Like most of you, I am a little tired with all of the officiating talk and the whole diving antics etc. The cowardly few will have to live with the shame, let that be their punishment. Anyway, about the Bruins:
Great win tonight, they didn't play hard the whole game, but they got the win and I am very thankful for that. But some things I wonder about and hope some of you gurus don't mind donating your two cents:
I really like Rolston as a man and I love his potential, but am I the only one who constantly feels let down by him? He seems to work hard, although admittedly is pretty soft. Does he just suffer from very low self-esteem? I understand that he does not have natural centerman skills and instincts, but you would think that at least with his speed and mediocre stickhandling he would be generating at least a few odd man rushes/breakaways each night. Also, he owns a very strong slap shot, but almost always misses the net. Obviously it is very difficult to tee it up properly under tight-checking pressure, but don't you think that after making it to the NHL and being here for 8 or 9 years, you would end each practice with a bucket of pucks and just keep shooting till you gain more reliable accuracy?
Axelsson looked very good tonight for the first time in a while. Only wish he had a little more touch in the o-zone. He is one of my favorite players, but his hands just turn to stone when he passes the opposition's blue line. Since he contributes so much in other ways, I don't mind so much. It would just be a nice bonus in the playoffs if he were to somehow bear down a little more. His line seemed to play a purely defensive role tonight. A goal here or there would really help the team.
Again, I like Murray very much as a person, and I understand that some people are just soft and simply can't get into the physical stuff...but it is the playoffs. I have given up expecting him to lay out body checks, but with his frame, is there any reason why he can't muck it up in the corners a little more? Or in the neutral zone, if it merely isn't in him to make a guy take a seat, couldn't he at least ride the guy off the puck. All the hooking is starting to really get to me.
I love Knuble on this team. I always noticed and appreciated what he used to do for the Rags, and he has just elevated his game. I think the main thing is the confidence of that thirty goal season. He just steps on the ice every shift looking to make things happen. Can't say enough about him.
Nylander is getting manhandled out there, yet he is still effective. I expect, as he recovers from the "flu" that his evasive maneuvers will improve, but would it be a wise move for Sully to throw Lapointe out there every fourth shift or so just to protect he and Sammy a little more? Maybe send a strong message. Not that Bergeron isn't doing a great job on the line, even with the rough stuff, but Lapointe is just an extra level of ferocity.
Aside from the guffaw in game 3 that allowed Kovalev to sneak around him with the puck, Gill has had an excellent playoffs. With his oversized frame he will always have speed issues, but I think he has grown so much as a player. I love what he is doing out there. He really stepped it up tonight.
I like seeing Hilbert getting somewhere around two shifts a period. His fresh legs will be a huge plus to the team when they throw him out toward the end of the third period. Offsetting his limitations with a very good center (Thornton?) was a nice move by Sully tonight.
Green is bringing the big game.
McGillis has been very steady. Plays a much improved game with his more realistic role.
Slegr has been a great addition. Obviously he is here for his offensive upside but I think he has played very well in all facets of the game. But has anybody else noticed that he seems to shoot it into the opposing checkers shins more than any other Bruin? Electing for the wrister in tight situations might make him much more effective.
Very excited for Game 5. Let's hope they bring the A game. For those of you fortunate enough to be attending the game, cheer loud and try and rock the Fleet. The Forum crowd sounded so impressive over the NESN feed.
The Game Day Thread and its 500+ posts looks too intimidating to sift through at 2:30 AM so I'll post some thoughts here...
I thought the Bruins dominated the play out of the gate. Then Thornton makes a marginal hit on Markov (he hit him with his shoulder, but also with a slight follow through from the elbow), Markov looks dazed, and I go outside to smoke a cigarette while he's being attended to on the ice. I come back and Boston's down 1-0... all I could think about was how the McLaren hit motivated Montreal two years ago. I didn't think Theo played the Nylander goal badly, there was a very small opening under his arm and Nylander just got it in the right spot.
Mtl's second goal was a bad one by Raycroft, he should not have let up that rebound. The good thing about Rayzor is that you know he's not going to let a bad goal effect him. He made some incredible saves over the rest of the game to keep Boston in it. Mtl's third goal was a bad bounce off the boards. Still not a Ribeiro fan, but he probably redeemed himself somewhat to his Montreal detractors with his performance tonight. Theo looked screened by a Habs defender (Bouillon?) on Boston's second goal, I don't think he saw it.
Montreal played a great third period. They outshot us 12-5 I think, and controlled play, and were aggresive. They played exactly how you want to when protecting a lead. Every time the Koivu line touched the puck in the third and OT I got very nervous. I thought the Bruins were playing tentative, and at times were being patient to the point of almost seeming lackadaisical over loose pucks. Gill, however, played an incredibly calm game on the blueline, he made good decisions, realizing when he had time to make a smart play out of Boston's end and when he had to just get it out. I was very upset with the B's in the third, as they couldn't seem to control the puck for more than five seconds, but they have proven time and again that they aren't quitters, and proved it again tonight. Knuble came up huge.
The GWG in overtime -- at first I thought it was a pretty bad slash, and that the refs blew it, though I wasn't complaining. But looking at the replays, it wasn't much. Kovalev gives up on the play and then turns into Souray and takes him out... don't know what else to say but, thanks Alexei .
Montreal's played a very good series. The major difference between this year and the last time is the difference between Rayzor and Dafoe, not just when they make or miss the saves but also the confidence their teammates do or don't have in them. Rayzor. Boston still has to play with more confidence to even get out of this round, though I think game 5 will more closely resemble game 1 (just what I think, don't wanna jinx 'em). Let's just get this series over with.