Bruins

15 thoughts from Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals

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15 thoughts from Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals

NEWARK, NJ Here are 15 thoughts from the Stanley Cup Finals with the Los Angeles Kings and New Jersey Devils tied at a 1-1 score and headed to overtime at the Prudential Center in Game 1 of the Finals.
FIRST PERIOD1) Very passive period of hockey from the New Jersey Devils where they looked a little tentative and very nervous. Too much passing in the offensive zone with nobody looking to take their shot and then David Clarkson zinged a shot high and wide when he had a golden scoring chance on Jonathan Quick.2) Colin Fraser, on the other hand, buried the one-timer from the slot for the Kings at the other end of the ice, and became the 16th Kings player to score a goal during the playoffs. It was a meaningful goal for Fraser, who has to feel a healthy Simon Gagne breathing at his neck to replace him in the lineup if hes not producing.3) Ten total shots on goal for both teams in the period. Not exactly VancouverBoston with up and down chances and Alex Burrows taking a bit out of Patrice Bergeron at the very end of the first period in Game 1.4) The Kings won 12 out of 17 face-offs in the first period and looked like the better team in just about every aspect. Pretty amazing considering that Los Angeles was coming off a seven day layoff following their Game 5 win over the Phoenix Coyotes.5) Two good chances for David Clarkson. Hit a post and missed wide. The Devils need to bury those if theyre hoping to take down the Kings.

SECOND PERIOD
1) The Devils didnt have a shot on goal in the first 10 minutes of the second period, and then completely caught fire in the second half of the period. It looked like they finally shook off the Cup Finals nerves and started playing aggressively. Zach Parise crashed the net and got tangled up with Jonathan Quick in a move that stirred the crowd and the emotional pace, and minutes later New Jersey had tied things up.2) Five hits for Dainius Zubrus through two periods. He looks like a bowling ball on the ice smashing into everything around. While many of his teammates were slow starters Zubrus was off the hop from the games beginning.3) Los Angeles Kings could have been winning much bigger after dominating the large portion of the second period. They may come to regret being unable to put New Jersey away before they snapped out of it.4) A couple of interesting numbers: Anze Kopitar leads both teams with three shots on goal and Jarret Stoll has won six out of seven face-offs.5) The Los Angeles Kings power play is making me have flashbacks of the Boston Bruins power play last year. Its that brutal. They were having trouble simply setting up and keeping the puck in their own zone. Not a recipe for success even if the Bruins won it all last year.

THIRD PERIOD
1) Martin Brodeur with an amazing double-stacked pad save on Drew Doughty with less than 10 minutes to go in a tied game in the third period. Yeah, this guy has been here before.2) Dainius Zubrus is flopping, hitting and getting involved all over the ice physically for the Devils in the first game against the Kings. Hell need to take a nibble out of somebodys finger to truly go over into the dark side of Stanley Cup Finals villains, however. A game-high seven hits for Zubrus in Game 1.3) Mark Fayne fanned on a wide open rebound attempt midway through the third period that could have iced the game for Jersey. Fayne grew up in the New England area. Its a cinch Fayne would understand why the name Glen Wesley comes to mind when he couldnt bury the bouncing puck.4) Ilya Kovalchuk has been a non-factor in his first Stanley Cup Finals game. No shots on goal, no hits and really no involvement for the New Jersey Devils in any productive way.5) Of course Game 1 is headed to overtime. This is the season of overtime after all. Loved the Kings willingness to stick with their system despite what was going on around them, and was impressed by the emotion and intensity New Jersey picked up midway through the game.

Only five games into season, Bruins already sending off bad vibes

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Only five games into season, Bruins already sending off bad vibes

LAS VEGAS -- Even though it's only five games into a new regular season, it feels like the Bruins are in danger of going off the tracks.

They finished their three-game Western road swing Sunday with an aimless 3-1 loss to the expansion Golden Knights, which came on the heels of a wretched defeat in Colorado and a victory over the winless Coyotes. Sunday was particularly disheartening, as they never tested their ex-goalie, Malcolm Subban, putting only 21 mostly harmless shots on net against a player they gave away on waivers just a few weeks ago,

They may only have three losses in five games, but it sure feels like there's trouble starting to brew in Bruins land.

“It could be a lot of different things,” said Brad Marchand about the loss to Las Vegas. "We may not have been as mentally prepared for that game as we thought we were. They wanted it more than we did. They out-battled us in a lot of areas and they were the better team. We were making it hard on ourselves. We were trying to do too much with the puck, and not directing enough of the pucks toward the net. You can’t get rebound and you can’t get bodies there if the puck isn’t going there.”

That is a lot of different things. A lot of different problems:

-- They couldn’t fight to get to the front of the net against a rugged Vegas defensive group that was going to make them battle to get there.

