The Bruins have dropped game 1, 5-2. It wasn’t a great game for the B’s, as they played flat most of the night. Bergeron did skate by himself earlier in the day, but did not play in the game. Bergeron being out was clearly a factor. The 2nd line was invisible all night. The only positive thing was that Tyler Seguin was great all game. He didn’t play nearly enough minutes, and Claude needs to roll him out more in game 2. Adam McQuaid appeared for the 1st time sense game 2 in the Philly series, where he suffered a neck strain after missing a check and hitting the boards head first. You might not want to, but let’s revisit game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals.
The game is on, and Boston has the 1st possession of the game. Ference almost got caught pinching in, and Tampa brought the puck up ice. A pass deflected the puck off a skate, and Lecavailer would be caught offsides. He followed that up with a post hit, just 2 minutes into the game. Tampa caught the Bruins in a line change, and Lecavailer had a breakaway. He deked to the forehand, and then back to the backhand to try to drag the puck in. But Thomas went spread-eagle, and made a tremendous save to keep the Lightning off the board. The Boston D was shoty, and gave Tampa Bay way too many chances early. The Lightning would strike first, when Headman took a shot from the top of the far circle that Thomas knocked down. Moore picked up the puck in the crease and took a shot that was blocked down again by Thomas. The puck came to Seidenberg in the crease, and he kicked it out. The puck was found by Bergenheim though, who had an open net to shoot at, and he scored his 8th goal of the playoffs at 11:15. It was 1-0 Tampa Bay. Clark got a backhand off, and it hit the arm of Thomas. The puck bounced off, and trickled into the net. Tampa was now up 2-0 just 19 seconds later. Kaberle was behind the net, but he struggled to get control of the puck. It was picked off by Purcell, who caught Thomas napping in net. Thomas quickly dropped to the far post, trying to make a leg save. But Tampa would get a gift, and at 12:30 took a 3-0 lead. In just 85 seconds, the Lightning had scored 3 goals. Pathetic defense by Boston, and they now face a very steep mountain in game 1. Ryder brought the puck through the neutral zone, and he passed to Seguin. With a burst of speed, Seguin split the Lightning defense, deked badly, and beat Roloson low glove side. Boston was finally on the board at 15:59, down now 3-1. Boston kept the pressure up. The 1st line of Boston kept the puck in the attacking zone. Horton tried to center a pass from behind the net for Kreci, but Roloson paddled it away. Chara got 2 bombs offs, but 1 was blocked down and 1 went wide. Tampa iced the puck on 2 straight shifts, and would call his timeout to give his team some rest. Lucic got a shot off the face-off win, but it was stopped by Roloson. Tampa Bay would escape a hectic last 5 minutes with a 3-1 lead in the 1st.
Tampa started with some good chances in the Boston zone. They were moving the puck very well around the boards, and it would result in a Boston mistake. Paille would hit Bergeron in the knee at the point, and he hit the ice. Boston would be called for tripping at 1:29, and were on the penalty kill. The Tampa powerplay looked in control for the first 30 seconds, but after a Boston clear things slowed down. Tampa finally got control of the puck back in the Boston zone with under 45 to go in the penalty. Clark took a point shot that was stopped by Thomas. The puck was picked up by Malone, who spun around a shot. Thomas made a ridiculous left kick save though to keep the puck out. The puck went all the way to the side boards, clearing the net-minder of any rebound attempts. With 1 second left on the powerplay, Steve Downey gave a shove to Seidenberg in the back in front of the net. That would result in an interference penalty at 3:29. After 1 second of 4-on-4, Boston went on the powerplay. And to everyone’s surprise, the Boston powerplay was awful. The boos rang down from TD Garden as the penalty expired. Once they were back to 5-on-5, Boston looked like a different team. Chara had the puck at the point, and got a rocket shot off. Roloson made the save, and the puck bounced up and over his left shoulder. Brewer found the puck, and sent it up the sideboards. The puck was pinned against the boards between 2 Lightning and Peverley. The puck squirted out right to Ryder in the far circle. He had open ice now, and skated into the slot. He got a shot off, but Roloson made a great left shoulder save to keep Boston off the board. Tampa had a chance off the rush by ST. Louis. He tried to go high on the near post, but Thomas hopped in the air to knock the puck away. Boston had a chance coming right back up ice. Marchand took the puck down behind the net, and centered a pass for Lucic in the high slot. He got a one-timer off, but it went wide far side. Marchand picked up the loose puck behind the