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Bruins drop game 2 in OT, face 0-2 hole

The Bruins dropped a tough one in game 2, losing in overtime 3-2. The final blow was dealt by a player who shouldn’t even have been on the ice. Alex Burrows was not suspended by the NHL for a clear biting incident, and ended up with 2 goals and 1 assist in last nights game. That just stings, as the Bruins could have won this game if he wasn’t on the ice. I said before the series started that the Canucks would win, but still, I would like to see Boston win. The Canucks won fair and square, but it just feels like the NHL took a win away from the Bruins. Boston now faces another 0-2 deficit in theses playoffs. Manny Malhotra was in his 1st game for Vancouver since a severe eye injury on March 16. He wasn’t much of a factor, as much as it was just good to see him playing again.

Burrows scores the game-winning goal in OT

Alex Burrows scores his 2nd goal of the night, and it ended up being the game winner in OT

1st Period

An important game 2 is on in Vancouver. There’s a much slower pace to this game to start. Johnny Boychuk laid a huge hit on Ryan Kessler in the Boston zone, hammering him into the boards. A perfectly legal hit, but it left Kessler a little woozy. He was slow to get up, and then skated over to the Vancouver bench. Vancouver narrowly scored off a point shot by Salo, that bounced up and over Thomas into the crease. But the puck was swept away by Seidenberg, saving Boston of any trouble. Boston came back with a huge chance of their own off a face-off win in the attacking zone. The puck was sent to the far boards, where Lucic retrieved it. He passed to the slot to Horton, who passed between a Canuck’s legs to Kreci in front of Luongo. He tried to deke him out, but the defenseman clamped down on Kreci’s stick. Kreci worked his stick away, and got a shot off, but Luongo was ready for it. Midway through the 1st, Luongo had already made 9 saves. As the Canucks were clearing their zone, Kessler went out to challenge the puck. Chara got in his way, and Kessler just lowered his head and rammed into him and fell to the ice. The officials felt that was enough for an interference call, and Boston was on the pk at 10:24. The Bruins pk was stifling the Vancouver powerplay. The Canucks were not getting any good shots on net, and the Bruins looked like they would kill another penalty off. But with just 12 seconds left, the Canucks would get on the board. There was a battle for the puck in the near circle, and Burrows just flung a shot on net that found a way through Thomas. This is just an insult. Burrows shouldn’t even be in this game, and now he’s scored an important powerplay goal for the Canucks. Vancouver now had a 1-0 lead at 12:12. The 2 teams skated up-and-down the ice now. Neither team could get control of the puck. Off a face-off in the Boston zone, the puck was won by Boston. Adam McQuaid had the puck, but Daniel Sedin hooked him, and stole the puck away from him. He got a point-blank shot on net, but Thomas blocked it away. There was no penalty called for some reason, on a clear hook by Sedin. The 1st period would come to a close with the Vancouver Canucks up 1-0.

