Before I talk about the game, I want to address the Tampa "fans" and their hypocrisy. Every since the Bruins were in the playoffs, people have criticized the Boston fans because they throw towel and empty beer cups on the ice after wins and especially after losses. It got to the point where the Days of Y'Orr staff, who don't condone this type of behavior, made a post mocking Bruins fans. That's right, we mocked our own readers because their behavior was out of line. Despite this mockery, people in other hockey markets and main stream media continued to verbally lash on the Bruins fans as classless. So what happens on Wednesday night? Tampa wins and their fans litter the ice, including hitting Boston players.
The reaction from most fans was unbelievable. They were okay with it. Tampa fans, Montreal fans, really anyone outside of the black and gold faithful were happy to see players get hit. After this acceptance, a video came out where Nathan Horton squirted water at a fan and suddenly the Internet was once again in a shit storm about how horrible the Bruins are.
This is the type of shit that brings my blood to a boil. It's not okay for fans to throw shit onto the ice until your team does it. Once your team's fans do it, it's okay. Then it's not okay for a player to defend his teammates after they are hit with the same shit that your fans are throwing. Interesting. Well, fuck you Tampa. Win or lose tonight it's clear to me that your nothing more then a bunch of fair weather fans who don't deserve a fucking hockey team, let alone any sports team.
This isn't going to be a debate on the fans. There's still a hockey game to be played tonight and it's do or die for the Bruins. Plain and simple. Sometimes I feel like this team doesn't want to get to the Stanley Cup Finals. Sometimes I feel like these guys are scared of the pressure that's beginning to mount. Don't forget, the city of Boston hasn't celebrated a Stanley Cup in 39 years. That's a lot of pressure for a team to undergo and I don't think these guys are ready.
Look at Game 6. The Bruins let their frustrations get the better of them. Andrew Ference took a stupid cross checking penalty in front of the net, the Tampa Bay power play abused the Bruins to where Ike Turner was envious and Johnny Boychuk made a pinch that basically won Tampa that game. Basically, Johnny Boychuk has been awful this series. The staff at Days of Y'Orr has had a pants tent for Johnny Boychuk for the past two years, but there's no denying how bad he's been this series.
He's not the only one. I'm not sure if the Bruins are tired or what, but the defense hasn't been up to snuff in this series outside of Game 3.
With all that said though, it's time for the Bruins to lay it all on the ice tonight. If they lose, I don't know what will happen in this city. A lot of people (this blog included, obviously) have lived and died with the Bruins this season. Hell, I watched them in Prague sitting in my brother-in-laws hotel suite getting ready for his wedding. It ain't over yet folks, I believe the Bruins have what it takes to beat Tampa.
I think they're better than Tampa.
For the Bruins to win, they're going to have to revert back to Game 3 where they slowed the pace and played their game. Don't worry about getting physical with the Lightning, worry about slowing down the game. Get the puck deep in the offensive zone. The defensemen need to roam the blue line in the offensive zone unless a pinch is open. Seidenberg and Chara are the best pinchers on the team, anyone else I'd discourage it at this point, especially because Tampa can rush with the best of them.
This is becomes a "pond hockey" style of game, the Bruins will lose. They're not in the same cateogry with Tampa when it comes to speed and skating, but defensively they're much better. Play disciplined hockey and don't allow Tampa to set-up in the zone on a power play. Once they set-up, the Bruins are dead.
I would say capitalize on the power play, but ya know.
Lastly, Claude needs to start mixing up lines. Mark Recchi isn't cutting it anymore. Time to bump him down to the fourth line and double shift Rich Peverley and Tyler Seguin. Both of those players add skill and speed to a second line that already has Patrice Bergeron, the best Bruin on the ice not named Tim Thomas, and Brad Marchand. I love Recchi and I think his leadership with this club is important, but the legs are gone. Let him skate with the fourth line, but no longer can he be useful on the second line our the power play.
There's not much else for me to talk about, so I ask you Boston Bruins, do you have your war face on? Let me see it. LET ME SEE IT.