Bruins face adversity: Game 4 preview


Well if the Bruins really want it as bad as I do, they better get there heads out of their ass or as “The Kiiid” always says, “they will be in for a summer long tee time”. Now I know this isn’t a do or die situation yet and that the Bruins are only down 2-1 in the series, but in my eyes, tonight is basically it for the Bruins. In the History of the NHL playoffs there has been 229 occasions when a team has been down 3-1 in a best of seven series. Of those 229 times, only 20 times has a team come back to win that series. That is a mere 8.7%.  As a betting man, I certainly wouldn’t put money on those odds.

In my preview for game 3 “Bruins Keys for Game 3 Success”  I noted four key points that the B’s needed to focus on. They were puck control, neutral zone play, the Chara vs. Staal matchup and goaltending. Well if you paid attention to game 3 you should know that the Bruins lacked in all four of those areas. Again I think these points, with a few more additional areas that I would like to touch on, are going to be the keys for the Bruins success in Game 4. 

“We’ve got to be more patient with the puck,” Savard said. “We’re getting rid of it way too quickly. We’ve got to create more chances. We didn’t create that many last game as a team.” 

Savard is right on. All season long the Bruins did a tremendous job of creating chances in the offensive zone by being patient with the puck and cycling down low. Creating more chances means putting more pucks on net, and when you have a hot goalie like Cam Ward, that is exactly what needs to happen. The Bruins had a meager 21 shots Wednesday night to Carolina’s 38. Also note that Carolina missed the net 17 times, that’s 55 shooting opportunities. I don’t care how good your offense is, you won’t win games in the playoffs when you are giving up 55 shooting opportunities.

Now to my friend Chara who is a staggering -3 in this series and was directly involved in the OT goal by Jussi Jokinen, when he failed to clear the puck out of the zone.

“Chara knows that the last goal started with not getting the puck out,” Julien said.

He also hasn’t done a very good job of shutting down his mark Eric Staal who has 2 goals and 1 assist in both Canes victories.  When he is creating offense Carolina is winning games. He needs to be shut down tonight.

Though not much has changed in what I think the Bruins need to focus on in order to win, there is still one area that I think is absolutely crucial to the Bruins success. I touched upon it briefly in my game 3 preview, but I can’t stress it enough. The Bruins need to come out BANGING tonight. All season long I have argued that the Bruins are successful when they are out there hitting, mucking it up in the corners and getting teams off their games.  After every whistle in the Montreal series there always seemed to be some pushing and shoving, face washing, etc.. and I think that really helped in getting Montreal off there game. Tonight I think the Bruins really need to get in Carolina’s face early and try and get them off their game at home in one of the loudest buildings in the NHL. The Bruins are big and fast and are at their best when they utilize these attributes.

Obviously tonight is the biggest test the Bruins have faced all season. I personally feel they are in serious trouble if they don’t regroup tonight and take game 4.  Luckily Claude Julien isn’t the pessimist that I am.

“We’re not in trouble. We’re in a series that’s a hard-fought series,” Julien said. “What we have to do, probably, is get our game going in the right direction, which means our commitment to outworking the other team and our commitment to making better decisions on the ice and it’s a combination of both, which brings it to, again, it’s a mindset,” he added. “Right now, we’ve struggled in the last couple of games, but there’s ups and downs in a season. You win a game, you’re Stanley Cup contenders. You lose one, you’re in trouble. That’s what you have to face every day. So we just have to keep our focus on what we have to do, believe in ourselves and go out and do it.”  

Julien gave the team the day off yesterday to regroup and focus. Let’s just hope it pays off.

31 Responses to “Bruins face adversity: Game 4 preview”

  1. 1 Coach
    May 8, 2009 at 11:17 AM

    nice analysis. You touched on the point that when Staal produces Carolina wins, and just to get a little more specific, Carolina is 6-0 in these playoffs when he scores a goal (although his empty netter counts towards that, and we all know how the Loge feels about empyt netters). Also, I can’t remember the exact number, but the ‘Canes were something like 23-2-3 during the regular season when Staal scored a goal. Bottom line here, shut Staal down and you have a pretty good shot of winning.

  2. 2 thekiiid
    May 8, 2009 at 11:20 AM

    Coach, good point, Patty, good run-down. I’d like to also add that it’s important for the B’s to get some pucks past Cam Ward. Scoring 2 goals in a game is not going to cut it in the second round. If the B’s want a chance to make it into the Conference Finals, they need to start averaging 3-4 goals a game, with solid defense included.

  3. 3 patverbeek
    May 8, 2009 at 11:44 AM

    Coach great point on Staal. And to the Kiiid I couldn’t agree more. They aren’t going to score goals when they throw 21 shots at Ward. One thing they did well all season was put pucks on net. It needs to happen.