2nd Period

The 2nd period started with a powerplay for the Bruins. Kevin Bieksa was called for delay of game, off a puck that appeared to hit off the high glass before it went out of play. Nonetheless, a very important powerplay for the Bruins. Vancouver was the team creating scoring chances though. The puck was taken by Raymond in the Boston zone, and he skated into the slot. He made a deke, but tripped up himself. The puck came out to the high slot, and Ehrhoff came flying in and got a one-timer off. But Thomas made a huge stop to keep the Canucks off the board. Boston came back with a chance of its own, when Lucic took the puck along the near boards. He passed down to Ryder, who skated towards the net. He centered a pass for Recchi in the slot, but Luongo denied him a goal. The powerplay would go without a goal again, and the game remained 1-0. Boston had a chance off a feed from Horton in the slot, to Kreci at the near post. But Luongo again denied the Bruins their 1st goal of this series. Vancouver started to take control of this game though. The Bruins were having a hard time getting out of their own zone, and were turning the puck over. But the Bruins stayed resilient, and finally the 1st line brought the puck into the attacking zone. Lucic had the puck in the corner, and he passed to Kreci at the far post. Kreci took the puck away from the net, to the bottom of the far circle. He passed back up to Ference at the point, who took a shot. The puck was stopped by Luongo, but the rebound came to Milan Lucic. Lucic outmuscled Erihoff, and just put the puck by the right skate of Luongo. Boston had tied the game at 1, 9:00 into the 2nd. Boston came right back with a chance off the rush. Kreci took the puck through the neutral zone, and into the near circle. He sent a pass across ice to Horton, who tipped the puck on net. But Luongo made a great lateral move to make the save. Boston would then go on the powerplay, after Aaron Rome was called for holding Marchand along the sideboards at 10:26. The Bruins would actually capitalize on this one. Chara had the puck at the point, and just sent an easy shot on net. The puck was deflected in front by Recchi, and went into the Vancouver net. Boston suddenly had a 2-1 lead at 11:35, after doing virtually no work to really get back into this game. Boston had just caught a couple good bounces, and now had the lead. Vancouver came right back with a scoring chance. LaPierre dumped the puck into the Boston zone, where McQuaid went back to get it. He passed up the boards to Kaberle, but he was run off the puck by Higgins. Kessler came in and picked the puck up, and took the puck into the near circle. He then passed across ice to Hansen for a one-timer, but Tim Thomas made a spectacular save with his right pad to keep the Canucks off the board. Up-and-down the ice these 2 teams went, with neither team able to control the puck again. The Bruins would then go back on the powerplay, after Aaron Rome was called for interference at 18:59, as the Bruins were trying to breakout of their own zone. The Bruins now had a huge chance to extend their lead off another powerplay. Nothing would happen at the end of this period, so the Bruins would have a shortened powerplay to start the 3rd. Boston would exit the 2nd period with an all important 2-1 lead.

3rd Period

The Bruins started the period with 1:01 left on their powerplay. Boston had nothing going, and the powerplay would be negated after Dennis Seidenberg hit Lapierre with his leg. That resulted in a tripping call at 52 seconds into the 3rd. So they skated 4-on-4 for 8 seconds, and then the Canucks went on the powerplay for 1:52. A very important kill for the Bruins to keep the lead and the momentum in this game. The Bruins were up to the task denying the Canucks any good scoring chances. Boston kept its 2-1 lead. 5 minutes into the period, Boston was out shooting the Canucks 3-0. An interesting play here, as the Canucks had the puck in the Boston zone. A point shot was taken, but Thomas was taken out after Boychuk checked Torres into him. That left the net wide open, but the puck bounced on Janik Hansen, and the Boston defense collapsed onto him. But Vancouver would capitalize on another chance just a few minutes later. Boston would turn the puck over twice in their own zone to Alex Burrows. The puck was eventually deflected out of play, but it resulted in a face-off in the Boston zone. The puck was won by Vancouver, and held in the Boston zone. There was a battle for puck possession in the far corner, which was won and passed back to the point by Vancouver. Edler took a shot from the point, that was deflected in front by Daniel Sedin. Burrows picked the puck up, passed to the near slot to Sedin, who just put a shot by the right leg of Thomas. Vancouver had tied this game at 2, 9:37 into the 3rd period. Burrows strikes again, in a game he never should have been apart of. These 2 teams were again battling up-and-down the ice. The Bruins had the puck in the offensive zone, when Boychuk took an odd shot from the point. He tried to angle the puck wide, and shot it across ice to the corner boards. The puck came up the boards, and was knocked further ahead by Vancouver. Vancouver now had a 2-on-1 up ice with the Sedin twins. As Henrik Sedin skated through the far circle, Ference’s back pressure poked the puck away from him. Boston brought the puck back up ice, but it was again taken away by Vancouver. They now had a 4-on-1 up ice. LaPierre had the puck skating into the far circle, and he tried to make a centering pass. But McQuaid went to one knee to break up the pass, and there was a scrum at the net for the puck. The Canucks were playing much better at the end of this period. They had momentum purely on their side now. But the Bruins kept on fighting, and were able to work it to the end of the period. So this game would have an overtime, as the game was tied at 2 after 3 periods of play.

