Shawn was covering the game for us last night and should have a full recap coming up today, but here are some quick thoughts on all things Game 5.
- First, we're happy to be back today. It was important to support the Vox Union. I'm not sure where things stand now, but I hope they get a fair deal. Thank you all for sticking around and for understanding.
- It's unfortunate that last night's game, and as a result, the rest of the series, was overshadowed by officiating blunders. These are two very evenly matched teams playing at a very high level, and it's been great to watch.
- This, of course, brings us to the officiating: when the teams are this evenly matched, every call or non-call is going to be huge. The fact that the non-call on Tyler Bozak ended up leading to the game-winning goal is exactly what the NHL deserves. The officiating has been horrible across the board this postseason, and this series is no exception. The league is now getting embarrassed on its brightest stage. Let's see if it leads to any changes.
- I thought the league actually dodged a bullet with the officiating, thanks to David Krejci. Had Alex Pietrangelo scored late in the second after Torey Krug was blatantly held, people would have lost their minds. Instead, Krejci saved the day, until the refs tripped over their own feet a period later.
- Speaking of Krejci, he had one of his more active games of this series in Game 5. He was surprisingly second on the Bruins in hits, and was pretty noticeable in the latter half of the game. More is needed, of course, but it's a start.
- It's hard to overstate just how disappointing the Bruins' first line has been in this series. To put it simply, they haven't shown up, aside from Game 3. Where is Patrice Bergeron? Where is Brad Marchand? Where is David Pastrnak? This was the best line in hockey from October through about two weeks ago. Now, they've disappeared when it counts.
- There's plenty of blame to go around, of course. Krejci hasn't been great, and Jake DeBrusk has been borderline invisible. But still, you need your top line to lead the way.
- Last night's game was one of the first not great ones for the third line. Charlie Coyle has been great in these playoffs, but was quiet last night. Danton Heinen wasn't his usual puck possession self. Marcus Johansson was good though. He's playing himself into a big pay day this summer.
- Regarding Zdeno Chara: I thought he was fine. Aside from one play where he lost the puck in his feet, he looked no worse for the wear. Still, the fact that the Bruins couldn't cobble together a more inspired effort for their captain was disappointing.
- For years, it's been Tuukka Rask who has been blamed for the team's downfalls. This year, the team is letting him down. Rask has been outstanding, beaten last night only by a fluke and a great move by Ryan O'Reilly. He's probably going to need to steal one if the Bruins are to stay alive. Let's hope he's up to the task.
- The other thing as disappointing as the first line: the power play. It was the Bruins' biggest offensive asset coming into the series, and it has abandoned them at the worst time. The team still appears to be trying a little too hard, looking to make the perfect play instead of getting pucks toward goal. Maybe the desperation of facing elimination will help them simplify their game.
- Craig Berube's weasel comments on the officiating made the whole thing that much worse. This is a guy who publicly whined about the refs after a game in which his team had more power plays than the Bruins, then went with the "I'm not here to judge the officials" comment. The worst.
- I spent too much of the game complaining about Eddie Olczyk's commentary, so I'll keep this brief: he should probably stop finding a way to blame every blatant headshot on the player who got hit in the head.
- Speaking of commentary, no one on NBC wanted to call the Bozak play for what it was. Olczyck and Emerick danced around it before Pierre McGuire of all people finally said "that's a trip."
Anyways, they're not dead yet! They've won 2 Game 6's on the road this postseason. Let's go for one more.