net, and tried a wraparound attempt near post. Roloson laid out in front of the net, blocking any chances, and Tampa Bay cleared out. The 1st line of Boston had another chance coming up ice. Kreci had the puck in the high slot, and deked on Brewer. His stick caught Kreci in his skates, and Kreci hit the ice. Boston went back on the powerplay at 8:09 for tripping. Boston just had nothing going on the powerplay. The were passing the puck way too much, and not getting enough pucks on net. The game remained 3-1, midway through the 2nd. A crazy moment in front of Thomas, as Tampa got a point shot off that was knocked down by Chara in front. Thomas tried to cover the puck, but Stamkos knocked the puck away. The puck went back to the point, where another shot was taken. Thomas made the save, and Boston iced the puck. Right off the ensuing face-off, Kelly won the puck back. Malone hurried to get to the puck, and skated right into Kelly’s leg. Tripping was the call, and Boston was on the pk again at 11:55. The Boston pk looked great, suffocating the Lightning powerplay. The game remained 3-1, approaching 15:00 in the 2nd period. Off a face-off win by Tampa, Dominik Morre chipped the puck right between Peverley’s legs. Downey was right in front of Thomas for a shot, but Thomas hit the ice to make the save and covered the puck up. The 1st line for Boston brought the puck into the attacking zone. Kreci made another great deke, this time beating Hall. His stick got stuck between the blade and the skate of Kreci, and Kreci hit the ice. Boston would go back on the powerplay at 14:58. Boston had good pressure on the powerplay, loading up players in the slot. Kaberle finally took a shot on the powerplay, but the puck ricocheted off the post. But another powerplay gone for Boston, and the game was still 3-1. And that’s how the game would remain heading into the 3rd. Tampa Bay was up, 3-1.
Boston had an early chance off of some nice forechecking by Thornton. He banged into the boards behind the Tampa net, picked up the puck and tried a wraparound on the near post. Roloson held the post, and kept Boston off the board. The 4th line came off, and the 1st line came on for Boston. The 1st line kept the tempo up for Boston, holding the puck in the attacking zone. Not a lot of good shots on Roloson though, and the game remained 3-1. Boston won a face-off back in their own zone, and Boychuck picked up the puck behind the net. He had his stick knocked away by Gange, so he kicked it up the boards to Kreci. Kreci made a blind centering pass, and it went right to Purcell. He passed to Gange in the slot, who went to the backhand for a shot. Thomas went spread-eagle, and kicked the puck away with his left pad. Another spectacular save by Thomas, keeping the Bruins in the game. Boston then had a chance off a Tampa line change, as Lucic split the defense in the near slot to get a shot off. Roloson made the stop 5-hole, but Lecavailer would get called for slashing at 5:53. Boston was back on the powerplay for the 4th time in the game. Back to the old ways, as Boston was passing the puck around too much, and wasted away another powerplay. Midway though the 3rd period, the game was still 3-1. Boston had a good push from a reconfigured line of Recchi-Peverley-Ryder. They controlled the puck in the attacking zone, just wearing out the Tampa defense. After Roloson caught a drive in his gut, he froze the puck. Boston put the 1st line out there, looking for a quick goal. Good defense by Tampa kept the Bruins without control of the puck. As a new line came out for Boston, they brought the puck into the offensive zone. Boychuck pinched in, and leveled Gange. Lecavailer didn’t like that, and he abandoned the play and got in Boychuck’s face. He gave Boychuck a shove from behind, so Boychuck turned around and popped him in the face. After the dust settled, just 1 penalty was issued. It was to Johnny Boychuck for roughing at 12:04. Absolutely terrible officiating in that situation. And with 28 seconds left on the powerplay, a point shot by Clark hits the near post and deflected into the net. Tampa was now up 4-1, 13:37 into the 3rd period. The game was virtually over now, all that was left was for the clock to hit :00. The rest of the game was played out very quietly. Boston emptied the net in desperation, and Simon Gange put the puck in the net. It was now 5-1 Tampa at 17:29. Boston stayed strong, and attacked. And at 18:59 Johnny Boychuck would score off a centering pass by Seguin. Boston made the game 5-2, but it wouldn’t matter. Some testy moments late in the game though, as Milan Lucic laid a big hit on Steve Downie and then a cross checked Victor Headman. Nathan Horton did something during the ensuing scrum. Lucic would receive a roughing penalty served by Seguin, and a 10 minute misconduct at 19:23. Horton would receive the same, with Ryder serving his minor. It was 5-3 for the rest of the game. The game ended with the Bruins losing game 1, 5-2.