OT

The overtime has started, and Vancouver had a chance. Ference had the puck after the face-off in the neutral zone, and he tried to pass it ahead. The puck was knocked down by Sedin, and passed ahead to Burrows. He was 1-on-1 with Chara on his right, and he skated through the far circle. He held the puck, and Thomas dove out to stop the puck. But Burrows held ont it, went around the net, and tapped the puck into a wide open net. Vancouver had scored just 11 seconds into the overtime, and now had a 2-0 lead in the Stanley Cup Finals, winning game 2, 3-2.

Post-Game Breakdown

A tough game for the Bruins to lose, and they now face a gigantic 2-0 hole against the Canucks. Boston played well in this game. The scored 2 goals in the 2nd period, when it felt like they hadn’t even done anything offensively to get themselves back into this game. Even the powerplay scored in last nights game. When the Bruins score on the powerplay and don’t win, it just makes me crazy. The one thing that I am absolutely livid about though is the fact that Alex Burrows was in tonight’s game. He singlehandedly gave the Bruins the loss. Burrows had the 1st goal of the game on the powerplay with just 12 seconds left. Then he had an assist on the 2nd goal of the game. And to top things off, he scored the game-winning goal 11 seconds into overtime. He should not have even been in this game!! The NHL totally blew that call not suspending him, and while they may not have been the reason the Bruins lost last night, they certainly didn’t help. The Canucks are a better team than the Bruins, this is a fact. In my opinion, the Canucks are going to win this series. The Bruins had every chance to stop Burrows, or score more goals, or whatever the case may have been. But the fact that every hockey fan felt Burrows should have been suspended except for the NHL executives, is very frustrating when he’s the reason you lost. I defiantly feel like the NHL screwed the Bruins over.

As for the game itself, Boston played very slow. The Bruins looked good in the 1st, but after that powerplay goal they allowed, they looked different. They had no urgency in their play. The offense wasn’t doing anything productive. It looked an awful lot like game 1, where Boston was getting shots on Luongo, but weren’t getting any good scoring chances. Both of their goals were dirty goals, and it took a bit of luck to get them. Vancouver wasn’t any better. The Sedin goal was pure skill, but Burrows goals were a bit lucky. The 1st one just surprised Thomas, while his 2nd one was a result of Thomas doing too much. Thomas is the reason Boston was even in this game, stopping 30 of 33 shots. But I feel like he thought that he had to be Superman against Burrows in OT, because he didn’t think any Bruin was going to stop Burrows. Make of that what you will. This game just comes down to turnovers.

Boston turned the puck over in their own zone for the powerplay goal by Burrows, and they turned the puck over in their own zone, resulting in a face-off win and eventual goal by Sedin. The 3rd goal scored by Burrows was a result of a turnover by Ference in the neutral zone. Boston needs to improve their puck control, and improve their shot taking. Luongo hasn’t been challenged that much in the 1st two games, so he hasn’t had to stand on his head to keep his team in this series. Meanwhile, if Thomas doesn’t stand on his head, Boston doesn’t stand a chance in this series.

The Bruins should have won this game, and now face another 0-2 hole in this postseason. I thought the Canucks would win the Stanley Cup, and now I am more reassured at this. The Canucks are too good to lose a 2-0 advantage. I don’t think the Bruins will get swept, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they lose this series 4-1. I expect the Bruins to win game 3, as the TD Garden will be rocking. The Bruins need to win both games at home, as there is no way they will win game 5 down 3-1. I look for the Bruins to win game 3, but we’ll have to wait and see how I feel about game 4.

