Never, ever tell the Boston Bruins that they are about to play a statement game. If any given game has meaning beyond the mere acquisition of two points, they inevitably lose their will to play a full 60 minutes and actually win. Especially never make it clear that a win would be a rather well-received thing for their fans, who have been through one of the toughest weeks in a while and who already dealt with a loss in the Bruins’ first game following the Boston Marathon bombings.
Thus, another “statement” was made at TD Garden today: this team can play a great game for maybe 20 or 40 minutes, but give the other team some questionable power plays and suddenly that penalty kill that was so awesome early in the season turns to a pile of crap and helps facilitate a Bruins loss. This against the Pittsburgh Penguins, a team more hyped than the latest iPhone, where everyone stands in pure disbelief as (gasp!) they manage to do well even without their superstars in the lineup–as if that’s some sort of nearly unachievable feat and a miracle of science.
The same could not be said for a healthy Bruins team–save for a few scratches, such as Milan Lucic, who could maybe have helped turn the tide and put this game to bed if he were the player he used to be, but since he’s not anymore, he needed to sit one out. Though they had a great first period and even got a power play goal from Brad Marchand, they then let the Penguins get three unanswered goals after steering much of the second period but not being able to put another one past Tomas Vokoun.
Sure, some of it may have been to do with some penalties given to the Bruins. Remember when they had an amazing penalty kill and people pretty much didn’t worry when there was a guy in black and gold heading to the penalty box? What happened to those days? They’ve been replaced by allowing power play goals in the past three games, including today’s matinee fiasco. The Bruins will be penalized, there’s no way around it, especially not with guys like Marchand and Zdeno Chara in the lineup. But this team used to be able to deal with it a lot better than they are right now.
And really, Tyler Seguin, way to score a goal with all of two seconds left to cut the deficit to one. Really, such a useful and exciting and game-changing goal! Definitely came at the right time, too. No, it wouldn’t have been better earlier–much earlier–in the first period.
Losing Nathan Horton to what sounded like a hand injury after he fought Jarome Iginla wasn’t exactly helpful to the cause either. Here’s hoping he’s ready to go tomorrow for another afternoon game, this one against the Florida Panthers. If it goes anything like things have today, though, there’s no guaranteeing anything.
That goes doubly for the players’ responses following this game. Marchand felt like the team is still playing pretty good hockey. Yes, a four-game losing streak is pretty good. Seguin felt that this game had a playoff atmosphere. Here’s hoping that this isn’t how the team actually plans to play in the playoffs–if so, they can expect to be open for golfing and vacations in a little while!