Boston came out very flat in game 1. Thomas had a good game in net. The 1st and last goal he allowed were good scores, but the 2 in-between were very soft and ones that he needs to stop. I feel confident though that he’ll bounce back in game 2. Boston just can’t rely on him to make all the stops though like he did in the Philly series. The 1st line was good, just were unable to put the puck in the back of the net. Bergeron being out was a huge factor in the play of the 2nd line. Recchi and Marchand were invisible all night. The 1 really bright star was Tyler Seguin. He played great all night, and showed flares of improvement from this season. He played much harder than he had all regular season. I was surprised that he didn’t get more minutes, until midway through the 3rd period. Hopefully Claude rolls him out a few more times next game, cause he did look spectacular. His goal was particularly amazing. He showed what type of talent he truly has, and showed what pure finishing ability he has. The only thing you can say about Boston, is that their resilient. They’ve faced this before, being down 2-0 to Montreal earlier this postseason. This might only be 1 game, but a game 2 loss to Tampa would be very tough to overcome. I look for Boston to come out much stronger in game 2, especially if Bergeron is on the ice. I think Boston wins game 2 Tuesday night, and they will head to Tampa even.
The game started out kind of strange, with both teams missing their first 2 shots. Dwayne Wade finally broke the ice with a long 2. This game was very low scoring to start, just 6-6 halfway through the 1st. The Celtics were 2-10 from the field, and the Heat were just 2-11. Pretty pathetic offensive showing. It was a very physical game from the start, something we did not see against the Knicks. LeBron tried to make a play in transition, and Rondo just grabbed onto him and carried him out of bounds. Pretty interesting play. Wade and James were the only 2 scoring for the Heat, with Wade scoring 13 of their 20 points. Ray Allen meanwhile, had 8 of Boston’s 13 points. The game was 20-14 at the end of the 1st quarter, in favor of the Heat. The Heat started the 2nd quarter hot, but it was the bench getting most of the production. It was now 29-19 as they approached the midway mark in the 2nd. Boston started to make a run, closing the gap to 4. But, the Heat were just to strong. James Jones had 4, 3-point buckets in the 1st half. Dwayne Wade was carrying the team, scoring 23 points as the end of the half approached. The Celtics were just 14-39 from the field, with 5-8 coming from Ray Allen. It’s not looking like this will be a good one for the C’s. The 1st half ended with a 51-36 Heat lead.
The Heat started the 3rd quarter on a 4-0 run. But, ever resilient, the Celtics came back with a 12-0 run of their own. They had closed the gap to 9, and at least stopped the bleeding. These teams are playing pretty chippy, getting in each others faces. Pierce and Wade have been going at it hard all day. O’Neal laid a flagrant foul on James Jones, and Miami was able to get the lead back up to 11. The Heat would go on a 9-0 run at the end of the 3rd quarter, before Pierce hit a 3 at the buzzer. That would give him just 12 points on the day. It was 76-62 heading into the 4th and final quarter. Boston came out firing, getting a 7-0 lead at the start if the 4th. Boston just couldn’t sustain any of this pressure. They kept making mistakes and turning the ball over. The Miami lead was as much as 17, but Boston kept battling. Unbelievable play though just about midway through the 4th. Pierce executes a great pick on D-Wade, but gets called for the foul. He looked at the official, said something, and then gets his 2nd technical and is ejected from the game. That was insane! Pierce made a perfectly good pick, Wade just ran into him a bit hard. How is that Pierce’s fault? And then to throw him out of the game was just crazy. This ref is out of his mind. Boston is now down 13, and without Pierce. This would be a tough one if they were going to pull it out. Wade then nailed a 3, making it a 90-74 game. Boston had some life though, and it was Ray Allen. He seemed to be the only guy scoring for Boston, and he has hit 5, 3-pointers. The Celtics had closed the game to 90-82. But the Heat was just too much. They had a 10 point lead with under a minute to play, and would not let this one slip away. The Heat win game 1, 99-90.
This was a very bad game for the Celtics. Ray Allen appeared to be the only guy scoring, and whenever they got a sustained run, they let Miami get a run of their own. Boston continuously made mistakes with the ball, and could not hit shots all night. I am very surprised the game ended up being as close as it was. Dwayne Wade led all scorers with 38 points. LeBron had 22 on the night, but the unsung hero was James Jones. He had 25 points off the bench, including 5-7 from 3-point range. Bostons leading scorer was Ray Allen with 25. Pierce’s shortened night resulted in 19 points scored. Him getting tossed in the 4th was just ridiculous. That ref needs a talking to on the rules. Boston had chances in this game to catch-up, but they blew them consistently. There were plenty of runs that the C’s had, but the could never sustain anything. Miami would come right back with a run of their own, to push the lead back up into double digits. Heading into game 2, there aren’t many things to say to improve the Celtics effort.
Score, it’s as simple as that. They just have to score more points, and make less mistakes with the ball. The Celtics can easily steal one in Miami, and they might as well do it now, because the Heat are going to have a tough time playing up in Boston. The hecklers will be out, and LeBron and company will not have a warm reception in the least when game 3 rolls around. If the Celtics lose game 2, I still feel that they can win this series. Mostly, because I feel confident that the C’s will win every game in Boston. If the C’s win game 2, but lose game 3, I’d be more worried than if the lose game 2, and win game 3. Home court is huge for the Celtics, and LeBron will not be looking foreword to coming up to play in a very hostile environment.