Celtics drop game 2, down 0-2 in Heat series

picture courtesy of espn.com

LeBron plays keep-away with the ball in game 2

1st Half

The game started with the crowd singing the national anthem as one. It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. The game was slow to start again. Both teams weren’t hitting a lot of shots. Boston had built a 9-4 lead. Biby hit a 3 for the Heat, to give them 7 points. Pierce followed that up with a 3 of his own. Boston had a 12-7 lead midway through the 1st. But the Heat battled back to tie the game at 12. Off a Heat free-throw attempt, Pierce would step awkwardly and roll his ankle. He would leave the game. LeBron missed back-to-back shots, and then Chris Bosh was called for goaltending on Boston’s following possession. That gave the Celtics a free 3 from Jeff Green. Garnett was giving the Celtics  lift, going 2-5 with 4 rebounds, 9 minutes into the 1st quarter. Both teams found another gear, and the buckets started falling. Biby hit a long 3 as the shot clock was winding down. Miami had a 24-21 lead with 1:30 to play in the 1st quarter. Miami went into the 2nd quarter with a 27-26 lead. Jeff Green was huge in place of the injured Pierce. Miami started the 2nd quarter with a 3 from Miller. Boston came back with a miss by Big Baby Davis. It was kind of pathetic to watch that shot. Miami missed a lay-up shot though, and then Delonte West hit a 3. Pierce was back in the game at the 7:30 mark. His left ankle was tapped up, but he was playing at least. Rondo was setting up the offense, when LeBron took a swipe at the ball. Instead, he hit Rondo on the head, and picked up his first personal on the night. Ray Allen knocked down a 3, to give Boston a 36-34 lead just passed the midway mark. Miami would go over 5 minutes without a basket, before James made a lay-up. But the Heat offense would get hot. The Celtics would then go 5 minutes without a basket, being 0-7 in that stretch. Rondo finally broke through with a floater, to get the Celtics to within. After a Dwayne Wade lay-up, Rondo would take the ball up court. The 2nd quarter was about to end, so he tried to get a shot off. He bumped into James Jones, and flopped up a shot from mid-court range. The refs determined that Jones had fouled Rondo, but he would not be awarded 3 free-throws. Instead, he would be awarded 2 free throws for the Heat maxing out on fouls. He hit both, and Boston went into the 2nd half down 47-42. Boston only had 3 points from their starters in the 2nd quarter, and that was a 3 by Ray Allen. Jeff Green was leading all Boston scorers with 10 points.

2nd Half

The Heat came out strong to start the 3rd, stretching their lead out to 8. The ever resilient Celtics though closed the gap to 3, midway through the 3rd. Kevin Garnett was able to hit his first basket since the 1st quarter. Rondo was getting hot, and started feeding to Garnett. He hit 4 shots in a row.   LeBron came back, by hitting 2 consecutive 3’s. Miami would go on an 11-5 run to close out the 3rd. The Celtics ended the 3rd down 72-67. Rondo went out early with an apparent back injury. A huge loss for the Celtics. Big Baby Davis started playing very aggressive, getting points on the board. Boston had closed the lead to 74-73 early. The Celtics bench was outscoring the Heat 25-7 early in the 4th. Midway through the 4th, Chalmers hit a 3, and gave the Heat an 83-80 lead. On the ensuing possession, he would go down at mid-court, and started writhing in pain. It appeared that a falling Big Baby Davis would land on Chalmers ankle, and he turned it funny. However, he would be back out on the court after the injury timeout. The Heat would go on a 14-0 run, now with under 5 minutes to play. The game appeared to be over for the Celtics. Finally Garnett got a bucket, and the game was 94-82. Boston would go on a 11-6 run as the 30 second mark approached. Boston couldn’t muster any offense though, and was forced to foul Wade as he came up with a rebound. He would hit both, and the Heat would leave game 2 with a win, 102-91.

