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Game 2: Minor happenings

June 4, 2011

David Krejci plays around ahead of practice at the University of British Columbia on June 3rd.

What will it take for the Bruins to win game two tonight? Minor things. Hockey players love to talk about the “little things” they have to do to “improve their game.” Euphemism of all euphemisms, and yet it doesn’t mean anything at all. If anything, it affirms that the overall quality of play is quite good, and there is nothing to remark upon on that front. It’s just, eh, working that much harder. A matter of effort, really. So when talking about not just an individual player, but an individual game, the only thing the Bruins can really look to in game two is the “little things.”

Game one was outstanding, for both teams. The Bruins played a little bit fast and loose with the puck one too many times, resulting in frightening turnovers. This naturally led to an over-reliance on Tim Thomas. But, well, that’s been the story of the season. It’s now the Finals, and not time to reinvent the wheel. So back to the “little things.”

What are they? Puck retrieval. Face-offs. Battling corners. Looking for takeaway and avoid turnovers.

Four things that the Bruins can do tonight. Krejci suffered in the face-off dot at important moments. His win percentage was over 50%, but if there was a way of “weighting” face-off draws, he would surely have suffered in that category, because he lost ones in his own zone, and against weaker players, too. So, if history is any predictor of the future for the Bruins (and do we want it to be?), Krejci will bounce back tonight drawing 60% or so.

Puck retrieval and battling is fairly self-explanatory. The Bruins did well, but could do better. Rich Peverley and Chris Kelly have a knack for takeaways, so, it would be nice to see them utilizing that asset.

Then there’s turnovers. Mr Lucic, turnover machine as ever, tried desperately to make up for the errors of his ways in game one. Early in the first he let two sloppy passes/plays turn into Vancouver chances. He won’t let that happen tonight.

And finally, though not one of my four “little things,” we have one big thing: hitting.

When the Bruins hit, unlike any other team, they create a ferocious momentum. The game turns in their favor, they feed off of it. More glass-smacking hitting would be, quite frankly, excellent.

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