Tick Tock Tick Tock, time is winding down on the regular season, just six more games to go until sweet, sweet Stanley Cup Playoffs. Tonight's game marks their final against Toronto, and second to last Northeast Division game of the season (if Ottawa still counts as a hockey team).
It's becoming increasing difficult to find relevant material for these preview as the season comes to a close. Bruins have claimed their playoff spot and a win tonight will clinch the Northeast Division. Out of the six games remaining, only one (NYR) are currently in a playoff position, although technically Toronto has an outside shot.
Hey there we go! Just how good are Toronto's chances of making a playoff push? Well after the jump, we'll take a look. If you want the short version though...
New Boston Bruins Hockey Rules commercial just released.
We're left with a lot of unanswered questions, like:
* Bears don't shit in woods!? Bwah!? * Why didn't the Bear wash his hands after taking a shit in the Garden? * What's with all the Bruins bathroom commercials? There's like five of them now. * Is Cornelius really the love guru? (Answer: Yes) * Do we have to go back to our posts and change the phrases "Bear shits in woods"? * From Catie (see comments): What's that yellow puddle the Bear walks through?
I'm diagnosing the Boston Bruins as bi-polar. I think someone made a joke about calling them the Boston Bi-Polar Bears which is utterly hilarious given their play as of late. To whoever came up with that gem (I believe it was in one of our Facebook threads), thank you. You, sir, are a master of comedy and need to hone your skills. So last week's Grindin' Gears was all over the place and I apologize for that. This is the place where I usually fly off the handle so bare with me.
What a week of hockey this has been! Since the last Grindin' Gears piece, the Bruins have gone 3-1 with quality wins over Montreal, Philly and Chicago - all playoff teams. The only gaffe was a 1-0 loss to the Rangers on Saturday, but most of us expected this to happen. If you've been following the Bruins at all for the past couple seasons you know that:
A. They don't play well in the afternoon B. The team was coming off an emotional win against Montreal
To further my point re: afternoon games, I took a look back at games that started at 1pm or earlier (yes, the Coyotes games in Prauge count) and Boston's record is a wonderful 2-7. The only two wins they got was a 3-0 win in Prauge over Phoenix and a 7-0 win over Carolina in Carolina. Here's the good thing about 1pm games: they don't happen in the playoffs.
Another thing that's been working for the Bruins is their power play. Yeah, no shit. In the past four games the Bruins are 3-10 (and had zero chances against the Blackhawks) and beginning to develop chemistry with the two units. 30% success in four games? Yeah I'll take that to the fucking bank every day.
We were at the game so we didn't get to see the replay of this 'till this morning. We just saw Thornton get off the ice, throw is helmet down and skate off to the bench. Then, suddently, he turns around looking like he was about to clock the ref. Clearly someone on Chicago's bench said something. Dumb move.
Bunch of tough guys talking smack to a someone who they know isn't coming back to the game. Pussies.
"Someone said, obviously I can't swear while I'm talking to you guys, but there was some stuff said that I'm not too happy about," Thornton said. "If I ever find out who it was I'll deal with it in my own way."
Great game. Chicago is a desperate team. The defending champs may not even make the playoffs. They sit 8th in the Western Conference. Every game for the rest of the season is a playoff game for them.
The Bruins didn't care. They brought it tonight. Wasn't the flashiest victory. Admittedly as much as we like hockey some parts of this game were down right boring. Who cares. Bruins came out and shutdown the Blackhawks. Thomas showed why he is the Vezina favorite once again. Zdeno Chara led by example. Seguin didn't show up on the scoreboard but he was a beast again.
Corey Crawford was strong. The Bruins were patient. They broke him. Boston held their shit together while the refs turned a blind eye towards Chicago's cheap shots and blatant penalties. The Bruins did what good teams do.... they hung in the game and made something happen. Simple as that. In the process they took another step towards locking up the Northeast Division.
That disappointing matinee loss against the Rangers is a distant memory after back to back wins over last year's Stanley Cup Finals teams. B's are not f'ing around lately.
After the jump...... what we liked and didn't like about tonight's game......
