Bruins keys for Game 3 success


After their sweep of Montreal and the drumming they gave Carolina in Game 1, I can relate to the B’s collapse in Game 2. Boston defenseman Aaron Ward said after game 2.

“If we thought we were going through here 16-0, we’re kidding ourselves, and it’s a big test for us now”

A big test is right, and I am very excited to see how the Bruins respond to the lacksadaisickle performance they put forth in Sunday’s 3-0 loss. The good news is that I don’t think it is going to take anything drastic for the Bruins to rebound.

The first thing the Bruins need to focus on tonight is controlling the puck, and I am not just talking about Chara’s power play giveaway that led to the shorty.

“When we did win battles we were careless with the puck after. We would just throw pucks at the net. We weren’t patient with it. We didn’t hold onto it.”

Mark Recchi said after a video session with the team. The biggest difference in Carolina’s play from game 1 to game 2 was that they didn’t turn over the puck nearly as much. That was a big fix for Paul Maurice and it certainly was a key in the Canes win Sunday.  Another key for the Bruins will be their neutral zone play. A big part of the B’s success this season has been their ability to break the puck out, control the neutral zone and get the puck deep. All season long I have been saying that the B’s are the toughest when they are battling in the corners. In game 2 the Bruins struggled getting the puck out of their zone and up ice.

“Obviously they played us better in the neutral zone,” Boston coach Claude Julien said. “It was a lot harder to get to the net”

One major thing I noticed in game two, that needs to be corrected tonight,was the non-existance of Chara. It was arguably one of the worst games he has played all season. Carolina certainly has some talent on their roster and one of Big Z’s jobs all season long has been to shut down the opposition’s big guns. In this series, his focus is on Eric Staal. In the second period, Chara was on the ice when Staal, pointless against the Bruins thus far this season, assisted on Carolina’s first goal. We also can’t over look his turnover on the power play that led to the Canes second goal.  Chara was also on the ice for the Canes empty netter putting him at a disappointing minus three on the night. This will certainly be a matchup to pay attention to in Game 3.

Another important key to success for the Bruins in Game 3 will be getting by Carolina goaltender Cam Ward . Ward is coming off an incredible performance in Game 2, stopping 35 in a 3-0 shutout.  Having a hot goalie in the playoffs can really be a difference maker in a team’s success. The good news is that Tim “The Tank” Thomas is arguably the best goalie in the league and has been having a phenomenal playoffs himself with a GAA of 1.51 and a SV% of .944 . Having a hot goalie is nice, but it depends on how long he can sustain is his play. “The Tank” has been consistent all season long and hasn’t shown any signs of letting up this post season. The Bruins haven’t had to overcome much adversity this season and I think tonight will be a true test of character to see if the they can respond not only to Sunday’s loss, but to see if they can do it on the road in a loud and energetic building. Former Cane Mark Recchi sums it up best,

“They’ll be tail-gating all afternoon on Wednesday and they just feed off the energy. It’s one of the loudest buildings I’ve ever been in, period. It’s the same as Montreal. You have to be ready to counter their start, push back and challenge them.”

 Personally, I think the B’s are going to come out guns blazing tonight and beat Carolina 4-2.

11 Responses to “Bruins keys for Game 3 success”

  1. May 6, 2009 at 10:13 AM

    Solid work verbeek. I think you pretty much touched on everything. Number one for me is more traffic in front of the net. To get the puck by a goalie of ward’s ilk they really need to get back to creating chaos in front of the net like they have been all year. I also think they need to get back to the “double barrel” breakouts that andy brickley is always talking about. They seemed to have a harder time than normal getting the puck out of their own zone. Once in the zone, like chara said, hold onto the puck for a little. See what opens up, no need to force it. I think you will see a huge game tonight from Chara, and I also think the PP will start to come back around. They are due, and Its def been a little stale of late.

  2. 2 patverbeek
    May 6, 2009 at 10:24 AM

    Sug, Thanks for the kind words. I gave it my best effort. I am looking forward to a big one tonight. I really think the B’s are going to come out flying.

  3. 3 commissionerdangle
    May 6, 2009 at 10:57 AM

    Game 3: Bruins 4-1

  4. 4 LPsnipa6
    May 6, 2009 at 11:33 AM

    Good post. I think that third group of berg kobolsew and recchi need to have more of an impact. These guys have been pretty silent for most of the playoffs and need to do more. With that said I think recchi will be extra pumped to go back to where he won the cup in 2006 and will have a big game.

  5. 5 patverbeek
    May 6, 2009 at 12:43 PM

    Lpsnipa6 i dont know if i would say that line has been silent throughout the playoffs. They have a combined 6 points in 6 games. It is fair to say though that they need to step it up if the Bruins are going to get passed Carolina.

  6. May 6, 2009 at 1:26 PM

    What’s everyone’s take on Wheeler right now? 6 games into the post-season and no points. Do you sit him out a game and let him watch from up top and put Bitz on the fourth line to bang Carolina up a bit? Or let the rookie try to find the back of the net through more ice time? I’m undecided.

    I know he’s only one guy and there are plenty around him who need to step up their game, but for a guy who had 45 points in the regular season, you’d expect to see him on the scoresheet by now.

  7. 7 LPsnipa6
    May 6, 2009 at 1:36 PM

    Part of the reason is exactly what you said he is playing on the fourth line and not on the power play at all. There was a time this year when he was on the top line with Savard and Kessel. And for most of the first half of the year he played with krechi and ryder. Just as long he is not a liability defensively I think you leave him on the fourth line. Especially since that line looked great the other night.

  8. May 6, 2009 at 3:35 PM

    Wheeler will be skating with Krejci and Ryder tonight, and was last game too wasnt he?

  9. 9 LPsnipa6
    May 6, 2009 at 3:58 PM

    Yeah he was for most of the game but also seen time on the fourth group in the postseason.

  10. May 6, 2009 at 4:40 PM

    We’ll see if claude keeps a short leash on him the way he did with Kessel last year. I’m sure Bitz is ready if he is called on. The kid is always hungry and I thought he played pretty well in game 4 of the Montreal series.

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