Post-Game Breakdown

This is a game the Celtics should have won, and let slip by. The bench was great, outscoring the Heat bench 27-12. The Heat’s big 3 scored 80 points, with LeBron leading the way with 35. The turnovers were almost even, 12 for Boston and 10 for the Heat. Boston out-rebounded the Heat 11-7. This came down to the last 5 minutes in the 4th quarter. Boston had tied this game at 80, when the Heat went on a 14-0 run. That is what killed the Celtics. The defense could not keep them in the game. Everything they did was not working. And the few chances that the C’s had, they couldn’t score to end the run. It was a rough 5 minutes to watch. Boston needs to play a similar game in game 3, but they need to close it out. And that could be a very frightening thing to say. The Heat, not the Celtics, closed this game out. I still feel confident going into game 3 for the Celtics. The Heat do not play well in the Garden, and the Celtics should own them. If the Celtics lose game 3, then it will say a lot about these losses in Miami. If they win game 3, and then game 4 to even the series, then there is nothing to worry about.

Bruins drop game 2. Panic time in Boston

Game 2 is in the books, and the Bruins are exactly where they don’t want to be. They now are down 2-0 to the Canadians, and have to go to the Bell Center for 2 games in Montreal. They quite possibly could get swept up in Montreal. Carey Price was spectacular again, and the B’s made mistakes just seconds into the game. So how exactly did we get to this point?

1st Period

Just 43 seconds into the game, the Habs took a 1-0 lead again, this time thanks to Greg Cammalleri. At 2:14 into the game, Seidenberg received a terrible interference call and the Habs cashed in 6 seconds later to take a 2-0 lead just 2:20 into the game on a Matt Darche goal. Montreal had the tempo of this game going very fast, very quickly. Boston would move the puck up the ice, and try to counter-attack just as quick. Carey Price made the save of the game, making a right-to-left glove save on a great feed by Horton to Lucic about 4 minutes into the game. Kreci made some nice quick moves to get through the neutral zone and threw a shot on goal at 5:50, but the Bruins weren’t able to sustain anything for the start of the game. Marchand had a good chance off a Karble rebound at 8:00, but couldn’t find the back of the net. Not long after, Hamerlick took a nice shot at Horton with his elbow at 8:44 for a roughing penalty after Horton fired a shot on goal after a very subtle whistle. And then, Hall Gill gets a bump from Horton and falls down. Horton even tried to hold Gill up, that’s how bad of a flop it was! Subban also grabbed a hold of Kreci’s stick, and refused to let go. The Canadians were just playing despicable hockey from the get-go. Horton would receive a roughing penalty for the hit at 10:24. The Boston PK kept Montreal out of the net though, and they kept themselves in the game. Boychuck took out two Canadians around 13:00 into the game, and then Horton laid into someone. Trying to up the physical play, and get some life into this team. But Boston could not get by Carey Price. At 19:27 Hal Gill received a cross-checking penalty, giving the B’s a penalty to end the first. It was a very fast-paced first period. Something that works to the Canadians advantage.

2nd Period

The Bruins started the second period with 1:28 left in their powerplay, but remained ineffective. The Canadians controlled the next four minutes of the second, getting shots on net, and keeping the puck in the offensive zone. Lucic had a chance entering the offensive zone, but Subban knocked the puck away from him. Both headed for the boards to get the puck, Lucic got his stick up into Subban’s face at 4:34 for a high sticking penalty. The Canadians weren’t able to get a shot on net in that power play, however, Plekanec would get a clean breakaway off a Boston line change immediately following the end of the penalty. Tim Thomas made one of his biggest saves to this point in the series, stuffing him 5 hole. Boston would take the momentum from the Thomas stop, and at 7:38 off the rush, Patrice Bergeron would score in the slot off a slap-pass from Marchand. At 8:06 Kreci just missed a wide-open net to tie the game. He received a pass from the high sideboards, and just fanned on the shot. It was painful watching the replays. Montreal would storm back following the whiff, but Thomas was up to the challenge. Boston would send the puck back into the offensive zone, and start peppering Price with shots. It became a back-and-forth battle from about 8:00-12:00 into the game. At 12:23, Wisniewskitook out Peverly on the boards (a very dangerous and deplorable hit that at a glance, is worse than the Chara-Pacioretty hit), and Hnidy took great exception to that. He immediately went after Wisniewsik. They exchanged in a good bout, that gave the B’s some momentum. Boston went on the powerplay as Hnidy and Wisniewski both received fighting majors, and a charging penalty for Wisniewski. The powerplay looked energized, getting lots of traffic and shots on Price. With about 5 seconds left in the penalty, Boston got a point shot off that was deflected onto the post. Still, the B’s powerplay remained without a goal. Montreal just kept holding on, and attacking the Boston net. At 17:21, Dennis Seidenberg tried to get a pass from the defensive zone all the way to the attacking zone. The pass was intercepted by Hamrlik, and passed to Eller, who got off a point shot that Webber buried in the net off the rebound. The Habs took a 3-1 lead. Coming off an icing call, Boston would get a face-off win and shot off the point that hit the post. The puck went into Carey Prices back, and remained out of the goal. No matter what Boston did, Price and the post weren’t letting pucks in. The game was now 3-1 in favor of the Habs heading into the third.

