Sunday, March 30, 2008

Game 78 -- Ottawa Senators

Of the primary teams the Bruins are in a playoff race with going into game 78, the Caps had a win, while the Flyers and Sabres each came up with a single point.

For their part the Bruins matched up against the Ottawa Senators at home, where they earned a gutsy 4-0 win. It was a pretty interesting game. For most of the game the Bruins fought the puck, missing passes, overskating it, and just plain losing the thing. The game was much closer than the score would suggest. This was no blow out. The Sens really brought it, playing physically and with skill. But the Bruins just sort of ground them down, playing an extremely consistent game from the opening faceoff to the final horn.

A few weeks ago I was pondering what would happen if another key Bruin were to be injured. Each time this has happened the B's have faltered, made some adjustments, and returned as good as ever. What a testament to the coaching staff! Yet I wondered what would happen if something happened to Marc Savard. Given his ability to set up goals on a team that has trouble scoring, would that be too much for them to adjust to? Now that we have seen the Bruins without him for three games the answer is surprising. Not only were they able to adjust very quickly to his absence, but it seems to have been the best thing to happen to the team in a long time! Apparently his absence shocked the team out of its scoring slump. The main reason for this appears to be rookie David Krejci who in retrospect was poised to step in and step up, and this is exactly what he has done. But that isn't the only factor. Changing up the lines seems to have re-invigorated all the forwards. Muzz has suddenly found his skating legs. PJ has found his shot again, although he seems to be fighting the puck more than usual, and Sturm too has found his scoring touch. But its the kids who are now leading this team into the playoffs! Last night saw a big contribution from four forwards who are all 22 and under. And Lucic is still only 19!

Today the Bruins face the Sabres in game 79, the first of two remaining meetings between the clubs. I'm getting a bit worried about Thomas getting tired. If it were me I'd seriously consider starting Auld today. Unfortunately the pressure to win remains very high, and both the Caps and Flyers have already played and they both won. So here we go again; it's just another must win game.

I watched the end of the last game the Sabres played against Montreal. Oh, how the mighty have fallen. They blew a two-goal lead late in the third and lost in OT. I watched the Buffalo Post Game show (how come I never get to see the NESN post game show on Center Ice?) and it was like a funeral. But they aren't quite dead yet. Their only hope is to beat the Bruins today. So here we go again; it's just another must win game against a team facing virtual elimination.

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