May 30, 2013

Chara vs Crosby

It's pretty cool and rare that we have a chance to watch the best NHL forward play heads up against  the best NHL Defenseman. Oh and don't forget the captains of their respective teams.

Sidney Crosby and Zedno Chara are most likely going to be competing head to head for almost all of this series. In Boston, when the good guys have the last change, you probably won't see many shifts with 87 on the ice sans Chara.

The Bruins are going to make sure Big Z is on the ice for as many faceoffs as possible in Games 1, 2, 5 and 7 (in Pittsburgh.) If Crosby is out there, he will stay and defend. If Crosby is off the ice, Chara will head to the bench ASAP and wait for him.

I think this week layoff has helped Chara more than anyone else in the series. Check out his amazing TOI stats from the first 2 series:

Round 1 vs Toronto

Game 1- 23:38
Game 2- 25:49
Game 3- 27:31
Game 4- 33:03
Game 5- 28:06
Game 6- 28:26
Game 7- 35:46

Round 2 vs Rangers

Game 1- 38:02
Game 2- 27:22
Game 3- 26:11
Game 4- 31:52
Game 5- 24:56 

He obviously stepped up big time on the back end when Ference and Seidenberg went down. The young guys are obviously contributing as well, but their ice time has been fairly modest.  All 12 of those games were played in a span of 24 days so this time off will give Chara a chance to re charge his batteries and be ready to shut down the worlds best forward, Sid the Kid Crosby. 

If the Malkin line is dominating there may be a chance of a switch up. It's also worth noting that Bergeron could be matched up against Crosby as well. Norris & Selke vs Hart. Love it.

This pic goes out to all the wrestling fans that read my blog: 

May 28, 2013

Sugar, Soup, and Pie (NHL thoughts)

I haven't posted in a while. Sorry to my 4 loyal readers.  Below are some NHL thoughts:

The Bruins have advanced to the ECF for the 2nd time in 3 years (Suck it Claude haters.) They will be facing the Penguins who have raked us all year. Here are the 3 meetings from this season:

3/12 in Pittsburgh- Penguins 3 Bruins 2
3/17 in Pittsburgh- Penguins 2 Bruins 1
4/20 in Boston- Penguins 3 Bruins 2

So as you can see the Bruins had a tough time with the Penguins this year. What makes it worse is Malkin didn't play in any of these games and Crosby missed the last one. However, it is also important to point out those first 2 losses were played on the second night of back-to-back games and that 3rd game was played at 12:30 in the afternoon on a weird Saturday in Boston (day after the terrorist manhunt.)

All signs point to a long series between the East's two best teams. As a Bruins fan, I recognize that we are the Vegas underdogs in the series, but I know this team can beat the Pens. Why? It's simple. Goaltending. Tuukka Rask vs Thomas Vokoun. Yes please. This is a huge series for Rask. He is going to need to steal a game for the Bruins.

There's only two things I want to mention about the NYR-BOS series before moving on.

1. Sugar, Soup, and Pie baby. Sugar, Soup and Pie. Yummm
2. Bobby Orr is back and wearing #47

Later this week I will follow up with a full Bruins-Pens preview with prediction. 


In the West, both series are going the distance. Sharks vs Kings Game 7 tonight in LA. Very much looking forward to this game. It will be a true test for the defending champion Kings, who are facing elimination for the first time this year. The home team has won EVERY game in this series. Game is in LA tonight.

I don't think I publicly posted this but I actually have a friendly bet riding on this game. I have a buddy (who sucks at fantasy football) who's been a self proclaimed Sharks fan for at least 3 years now. We made a bet before the playoffs:

If the Bruins go further than the Sharks. he has to ask out a girl we are mutual friends with that he has secretly been crushing on for years (easy, I know)

If the Sharks make it further than the Bruins, I have to change the header on my blog to a Sharks-themed banner until the Sharks are eliminated.

For some reason I find myself rooting for the Sharks tonight. I don't really know why... I love the Kings... but there's just something about the Sharks this year. Maybe this is the year they wont choke.  I'd LOVE to see them play the Bruins in the Finals. I know that's getting ahead... but still. Go Sharks. Logan Couture FTW.

In the other matchup, the Blackhawks will host the Red Wings tomorrow night in Chicago after winning back to back elimination games this past weekend.

This is an awfully hard game to predict. On one hand you have the hot, experienced Blackhawks and on the other you have the resilient Red Wings. Sigh. I'm going to go with my gut and pick the Blackhawks just because I think Toews is the best player (a sconce better than Kane, Datsyuk, and Zetterberg) and will find a way to will his team to a win. Plus I've seen the Jimmy Howard meltdown show one too many times.

The last thing I will leave you with is this awesome sound clip from the first round of the playoffs. Enjoy:


And yes, Daniel Alfredsson IS the ugliest person North of the Equator in case you were wondering.

May 14, 2013

Thoughts on Bruins Game 7 OT comeback win

Wow. What. A. Game.

"The best 3rd period comeback in NHL Playoff History"

I still cannot believe what happened last night. The Bruins were down 4-1 with about 12 minutes left. They came back to force OT and eventually win to move on to the next series. (Video at end of blog) Here are some thoughts:

Patrice Bergeron-
What a gamer. I said on Facebook last night is one of the many reasons why #37 will be in the rafters one day. Bergy had the game tying goal with 50 seconds left and the game winner 6 minutes into OT. Couldn’t have happened to a better Bruin. Truly lucky to be able to watch this guy play night in and night out. He gives 100% all the time and isn't always recognized for the subtleties of his game (Outside of Boston) … but the entire Hockey world is giving him credit this AM.