3rd Period

Early in the third, it looked like a repeat of Thursday night. Montreal would collapse around the puck, and just dump it into the defensive zone. The Bruins would get a good shift from the fourth line, pressuring the puck, getting shots on goal, and keeping it in the offensive zone. The pressure would result in a tripping call on P.K. Subban at 3:20. So with the B’s on the powerplay, they again remained ineffective. They controlled the puck in the offensive zone for virtually the whole penalty, but only got 2 shots on net. Boston is now 0-6 on the man advantage. They spent the early half of the third period in the attacking zone. The B’s kept the pressure on, but still had nothing to show for it. At about 13:00 into the third, Kreci skated into te offensive zone with a 3-on-2, and tried to get a pass to Peverly on his right. The puck went airborne, and into the boards. Peverly went into the boards and threw it on net. Kreci tried to jam it in, but was unsuccessful. Montreal followed that up by taking the puck into Boston’s defensive zone, and controlled it the for the next 2 minutes. There was now just 5:45 between the Bruins, and what would be an almost inescapable 0-2 hole. Boston moved the puck up to the offensive zone, and Horton fanned on a wrist shot attempt at 14:55. Kreci then missed a rebound chance off a point shot at 15:46. The Canadians were being spent, and iced the puck at 18:02. Thomas went to the Boston bench, but the B’s were unable to do anything with the man advantage. Montreal was called for offsides at 18:34. Boston took a timeout, and had to put Thomas back in net. The face-off was won back by Montreal, and brought up the sideboards where it was flipped into the bench area. Thomas was again on the bench. Seidenberg got a point shot off, but it stuck in Price’s gut. The seconds ticked down, and the Montreal Canadians won game 2, 3-1.

Post-Game Breakdown

This was a very tough game for the Bruins. They turned the puck over early and allowed a first period goal not just once, but twice in this game. It was pathetic to see the B’s make the same mistake in back-to-back games! Zedno Chara was out of this game due to dehydration. He spent Friday night in the hospital. The B’s defense didn’t look any different though, as they made the same mistakes as in game 1. There is no way you can blame this loss on Chara being out. The B’s have played decent hockey thus far. Take away that 1st period turn over, and this is a completely different game. Then, Boston can play more relaxed, and get the game more towards their style of offense. They keep getting pucks on Price, but he’s stopping everything. There’s no doubt that he’s very hot to start. The only way to beat a hot goaltender is to get bodies in his face. Stick Lucic, Horton, Thornton, and other big guys in his way. If they can create havoc in front of Price, then maybe they can knock him off his game.

I said it in my last post after the game 1 loss, and I’m sticking by it. I don’t see any way the B’s can win this series. They would have to win both games in Montreal in my opinion, because they will not come home down 3-1 and win in TD Garden. This team is not a good home team, for whatever reason. If the B’s have any hope of winning this series, they must win the next two game in Montreal. And that my friends, might just be impossible.