The Bruins lost last night to the Minnesota Wild by a score of 4-3. This was the season and home opener for the Wild and I think they showed some rust in the first period. Gabe previewed this game with “Did You Know?” facts and I think its fitting to wrap the game up with the same format.Unlike Gabe, I only have one fact:
Did you know that a hockey game consists of three 20 minute periods?
Marc Savard does, “You got to play three periods of hockey in this league.”
And what do you know, Dennis Wideman figured it out too, “You just can’t play a first and a third and beat a team like that.”
This mysterious middle period is frequently referred to as the “second period” and fits snuggly between the intermissions after period one and before period three. Apparently the Boston Bruins have some sort of second period phobia as it seems all meltdowns occur in this 20 minute time period on the ice. Although, I’m not sure if Claude Julien has quite figured it out yet, as he felt the Bruins just,“ran out of time.” Would an extra 20 minutes sound like a sufficient amount of time to win the game?
The unnerving thing about the second period break down is how flat the Bruins looked. It was an issue last year, and I can’t for the life of me figure out why. Looking at the overall statistics of the game, the Bruins out shot (37-26), out hit (16-15), and won more face-offs (32-19), which from a numbers stand point isn’t too shabby.The Bruins were only out shot by one in the second period. Since the numbers aren’t god awful, it really points to the Bruins just playing flat, uninspired hockey. If they looked like they we were working their asses off and making mistakes due to playing with maybe a little too much intensity, I think that would be a better situation. Last night, it looked like they were just going through the motions for the second period and this was only the second game of the season.
I’d say I live the last two minutes of every period in mortal fear. The Bruins seem to give up an amazing amount of goals at the end of the period. I’m definitely at the point where I expect it to happen. I don’t have any numbers this yet, but hopefully later this week I’ll have more on it. Last night was the classic example, 18 minutes of solid hockey and a 1-0 lead at the end of the first, when a soft goal slides in and the Bruins momentum is crushed.
The Bruin’s took five penalties and gave up two power play goals. The Bruins also couldn’t covert on a four minute double minor for high-sticking in the first, although they did produce six shots on it and for the first three minutes both PP lines were functioning quite fluidly. The PK still looks to be a cause for some concern, but I have high hopes for the PP.
I wasn’t in full support of Manny Fernandez starting, because after the game he tends to sound like this: “The first and second goal was a good example of what’s missing in my game, the sharpness,” he said. “Those are two goals that shouldn’t go. There’s no reason for that, regardless if I get a good look or not.” I understand Manny has to get back up to speed. He has not played in a game that means something in over a year, but I think Tim Thomas has earned the number one spot after last year. Gabe and I talked briefly about Manny starting over Thomas, and Gabe pointed out that Thomas did let up four goals, but he also made some great saves in classic Thomas fashion which gave them a chance to get a win. Regardless of Thomas’ early season save percentage, I think the team has confidence in him and believes he will give them a chance to win the game, even with his own mistakes. I don’t think Manny is at that level yet, so why platoon them now? Why not wait until Thomas runs cold?
The game wasn’t all negative:
- Phil Kessel scored early on a beautiful shot. Is it too early to think Kessel could have a breakout year? Yes.
- Marc Savard continued to produce as always with two goals in the third.
- Stephane Yelle has no regard for the well being of his body while blocking shots. He only had two recorded block shots, but he is constantly clogging shooting and passing lanes.
A win in Montreal on Wednesday would be a huge morale booster, so let’s hope they pull it out.