vegas caught the youngsters cheating a bit. Kuraly makes a good play to kick the puck up to Jake DeBrusk, but DeBrusk mishandles it and it finds its way to the back of the twine.
Credit to Nate Schmidt for creating the turnover. pic.twitter.com/yNoI4SaT56— Ryan Quigley (@RP_Quigs) November 3, 2017
Later in the second, the B’s began to fire up the Third-Period Engines, and the Knights accept their fate. Both teams headed to the locker room, tied at 1-1.
We saw very different attitudes from each team in the third - Vegas was putting any puck inside the blue line on net, while Boston was passing often and trying to get the perfect shot. It looked like the B’s were going to go into lead-protection mode, and it was a bit concerning. After a few minutes, Cassidy began rearranging his forward lines to spark some energy, and it worked - perhaps too well for Ryan’s liking.
Kuraly scores and life stinks again. pic.twitter.com/9NdDn4rloS— Ryan Quigley (@RP_Quigs) November 3, 2017
To keep things exciting, Charlie McAvoy took another penalty late in a game, with 4:39 left in the game, the Bruins up by just one goal. We can enjoy the fact that he’s throwing his weight around on the ice - which he’s eager to do every night, leading both teams in hits in this tilt - but the timing is essential. The refs let him get away with one or two off-the-puck actions tonight, but they wouldn’t let this one slide. Fortunately, Vegas bobbled part of the power play, got the puck on net a few more times but from bad spots, and Bergeron and Marchand did their thing on the penalty kill. Nash and Schaller also performed admirably on the PK.
Next Day Takeaways
- Szwarz, Heinen, and Czarnik’s stalls were empty of gear postgame... are they already getting shipped back to Providence?
- Cassidy spoke about the evolving identity of the team, and how it is not a matter of allowing the youngsters to find their game, but more of ‘imposing’ it on the players. We should expect to see a lot more 2-1 games like San Jose or the losses to Columbus and Los Angeles.
- Tuukka was in good spirits following the game, so it sounds like he’s settling into a good place with his play and mentality. VERY important for this team to continue having success.