Plekanec wins a face-off over Krejci, small, but symbolic.
The Bruins have lost game one, round one, of the 2011 Stanley Cup playoffs. 2-0. This is now fact, however hard to swallow.
Their effort, particularly during the second period, was by all means excellent. But it wasn’t sufficient. Carey Price is the new Jaroslav Halak. He stood on his head and stopped everything. Needless to say, some of the shots were of substandard quality–about a third of the Bruins’ 31 shots went straight to Price’s stomach. Price is a big man–shooting into his stomach or trying to go five-hole between the legs isn’t going to work for either goals or rebounds as much as you’d think. That’s really it–Carey Price stopped the Bruins last night. And Brian Gionta had a sweet goal in the first three minutes. That allowed the Canadiens to play more defensively. But without that Gionta goal, the game would likely have been very different.
The Bruins did come out strong. But here’s a rundown of my thoughts:
Puck possession: stupendous. Their passing was on point. There were a few sloppy turnovers here and there, to be sure, but there was great coordination between defense and forwards. Rich Peverley also single-handedly took control of the puck and maximized scoring potential in situations where the Bruins really did have the ability to generate any chances. Peverley looks ready to explode.
Top line: played very well, as Horton, Krejci and Lucic really demonstrated the chemistry they’ve been allowed to develop all year long. With the exception of Savard’s brief reappearance on the top-line and bouncing Krejci to the third, that’s the only really stable line the Bruins have had this year.
Hal and PK: It’s simply a fact that Jacques Martin is going to continue unleashing Hal Gill and PK Subban against them. He said as much before the series began. It’s up to the top line to just keep picking them apart. Gill is a world-class shutdown defenseman, but there are still holes in Subban’s game that can be picked at, and should be.
All that said, what are the Bruins to do come Saturday night? Come and play the same game, just a little harder. And don’t let the Habs have that first early goal, really. Honestly, losing game one is better than losing game six (if it were going to seven, obviously). If the Bruins need an extra kick, or added incentive to play their hearts out, this is it. Playing at home hasn’t exactly been a strong suit of the Bruins this year, but neither has playing at the Bell Centre. They will now need to win a game there should they want to win this series. I think the adversity will harden their resolve.