Haven’t had a chance to talk much about the Boston Bruins, but I’m not really worried about it because obviously this is a team that should be playing hockey well into June. The Bruins are simply the most dominant team in hockey this season, and it’s not very close. This year in the NHL they finished
- 3rd in goals (1st in Eastern Conference)
- 2nd in goals allowed (1st in Eastern Conference)
- 1st in goal differential
- 1st in plus/minus
- 3rd in Power Play conversion
- 6th in short handed goals
- 8th in penalty kill
They also have the likely Vezina Trophy winner (Tuukka Rask), Norris Trophy winners (Zdeno Chara) and Selke Award winner (Patrice Bergeron). The sweep of these three awards has happened once before in NHL history – 1989 Montreal Canadiens. Oh yea, and the Bruins won the President’s Trophy by leading the NHL in points.
Claude Julien has coached some great teams in Boston, but this is by far the best he’s had. Tonight’s game against the Detroit Red Wings was almost unfair. At no point was the outcome of Game 3 ever in doubt. Just a completely emasculating domination of Detroit.
First of all, new rule Detroit: you don’t get to call yourself “Hockey Town” when the most popular athlete in your state is LeBron James:
The first period showed that these teams simply aren’t fair. This might be the Detroit Red Wings, but in no way, shape or form, are these your father’s Red Wings. They won game 1 because the Bruins played scared and Jimmy Howard played on his head. Literally stole the game. The Bruins came out in the first period and played quite possibly the most dominant period of hockey you will ever see. Here’s what the shot selection looked like in that period:
As you can see, the Red Wings were completely unable to muster a quality shot against Tuukka Rask. He didn’t have to break a sweat. Too easy. He can thank the fact that the 13 of the 23 shots the Red Wings actually took were blocked by Bruins defenders. The Bruins had a grand total of ONE giveaway. When it was in their possession, it stayed that way. Douggie Hamilton’s coast to coast goal in the first five minutes set the tone that the Bruins were gonna do what they wanted to do, whenever the hell they wanted to do it.
The second period it seemed like the Bruins stopped trying. Over half of Detroit’s shots (12) came in this stanza. Nevertheless, the Bruins kept them off the scoreboard and led 2-0 going into the final period. With this team, that’s basically game over.
Third period was more of the same. A total of 7 shots for the Red Wings in a 3-0 loss. Here’s how the shots looked at the end of the game:
The Bruins completely shut down Tuukka’s right hand side. Like, he doesn’t even have to know turn his body during the game. That’s coaching ladies and gentlemen. Twenty one of 23 shots coming from the same side of the ice isn’t a coincidence. Did I mention that they don’t have their second best defender Dennis Seidenberg? No big deal. Claude’s got it taken care of. The Bruins shots meanwhile came from a plethora of regions. There was no rest for Jimmy Howard, and all things considered, he played a great game.
Claude Julien has clearly emerged as the best coach in the NHL. I’ll be the first to admit I thought he was the definition of mediocre for a long time. But hell, even Felger has come around on this guy. He knows how to neutralize a team like none other. What’s really crazy is that if Michael freaking Ryder doesn’t make this save in the first round, Game 5 against Montreal:
then the Bruins lose that series and Claude is fired the next day. Crazy when you think about it.
Want more proof? Look at the Olympics. Team USA was the highest scoring team in the tournament…..until they ran into Claude and couldn’t score a single freaking goal. And who was coaching that American team? Oh yea, Dan Bylsma. I am PRAYING for a Boston-Pittsburgh Eastern Conference Finals. There’s just no way the Penguins can win more than one game against us.
Don’t wanna count my chickens though. Still gotta wax this team two more times and get through the team that is historically our biggest pain in the ass – Montreal. Imagine a cup run of Detroit-Montreal-Pittsburgh? That would be the most legendary Cup run ever. Bruins are back. Cup run is back. More proof that God just likes us more than everyone else. Don’t forget everyone, they hate us, because they ain’t us.
Feel free to share your thoughts to keep the conversation going.