-- Once again they had too many passengers along for the ride, with both Ryan Spooner and Frank Vatrano failing to even be a blip on the game’s radar screen. Spooner suffered a lower body injury midway through the game, but while he was out there he was a non-factor once again. 

-- It felt like there was no flow at all to Boston’s game, with breakouts dogged by sloppy passing and players who weren’t hard enough on the puck.

-- When they did get a chance to create something they either missed the net with their shot, or opted not to even take the shot in the first place. 

-- They lost 67 percent of the 57 draws taken during the game, and saw Spooner, Riley Nash and David Krejci and Ryan Spooner go a combined 8-for-29 in the face-off circle.

-- They chased the puck for long stretches and certainly didn’t ever put together anything approaching a consistent, driving pressure in the offensive zone.

Missing stalwart veterans like Patrice Bergeron and David Backes certainly isn’t helping. It makes the Bruins a much smaller group up front that can be pushed around by bigger, stronger defensive units.

But even so, there’s a sense the Bruins can’t consistently bring their 'A' game to the rink with them and don’t seem to have much fight when they fall down by a couple of goals. Trailing by just two goals going into the third period, the Bruins had four shots on net for most of the final period until a late flurry produced a score by David Pastrnak.

Perhaps of more concern, though, is the growing feeling that the Bruins aren’t all on the same page.

Marchand vaguely referenced that the Bruins weren’t prepared to play Sunday, and Tuukka Rask said he’ll no longer comment on anything except his own goaltending. Rask has always been candid and willing to be frank about any shortcomings after Bruins losses, but it appears that’s not something that is any longer welcome inside the B’s dressing room.

“I just try to go out there and give us a chance to win every night. That’s what I’m focused on,” said Rask. “I’m not going to comment anymore on team play that much. We can just talk about goaltending. That’s just the way it is. Sorry.”

Meanwhile, Krejci was similarly short in his postgame thoughts and started talking about avoiding pointing fingers after a frustrating loss.

“There’s no reason to point fingers," he said. "Yeah, we lost a game and it was a frustrating loss. But it’s just the fifth game of the season, so we don’t need to make a big deal out of it. We’re going to back to Boston, we’re going to work hard in practices and we’re going to get ready for the next game.”

Clearly, the fact this stuff is coming to the surface just five games into the season is a cause for concern. But it makes sense, given the way the Bruins are letting an easy portion of the season slip through their fingers.

In their first 10 games of the year, they're facing only one team that made the playoffs last season and they've got plenty of spaced-out stretches in the schedule to get off to a strong, healthy start. Instead they’re losing to subpar teams and highly unproven goalies, and doing so with a real lack of energy or purpose on the ice.

Certainly management would be smart to think about shipping underperforming players like Vatrano back to the AHL in place of Peter Cehlarik or Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson. And a few more games like Sunday’s snooze-fest could advance trade talks for a player like Matt Duchene.

But there aren’t going to be any easy answers. It comes down to hard work and hunkering down together as a team, and Sunday’s pitifully inept loss in a very winnable situation was yet another sign the Bruins aren't even close to being there yet.

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Spooner, McQuaid injured in Bruins' loss to Golden Knights

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Spooner, McQuaid injured in Bruins' loss to Golden Knights

LAS VEGAS -- The Bruins are already missing a handful of players to injuries, and they may have lost a couple more in Sunday’s loss to the Vegas Golden Knights.

Ryan Spooner was knocked out in the second period with a lower body injury, and Adam McQuaid was lost in the closing seconds of the third period when he was hit by a Colin Miller rocket from the point in his leg. McQuaid had to be helped to the dressing room after staying down on the ice for a few long moments, and the hope is that it’s the same kind of mostly harmless “dead leg” hit that allowed Kevan Miller to bounce back immediately from his Friday incident in practice.

McQuaid was spotted up and walking around in the visiting dressing room area postgame, so hopefully it’s nothing serious with one of the few Bruins giving everything he has on the ice each and every night.

Spooner finished with just eight shifts and 6:42 of ice time while failing to generate much offense, and went 1-for-4 in the face-off circle before getting shelved for the rest of the game. He just has a single point and is a minus-3 in four games this season and is once again has been pretty hard to notice on the ice during 5-on-5 play. It perhaps wasn’t a huge loss for the Bruins, given how much Spooner has been struggling to find baseline consistency, but the Bruins can’t continue to sustain injuries to their center men without those missing bodies beginning to take a toll.

The Bruins already have Paul Postma on hand if they take any injuries on the back end, but any more losses up front could mean the B’s dip into Providence where Peter Cehlarik, Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson and Kenny Agostino are all off to hot offensive starts.