  4. 4 salvatoresayz
    May 8, 2009 at 12:28 PM

    Great analysis “Patty”…Meet you at the Penalty Box post-game?

  5. 10 LPsnipa6
    May 8, 2009 at 12:51 PM

    Verbeek I think your right on in that they need to be the more physical team. They need to send a message early on letting Carolina know that Game 3 is history. Lucic hasn’t buried anyone in awhile it seems and we grew accustomed to it almost every night during the reg season. Thomas needs to show why he is a finalist for the vienza.

  6. May 8, 2009 at 1:19 PM

    I do agree with Julien’s quote about not being in trouble, but it would be nice to see a little bit of urgency from this team (both coaches and players). I dont think they should go into full blown panic mode, but this team seems to be just going through the motions out there and hasn’t really played with any sense of urgency since the third period of game 2, but by then it was obviously too late. Couldnt agree more about Chara pulling his head out of his ass, and i think you can add Krejci and Kessel to that list as well. Kessel has been playing like a fucking sally, i would love to see him to take the body just once.

  7. May 8, 2009 at 1:23 PM

    Wow. A lot of agreement on the Loge today. And I have to say, I too agree with all the posts thus far.

    LP, Vezina.

    By the way, not sure if people saw, but Ference is out and Hnidy is in tonight.

    Here’s a topic that might cause some disagreement…how about shaking up the front lines. I say sit Wheeler, let Bitz get in the game and bury some of the ‘Canes.

    Axelsson – Savard – Kessel (this line played decent during parts of the year)
    Reechi – Bergeron – Kobasew
    Lucic – Krecji – Ryder (Lucic could create more space for these two who have a combined 15 points this post-season)
    Bitz – Yelle – Thornton

    I’m sure I’ll get shit for taking Lucic off the first line, but whatever, something has to change.

  8. 13 patverbeek
    May 8, 2009 at 1:34 PM

    Cammi I actually agree 100% with that line-up. Julien needs to shake the lines up and I think that combo has and will work well. If not Thornton and Lucic really need to throw their weight around, as well as some of the Defensemen.

  9. 14 thekiiid
    May 8, 2009 at 1:50 PM

    You want talent? Go take a walk down Newbury St. right now. Enough talent to win the Cup for the following decade.

  10. May 8, 2009 at 2:44 PM

    Bring Bitz in and have him challenge any takers to a fight right away. A message needs to be sent. Compared to last series, this series has been an embarrassment for the bruins from a physical stand point. When you watched the first round you knew you were watching a playoff game, this series has the feel of an intrasquad practice game. No fighting, no urgency, and definitely a lack of will to win.

    Im not sure if any of you guys saw Joe Haggerty on Comcast last night, but they showed some game film of Kessel defending in the neutral zone against a breakout that was absolutely embarrassing. I cant recall which Carolina player was carrying the puck, but Kessel pretty much just skated next to the guy and let him carry the puck all the way into the zone and make an uncontested pass. Kessel didn’t check the stick, take the body, or even try to slow the guy down. It looked like he could care less. There is no excuse for lack of balls and desire, and a lot of times Kessel shows neither.

  11. May 8, 2009 at 3:11 PM

    I guess I shouldn’t be surprised at the support I share with a few Loggers for Bitz – a blue-collar player who always brings his hard hat to the games. Not sure if anyone’s checked out the Boston.com Bruins Blog, but Bitz will be a healthy scratch tonight.

    I think the Kessel situation is a tough one. The kid has a knack of putting the puck in the back of the net and has explosive speed. He’s not a tough guy and will never play the physical game, so I think’s it’s pointless to hope that he will play that way. That being said, I completely agree with everyone who says he’s been playing like a sally. You can be a finesse player and still mix it up, there are plenty of small guys (smaller than Kessel even) who play a speed game and still get involved in the corners and play defensively.

    I read an interesting interview with Sergei Samsonov that kind of relates to this. When Samsonov broke into the league, he put up serious points and won the Calder. Nowadays he plays a much different game. He said recently in an interview that when he started his career, all he knew was how to score – he didn’t know the defensive part of the game and how important it was. I think the same can be said for a lot of young players. Take Savard. He was always hailed as a one-way player. Kessel is still young and maybe he’ll learn he needs to play hard at both ends of the ice.

    However, being young and not understanding the importance of a two-way game is no excuse for playing like a little bitch. Long story short, I gotta agree with the sugar man.

    • May 8, 2009 at 3:13 PM

      *my bad on the I think’s. I know the grammar police are on duty.

      • May 8, 2009 at 3:20 PM

        I think has nothing to do with grammar, it’s just used a lot. However, think’s is a contraction of think and is. Therefore, you should have just gone with thinks. Example, Nik Antropov thinks that sugarsean, commissioner, kiiid, and pat should probably set up a tee time for Wednesday morning. 8:15 though, I have the 8:00 slot.

