I’ll leave this post open for those who’d like to share their thoughts on the game. From my perspective, I have only a few observations:
Some will blame Reimer for letting the Bruins back in the game when it was 3-0, but I don’t think he saw the first Bruin goal at all. He was screened and it trickled in. He had zero chance on the goal Fraser deflected with a minute to go.
Reimer made some huge stops throughout the game, including just after the Bruins got within one in the final seconds. Let’s give him some credit. I’m not forecasting anything. I’ll just take the win against a good team. But I wrote a few days ago that as much as I like a lot of what Scrivens and Reimer have done this season, now is the time one or both have to really step up and earn their keep- or we'll spend the entire off-seaosn talking, fair or not, about goaltending again. So this was a nice “start” for the goalies- and notably for Reimer.
(I will ask the question: did Reimer actually play better against Boston, or did the puck hit him more than it has in recent games? VLM readers know I’m a Reimer guy, but I also often say that goalies that play his style, well, the difference in "outcomes" and winning or losing is often location- and good fortune. Meaning, all goalies who play that style go down to cover the bottom half of the net. If a shot goes in over the shoulder, the shooter found the weak spot. If it hits the goalie, he looks like a star. When shots go in, commentators say the goalies went down too soon; when they make a save, they were "square to the shooter" when the real difference was where the shooter put the puck...oh well.)
Quick aside, if we think Reimer 'missed' the first goal (and I don’t) how did Boston fans feel about their goaltending? Three goals against on, what, less than 15 shots?
What I liked?
What I liked?
I loved Ryan Hamilton blocking a Chara shot in the first period and then skating right into the Boston behemoth to take him out of the play. I liked Kessel blocking a Chara shot in the dying minutes, after a great back-check against Seguin.
Kulemin and Grabovski had some dangerous moments on offense. They’ve been more in evidence in that regard lately and it’s good to see. (Kulemin is the latest to gain his offensive stride once playing with Kadri…)
How can we not like that forecheck from the fourth line that led directly to a goal? I made a note of it even before MacLaren scored, which was so reminiscent of the winger’s last goal a while back. They hem the opposition in their own zone, puck comes free, MacLaren goes to the net—and we score.
Kadri was his usual self, netting a beauty a goal, hitting guys and playing with an edge all night. He has been our best player much of the season—certainly the most dangerous.
One cautionary note. People won’t want to hear it, but Gardiner struggled significantly in my mind against the Bruins. It’s not a criticism of the splendid young player, just what I saw and a concern I have noted about his game. At least twice he coughed up the puck because of physical pressure, and those situations could have led to goals. Other times he simply turned the puck over—the very thing that Carlyle doesn’t like, I’m guessing, about his game. We all know Gardiner is a marvellous talent, but the one thing I keep saying about him is I want to see him against good opposition in the playoffs, when the checking is much tigher than it is during the regular season. Then I’ll be more comfortable declaring what he can be. He's an unflappable guy and should adjust without a problem. But I'll be watching that.
In any event, I’m not going to nit-pick after beating one of the best teams in the East. We won. And deserved to win. And even if we didn’t, too bad.
The Bruins were missing some key defensemen. But we were without Lupul and Komarov and Liles was hurt in the second period. We needed this one, especially against the Bruins.
On to Boston.