Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Bruins Find Another Gear (Return of the Curse? part 2)

After the "collapse" against the Habs the Bruins moved on to Pittsburgh. Late in the second period of that game I was struck by how similar it was to the Habs game, only this time the Bruins were the ones down by two. It wasn't just the score, but the way the game was playing out. It was another tight checking affair with relatively few good scoring opportunities. For a fleeting moment I wondered if this game would end the same way--with the Bruins the ones making the comeback victory. As quickly as the grin came with that thought it faded. After all, the Bruins have not shown much of an ability this season to turn up the heat, to find that extra gear, when they need it. But in the end this was exactly what they did.

Just as the Habs had done two nights before the Bruins got two late goals to tie the game. But this comeback was very different. The Habs had scored two fluky goals to tie and won it later in OT. But the Bruins victory over the Pens was much cleaner. The B's suddenly began to dominate the play, to really take it to them. A goal seemed likely, if not inevitable. When it came everyone knew the Pens were in deep trouble. People have claimed that the Bruins collapsed against the Habs. Maybe so, maybe not. It depends on how you look at it. The Pens game was much more clear: the B's took it to them and they wilted under the pressure. Of that there is no question.

So my confidence is thus restored in the Bruins. Some fans have been complaining a lot lately, calling for dumping players like Savard (give me a break) or for the coach to be let go (who would replace him?). To them I point to last season. It was in fact a lot worse than this. The Bruins have been inconsistent this year but they have shown us glimpses of greatness as they did last night. Last year we had none of that. All we had at this point last year was faith the Bruins could put it all together come the playoffs.

Now about last years playoffs: it's easy to forget everything except that embarrassing four-game collapse in the second round. But think back now to the games that came before that. The Bruins looked unstoppable. They could switch into that extra gear we saw last night at will and pretty much score any time they needed to. I see no reason to believe that same team isn't still there waiting to come to life again in the playoffs. We saw a peek of it last night. If they somehow manage to stay healthy this time around they could go far. With with a little luck--all the way.

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