The Bruins went into today’s matinee game with 12 forwards and 6 defenseman suited up, ready for warm-ups. However, as Rene Rancourt finished up the national anthem, fans would notice 7 defenseman and 11 forwards, with number 67 missing from the line up. Media would later find out that Pouliot, who was present during warm-ups, had told the team he was incapable of playing due to a lower body injury he sustained against the Toronto Maple Leafs. Luckily for the Bruins, defenseman Mike Mottau stepped up to the plate and filled his shoes, playing far out of his comfort zone.
“I thought he did a great job,” Julien said. “He was very adequate as a replacement.”(via Edged By Caps)
Again Tim Thomas got the net in goal sporting 26 saves in today’s match up which was his eighth straight start in net. Bruins fans are still waiting for the day they set eyes on troll Marty Turco in between the pipes. Through the first few minutes of play the period was much like any first period fans have witnessed from the Bruins as of late, steady with some nice flow and a lot of back and forth efforts. It isn’t until 7:50 that Capitals Alexander Semin releases a wrist shot that makes its way behind Tim Thomas and gives the Capitals the first lead in the game. As previously stated by the Bruins and their staff, the next shift is the most important shift after a goal is scored either for or against your team. In just 25 seconds after Semin’s goal, a rebound attempt from Matt Hendricks sails behind Thomas to give the Capitals a two-goal lead an Claude Julien a timeout to regroup and refocus. In the remaining minutes after the timeout, the Bruins would hold a 10-1 edge in shots and score in the remaining 6 seconds of the period, cutting the lead to one.
Heading into the second period, the Bruins were quick to jump on the ball and came out ready to go. As Jordan Caron unloaded a heavy hit against Alexander Ovechkin a slot became open for forward Brad Marchand who seized the opportunity and netted the unassisted, game-tying goal. While officially there were no assists given on Marchand’s goal, it was apparent to all fans watching that Caron was the pivotal part of the play and without his hit, there wouldn’t have been an opportunity. Minutes later David Krejci begins to create a 2-on-1 breakaway as the linesman signals off-sides. A frustrated Krejci flips the puck up towards the linesman in an ‘unsportsmanlike’ manner and receives two minutes in the sin bin. While the Bruins had a good kill without one of their key forwards, shortly after Adam McQuaid and Dennis Seidenberg would collide in to each other behind Thomas and allow Jay Beagle the opportunity to pull the Capitals ahead 3-2. Throughout the rest of the second period the Bruins would take stupid penalties which ended up costing them as the Capitals outshot them 11-1 in the last 10 minutes of the period, gaining another goal for a 4-2 lead.It was apparent they needed to play smarter and find the confidence they had at the end of the first period and try to find some sort of rhythm again.
In the third period Bruins are generally held to high expectations, being known for their stellar performances during the final twenty minutes. Unfortunately today, the rapid reaction came 17 minutes too late, as Johnny Boychuk chipped a Caron rebound up and over Vokoun to cut the lead to one once more. With just 1:20 remaining they would pull Thomas for the extra attacker and produce multiple shots on goal, working Vokoun until the last buzzer sounded, coming up short.
“It’s tough to play catch up hockey in this league…that’s what we’ve been doing a lot.”-Claude Julien(via @NHLBruins)
In order to snap the Pittsburgh Penguins 8-game winning streak, they are going to have to battle hard, create short, crisp, tape-to-tape passes and focus more on playing smart than getting even in the hits column. They are going to have to provide strong defense and play much smarter in the neutral zone if they even stand a chance at coming out on top against the Pens in a 12:30pm EST match-up Sunday. Watch the game on NBC (or TSN) or listen to it on 98.5 the Sports Hub.