With the first game of the postseason in the books for Boston, it’s already looking bad. The Bruins out-shot the Canadians 31-20, and had 17 scoring chances to Montreal’s 10. Yet it was not enough. The B’s were shutout 2-0 tonight in Boston. Cary Price picked up his third shutout in his postseason career, all of them coming against Boston. Boston is continuing its theme of playing horrible at home, something they’ve done for the last two seasons now. They were just 22-19 at home this season, and 18-23 at home last season. This is something that just defies logic. Teams that are any good, are supposed to win games in their own building. It shows that there is something off about this team. If the Bruins are going to make a deep playoff run, they must improve their home record. Now, onto a breakdown of the game.
The Bruins had a rough first period. Montreal scored just 2:44 into the game to take a 1-0 lead. It looked early like all hope would be lost. Letting the Habs get that first goal was a huge momentum swing in Montreal’s favor. As if it wasn’t easy enough to play in the TD Garden for opposing teams, they now had an early lead to work with. The B’s went on the power play 7:07 in the game, and it was bad. The man advantage looked as bad as it has all year, if not worse. While the Habs continued not to cash in on their very few opportunities, the B’s looked even worse. Marchand had a wide open net to shot at, and he couldn’t bury it. From watching the replays, it looked like the puck was a bit in on his hands, and he didn’t adjust to shoot the puck. The B’s offense looked pathetic in the first period.
In the second period things got better, and worse for the B’s. There offense started heating up, but no goals still for the Bruins. Boston had plenty of chances that they didn’t cash in. It was hard to watch at some points. The Bruins had the puck in the offensive zone most of the period, but they couldn’t score. Ference had an attempt in the slot with Price flopping about, but couldn’t settle the puck. Peverly had a chance high glove side, and shot wide of the net. One of the best chances of the night came at 9:55, as Nathan Horton had a rebound chance off a point shot, and couldn’t find the puck. The Habs did get their chances as well. On a puck that Tim Thomas thought he saved in his gut, it actually squirted out and he left a wide open net, but the puck was shot through the crease. Montreal had a few good scoring chances, but the B’s dominated the second period, and had nothing to show for it.
The first ten minutes of the third period were pathetic for Boston. It was the same thing. Get the puck into the neutral zone, Montreal knocks it away, and then dumps it in. They finally got the offense moving around eight minutes into the third, but still didn’t have a lot of chances. The Bruins had perhaps the best opportunity of the game when Milan Lucic skated into the slot, and got a shot off while tumbling over P.K. Subban’s body. The shot hit Price in the chest high in the crease for the save. That would be perhaps the last good chance for the B’s. And then, it happened. Lucic tried to muscle through Scott Gomez with the puck while in the defensive zone. Gomez avoided the contact, stole the puck and passed it to Gionta. Brian Gionta scored his second goal of the night at 16:42, to stick the dagger in Boston’s heart. At 17:18, Chara had seen enough. He checked Plekanec at the Boston bench, and decided to take a seat on his head. He obviously wasn’t happy with the way the team had played, and didn’t like Plekanec holding onto his stick after the check. Was it childish, yes. Could it be a spark that this team needs to get going in Saturdays game? The third period saw the Canadians out-shoot the Bruins 6-5, and showed just how inept this Bruins offense can be.
Overall, it was just a pathetic showing for the Bruins. The offense was a no-show, the defense made some bad mental mistakes that Montreal capitalized on, and Thomas let in two goals that he should have stopped. They out-shot the Canadians, but what the stat sheet won’t tell you is where those shots were. It seemed that almost every shot Price saw was shot into his chest or gut. Now call me crazy, but the best way to score goals is to shoot for the corners, not the big body of Carey Price! The Bruins didn’t seem to understand this, and repeatedly banged their head against the wall that is Carey Prices chest. I could not believe the inattentiveness of the Bruins. It is Panic time for the Bruins.
The Bruins need to win game 2, period. If the Bruins lose game 2, I’ll be on record as saying they will not win the series, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they get swept in Montreal. So how do the B’s avoid an 0-2 hole? It’s quite simple, make better decisions with the puck. They have to play smarter defensively, make better shot attempts, and take the Montreal forwards off their game by being more physical. Thomas was good, but shouldn’t have allowed those two goals in. If he stops those shots in Saturdays game, and Boston handles the puck better, Boston will win game 2. If there’s anything I feel confident about going into Saturdays game, it’s that Boston will not get shutout again. If they do, then this Bruins team clearly isn’t as good as the regular season would show.