Obviously, Bruins fans can’t be happy about a 5-3 loss to a team like Tampa. However, just to point out how talented that team actually is; they have two clear offensive lines that are better then any Bruins line. This wasn’t the Islanders that were taking advantage of Bruins mistakes, but rather, a team with the capability to do it, like the Lightning.
In the end, it was simply the Bruins mistakes that led to their problems. They weren’t outclassed by the Lightining (the 25+ shot differential is evidence of this). Moreover, since the Penguins disaster last week, the Bruins have been thrust into a playoff hockey atmosphere.
How have they responded? By playing playoff hockey: It isn’t pretty, but they are hitting, their big guns are stepping up, and they seem to have finally found some sort of identity.
“It’s dissapointing, but we have to see the good things too,” goaltender Tuukka Rask said after one of his most disappointing performances of the season. “We shot the puck over 50 times and they shot less then 20 and they win 5-3, so I have to look in the mirror there.
“You can’t be satisfied with your game when you lose a game, but, I think we played a good game despite some of the mistakes that were made.”
This is what you have to like about Rask’s game. He was left out to dry multiple times, but, get’s over it quickly, credits his team for a solid game and is ready to move. That’s a playoff hockey attitude.
Maybe this is a “glass is half full” mindset, but, the Bruins look like they did right before the olympic break, and clearly know what they want to accomplish when they enter the ice. When things aren’t going there way, they start hitting.
When they get offensive pressure, they make sure someone is parked in front of the goalie. Mistakes are going to happen, and Tampa took advantage of them. This team is far from perfect, and it is unfair to expect them to play three flawless defensive games in a row.
Anyone watching these games must realize how well Milan Lucic has been playing. He has turned into Pierre McGuire’s favorite “Devastating Machine” again and needs to be placed on a top two line immediately. In almost perfect timing, Marco Sturm has again become the place where Bergeron’s scoring chances go to die, and should go down to the second or third lines, immediately.
However, what needs to be fixed most is the lackluster power play.
Without Marc Savard, the power play unit has essentially turned into extra rest for the opponents. The Bruins have to get the defense scrambiing, and to do that they need to keep shooting, or start shooting. Without Savard, they don’t have the talent to make the perfect play, so might as well give up on that strategy. Time for Zdeno Chara, Johnny Boychuk and Dennis Seidenberg to start rocketing it with Wheeler and Recchi in front of the net.
However, Bruins fans shouldn’t bury the Black and Gold’s playoff hopes because of one game – in which they dominated the flow of play – where mistakes came back to bite him. It happens to every team (Chicago lost 6-1 last night to Columbus). Just like many other moments this season, saturday will be a test in this team’s resiliency.
With the way they have played recently, expect the Black and Gold to bounce back.