Milan Lucic-
This may have been the best game in Lucic’s career. We all know about his struggles in the regular season, but this series Looch has been dynamite. Last night specifically….Looch and linemantes never gave up. They deserve a lot of credit for skating hard, even down 4-1. #17 scored the Bruins 3rd goal of the night, and had a great assist on the Horton goal. I know it looks like looch is slow sometimes… last night he looked fast, dominant, and came to play. As is usually the case, the Bruins go as Lucic goes. 

Young Defenseman-
Matt Bartkowski and Doug E Fresh stepped up in a major way last night. Ference was out with injury. Redden was a late scratch. Seidenberg got injured on his second shift of the game. These holes were filled by our 2 young D man (and Boychuk), and they both did an outstanding job. Bartkowski in particular looked dominant. He scored the game’s first goal on a great play exuberating professional patience.  Hamilton made many “hustle” plays so when he was caught out of position… he was able to recover. These guys had a ton of playing time last night and found a way to make it happen. The future is bright indeed. Thank God we didn’t end up getting Iginla… Bartkowski was the guy who was going to Calgary in that "trade" that never happened. 

Not a great start to the game by Chara after and early penalty killed some opening face off momentum and led to a goal, BUT still…. His 35 min TOI was by far the game leader. Chara is a true warrior and I would hate to have to face him. He’s not the guy from 2011 but he's close, and still playing at a (chuck?)Norris-like level.

Rask again was as solid as possible. Of course the box score doesn’t look great, with 4 GA, but if you watched the game you know. Rask prevented a breakaway goal that would have ended the season in the 3rd with 3 min left, and made an amazing leg pad save in OT a minute before the GWG. I don’t think theres a goalie in the playoffs left Id rather have, except MAYBE the guy we are facing in the next round. Regardless…Rask was the best overall Bruin in Round 1 and without him this team would have been embarrassed in 5 or 6 games max

Ahhh Claude. Seemed like may have been coaching for his job last night. He finally moved Seguin down to the 3rd line and put Jagr up with Bergeron and Marchand. I just thought that was an important move and something to note. Claude lives on as Bruins coach and I for one am pretty happy about that.

Seguin & Marchand-
Look for these guys to explode next series. Our 2 most talented players were shut down for the most part this series. 0 goals between the 2 regular season leaders. They had a great few shifts towards the end of the game and in OT…. The assist Seguin had on the GWG was HIS FIRST POINT OF THE SERIES. Wild.

NY Rangers
The Rangers buried the Caps 5-0 in Washington last night in Game 7. Series starts Thursday. Get ready for some low scoring high intense games! The Rangers and Bruins play a very similar style. 

And here are the video highlights from last nights incredible comeback Game 7 OT win:

( for highlights if above video isn't working

May 13, 2013

Shocker: Bruins host Game 7 tonight

Well, the Bruins find themselves in an all-too-familiar spot tonight… facing elimination on home ice in a Game 7.

Heard that before? Of course you have. Take a look at these amazing stats/tidbits surrounding the Bruins and tonight’s game 7 vs the Leafs:

Here’s the recent history of Bruins in Game 7:

2008: Lost game 7 in Montreal in the first round after trailing 3-1 in the series
2009: Lost game 7 at home to Carolina in OT in the 2nd round after falling behind 3-1 in the series
2010: Lost game 7 at home to the Flyers after a 3-0 lead in the series and again in game 7
2011: Won game 7 at home vs Montreal in OT. Won game 7 at home vs Tampa Bay. Won game 7 on the road vs Vancouver
2012: Lost game 7 at home to Washington in OT after leading the series 2-1.
2013: Forced to a game 7 by Toronto after blowing a 3-1 series lead.

-8 out for the past 11 Bruins playoff series have gone to 7 games. That’s 72%. Insane. All time, only about 28% of all NHL playoff series have gone to the full length of 7 games.

-Since 2008 (including this year) there have been 27 series that went the distance… The Bruins have been involved in 8 of them.  Far more than any other team.

-The team scoring first in game 7 has won 74% of the time. (106/144, including 75 of the last 94 times)

-Home teams are 87-58 all-time in Game 7’s

Bruins vs Leafs Round 1 Summary:

Game 1 in Boston: Bruins win 4-1 in dominant game
Game 2 in Boston: Leafs win 4-2 on Lupuls two goal game
Game 3 in Toronto: Bruins win soundly 5-2
Game 4 in Toronto: Bruins win 4-3 in OT courtesy of a Krejci hat trick
Game 5 in Boston: Leafs win 2-1 with their backs against the wall
Game 6 in Toronto: Leafs win 2-1 and force game 7

Enough stats. Here’s my take on tonight:

Coach Julien admitted after the game the Bruins have been playing “Jekyll and Hyde” all year long, so a string of 2 bad games doesn’t necessarily mean they continue that trend tonight.  This Bruins team has tons and tons of playoff/ game 7 experience. They are the better overall team. They have the better goalie and despite some of the things I’ve read on-line… Rask is currently playing better than Reimer and has outperformed him all series long. If it wasn’t for Rask the Bruins would have lost 5-0 last night.
All the Bruins have to do is show up and play Bruins hockey for 60 minutes. If that happens, they will win.  Simple, right? They have to win tonight. They have to come out hot. They have to score first.  This game is basically going to define this entire era for the franchise…. So who are the Bruins? We will find out tonight. I happen to believe in them still. Remember- it’s about not getting to high on the highs and too low on the lows. And God I hope Seguin scores the game winner.

(Tentative) Prediction- Bruins win 3-1

Just for fun and to make everyone feel awesome about tonight's game, here are the game 7 goals that ended the Bruins season on home ice in the past few years:

Scott Walker 2009:

Simon Gagne 2010:

Joel Ward 2012:

Those videos were painful to post