Over the course of an NHL season, there are going to be nights when a team doesn’t ‘show up’. Tonight was certainly one of those nights for the Bruins. The sad thing is, after such a promising start, they have now lost 4 of the last 5 games. It’s definitely a slump and it doesn’t get any easier on Thursday night when the first place Atlanta Thrashers come to town. Throughout the locker room, words like stale, desperation and emotion were thrown around by everyone after the offense was unable to score against the Ducks.
For the offense, they look like they did for portions of last year when they couldn’t buy a goal. Don’t be fooled by the 45 shots on goal tonight. As Marc Savard stood in front of his locker fielding some harsh questions, you could see the frustration in his eyes as he said, “You can say we had forty-something shots, but a lot of them were one shot and out. We’ve got to dig down. I think the intensity level was lacking tonight on a lot of us and coach switched the lines there for the third.”
His words are so true. The Bruins would get into the offensive zone, flip a wrist shot on goal and there was never anyone in the so-called dirty areas setting a screen or waiting for the rebound that never came.
Claude Julien wasn’t so kind with his words. With a win, the B’s and Habs would have been tied in points but the tiebreaker would have gone to Boston as they have played less games. During the coach’s post game conference he spoke to the lack of intensity in the forecheck. “Those little things, those little details that we’re talking about, make a big difference in the game. We need to, like I said, sustain the forecheck. When you sustain the forecheck, you create turnovers. And if you’re going to give up on the forecheck then you’re going to let the other team come out and you’re not going to get the opportunities that you should have. We have to look at ourselves and realize that and then react to it and come out a lot better next game.”
Brandon McMillan of the Ducks scored in the first period during a scramble in the slot. Dennis Seidenberg blocked a shot from the point and McMillan was there to put the rebound past tough luck loser, Tim Thomas. He was asked if he feels like he needs to be perfect during this mini slump and tonight he basically said yes. “Yeah I guess so. We never ended up getting a goal.”
With goals by Lubomir Visnovsky and Cory Perry, the Ducks put the game away in the second period. The Visnovsky goal was a blast between the circles that beat Thomas glove side and the backbreaker was Cory Perry’s shorthanded goal. It was a fluke in the fact that he wiffed on the initial shot but the puck trickled into the crease and Thomas never found it. Perry then tapped it past Thomas for the final goal of the night.
A couple of guys went down with injuries tonight but remarkably both returned. Early in the first period, Duck defenseman, Toni Lydman, took a slapshot right off the face. It looked like David Krejci deflected a point shot right into Lydman’s face. It looked alot worse than it ended up as Lydman did return. About halfway through the game, as the puck went behind the net, Steve Kampfer was pushed from behind by Teemu Selanne and he went face first into the baords. Again, it looked alot worse than the 2 minute boarding penalty that was called. As far as Kampfar coming back as quickly as he did, it was his decision to do so. “The trainer said, ‘if you feel fine, go back out there,’ so I just wanted to make sure that I could move everything, which was fine, so I just hopped back on the ice and started going.” Kampfer will be re-evaluated in the morning.
The Bruins media family lost one of it’s members Sunday night. WEEI’s Graig Woodburn lost his battle with cancer. Graig and I sat next to each other for most of my time that I have been covering the B’s and we became good friends. His experience and guidance in the pressbox helped me more than I probably did for him but Bruin win or loss – we never had a bad time together. It’s funny because I know he covered the Kings and Ducks I half expected to see him at the game tonight. Even as sick as he was he loved his pucks. Last time I saw him was when the Kings came to Boston last month so I just assumed he’d be there tonight. Rest easy my friend the nightly “Tune Trivia” will never be the same.
My condolences to the Woodburn family and to the guys at WEEI.
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Written by Jim Mulligan