      • May 8, 2009 at 3:28 PM

        Hey Antropov, actually “think” would have been correct, not “thinks” you dumb fuck, which is why I corrected myself.

        Wednesday won’t work. The Rangers already have that time booked.

      • May 8, 2009 at 3:30 PM

        Whoops. Didn’t see you put a time slot.

      • May 8, 2009 at 3:31 PM

        I see what you’re getting at. Let me be more specific:

        *my bad on the I think’s.

        No problem, but the apostrophe is not necessary.

      • May 8, 2009 at 3:40 PM

        First, the fact that you’re still lost on why I corrected myself just pads the fact that you really are a dumbass.

        Second, and I know this will be difficult considering you’re still mourning the total collapse of your precious Rangers, when are you going to actually bring something productive to the table?

      • 24 commissionerdangle
        May 8, 2009 at 4:11 PM

        Me thinks that some one is going to get their jersey pulled over their heads and kicked out by Loge security if grammar is discussed any further…

        Bruins 3-1 tonight!

    • May 8, 2009 at 3:59 PM

      An epic collapse is going to defined by the Bruins this post-season. Carolina will win tonight, Boston will win on Sunday to make it interesting, and then pack it in come Tuesday. I don’t have much basis other than feeling on this one, but by the way the Bruins have been playing it’s not far off. 0-11 on the powerplay is miserable and your inability to contain Staal is going to be the downfall. Lucic isn’t playing physical, and Kessel is more worried about getting his ProActive subscription filled than playing playoffhockey. Chara needs to bring his ballet slippers so he can do some more spins, Wideman can’t hit the net, I think he went 0-4 on his attempts last game. Krejci is lost, Hunwick is out, and the rest of your Defensive core is brutal. I will give you Ryder and Recchi who are the only two that can make a difference. For some reason Ryder is always focused, and Recchi has so much experience in these parts it’s scary. PJ, Thorton and Ryder can’t carry the team forever. Good Luck, I’ll see you next season.

  12. May 8, 2009 at 4:21 PM

    Nikolai, did you watch game 1 or were you only tuned in for the last 2 games? Sure, the last two games you’re exactly right about how poorly the Bs have been playing. Look at how poorly the Bruins played in game 3, yet they still forced an overtime (and almost won if Savard and Lucic could have buried their chances, but they didn’t so its a moot point).

    If they continue playing the way they are, they won’t leave the second round. But if they can start playing their game again – the game that earned them 116 points in the regular season, a sweep of Montreal, and a game 1 roundhouse kick to the face of the hurricanes – the Bruins will win this series. Your opinion of the Bruins is based on 2 games. Also, you of all people should realize that being up in a series means jack shit.

    Tonight’s prediction: Bruins win 4-2

  13. May 8, 2009 at 4:26 PM

    Savard’s shot that was blocked in OT would have won it for them, Ward was out of position. Krejci passed away a shot he should have taken and Jokinen scored on nothing more than a slap at the puck. But, that’s OT and the weak chances always go in. I agree with your assesment about the B’s playing well enough to earn 116 points in the regular season, and know first hand no lead is safe, plus NY self destructed. But look at how Carolina played again New Jersey; they have played well ever since. Boston has not been able to restart its engine and the generator seems to be broken. In game one Carolina played bad, Boston didn’t play good.

  14. 29 thekiiid
    May 8, 2009 at 4:33 PM

    Sorry guys, I have not been able to join in the fun here, getting slammed right now. Bruins 4-2 tonight, no way Claude lets them slip any further. Honestly, I would not be surprised to see them win the next 3 straight games. If this goes to 7, lookout. Lucic will come out swinging and Krejci will hopefully take some shots while Kessel will get the puck deep.

    Antropov, typically New Yorker, running your mouth when your team is out of it. I think you were the same person squawking about how the B’s were going to be downed by the Rangers in 6, this was a few weeks ago when you were still playing though.

  15. May 8, 2009 at 4:37 PM

    So by your account, Boston hasn’t played good all series. They won game 1 by a score of 4-1 and forced an OT in game 3, all while playing poorly. So, would you say if the Bruins start playing mediocre they’ll win?

    I disagree that the Bruins didn’t play good in game 1. They played exactly the way the Hurricanes have the past 2 games. They forced turnovers, took advantage of their scoring chances, made tape-to-tape passes and the Bergeron line completely shut down Staal & co. Unfortunately in this series, we haven’t seen both teams play their best in the same game. But if and when both teams come to play, you will see the Bruins come out on top.

  16. 31 thekiiid
    May 8, 2009 at 6:23 PM

    Hey Nik Antropov suck a high hard one

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