The Bruins will play their first game as an official playoff team. Whoopie! Now lets put all that talk aside for a minute because the seeding isn't locked up yet. The Bruins still have a chance to climb as high as #1, but can still be taken out by the Canadiens (mathematically true, so shush). With that in mind, the Bruins can't coast for the next 7 games just because they locked up a playoff spot. If they do that, they may as well schedule their trip to Cedar Glen in Saugus for a wonderful 9 holes of golf.
To increase that need to play well, Chicago comes in fighting for their playoff lives. They are currently 8th in the Western Conference with 90 points, three points ahead of my beloved Calgary Flames. If the Bruins were to do me a solid and win, preventing Chicago from gaining two points, that'd be wicked pissah. Chicago's been playing well, however. They're 5-3-2 in their last 10 games, 4-2 in their last 6 games and wins over San Jose, Detroit and Phoenix - all playoff teams.
For the Bruins to pull out the win tonight, they need to exploit Chicago's goaltending issues and continue their success on the power play. Yeah, you read that right - success on the power play. In Philadelphia, Boston scored two power play goals, something they've had trouble doing over the past four freaking years. They'll need their rosy cheeked, doughy, puck moving defenseman more than ever down this stretch.
Another reason why I want Boston to beat Chicago other than my obvious fan bias? Patrick Kane is a huge douche.
After the jump, we take a look at the projected roster and some Game Day Links...
That's right everyone, time to start growing those playoff beards (this includes you, lady fans out there!). The Bruins clinched their fourth straight playoff berth with a 2-1 win in Philadelphia last night. The amazing thing about last night wasn't the actual win, but how the Bruins scored their two goals; on the power play. HEY NOW! Catch your breath man because I know that was shocking to you too! Not one, but two power play goals in a single game. Not in a month, not in 30 attempts, but in one game.
After the jump...we look at the playoff standings with 7 games left...
No time to fret about yesterday's egg. Boston's got another game tonight against the Filthadelphia Flyers. And, luckily for Boston, today's game's a night event and not a matinee, so the chances of the Bruins winning just went up 10 fold.
It would be nice to see the Bruins win a game after a big, emotional one. They'll have no choice in the playoffs unless they all want to work on their golf swing early.
Philly's first in the East, eight points up on Boston and 5-1-4 in last 10. Bruins are like 3-4-3 or something.
Carolina lost yesterday so a Bruins win would clinch a playoff spot for Boston. Hoping the Bs can get that done now, so they can worry more about getting guys like Hnidy some ice time in case shit goes down in the playoffs.
Rangers and Bruins never score more than 0.6 goals total when they play each other. Usually these defensive games are still fun to watch. Except when the B's don't show up at all. Boston was coming off a huge win against Montreal. Every other time they've won that big this season they crap out next game. It was a matinee game. B's ain't so hot at those this year either. Henrik Lundqvist has been on fire lately.
So yeah. B's didn't show up until five minutes were left. Before the game we were even joking that we knew the B's effort would be down and this would be a 1-0 game. Guess we're psychic.
Montreal lost to the Capitals so it doesn't even matter. We're not surprised about today's loss. We're slightly disappointed though.
Keeping momentum and keeping energy after big wins has been a huge problem for the B's this season. They seem emotionally drained and disengaged after big wins. Like we said, today's effort was predictable. That is probably why we're not mad at all. We expected it.
Rask was great. Offense sucked. Lots of shots directly into Lundqvist's chest or Ranger skates. Tyler Seguin was a beast again. Decent chance B's meet Rangers in playoffs. 1-0 games for seven games.
We'd give this a real recap but it would be all tumble weeds. B's didn't show up. Philly tomorrow. Another big game. Bruins likely won't catch Philly for first in the East but B's need to send messages to the top teams in the East regardless. Plus Philly sucks.
Plus we're bummed about the Savard news. Not unexpected, but still sucks. Best of luck to Savard and his family. Hockey isn't even important in the discussion on Savard right now. Perspective.
Remember kids... the sideboards are Boychuk's home. Do not trespass.