Bounce back time in Raleigh
Monday’s matinee against the Avalanche should go down in the annals of the 2011-2012 season (which has barely launched) as one of the more miserable games of the season. I didn’t initially write about it because there seemed nothing to write about. It was a typical Bruins performance in which they simply didn’t rise to the occasion and presumed a lesser opponent required less effort (think of the games they played against the Islanders, Devils and Panthers that went awry last year, even if the Bs walked away with victories).
Maybe it was coming away from the glow of the final day with the Cup on Sunday at the Patriots games. Perhaps it was the fact it was 1pm on Columbus. Or could they still be finding their way? All of those are reasonable excuses I could stomach. But really, if something similar plays out in Carolina, there will be red flags. After all, these are the same Bruins that now have signs up about “burning all bridges” so that you will have to build again. Poor Tuukka Rask is still attempting to build his first bridge from the 2009-2010 playoffs. Why did they have to play so poorly in front of him? Now that they are on the road, hopefully the team bonding and cohesion pushes them over the top.
Three keys to tonight’s affairs:
1) Effort. Period. When the Bruins try, the team succeeds. When they relax or rest on their laurels, it all goes to hell. This is a frustrating team to love. Yeah, they just won a Cup in glorious fashion, but they are still the same team that can be maddening to watch simply because they can run so hot and cold.
2) Pouliot crossing hit T’s and dotting his I’s. He is painfully close to gaining his first goal as a Bruin. I’d like to see that tonight. He’s laid out some thunderous hits and delivered fast heart-rates to all three goalies the Bruins have faced. Tonight, he’ll need to bring it again.
3) Power-play, what power-play? I am still convinced the Bruins may never be a team that excels on the power-play, at least not for the time being or with this configuration of players. They are showing far more promise now than they ever did. and Joe Corvo seems to be contributing some desperately need spark. But I just try to ignore those 2 minutes still.
Bonus: close out periods without giving up goals or serious chances. The Bruins have a way of stopping their play with a minute left in each period. Teams have caught on and they know it’s an easy time to grab a goal. If the Bruins struggle to play the full 60, they should begin with a full 20. Leaving Tuukka or Tim hanging with 30 seconds to go ain’t right. A goal is still a goal, and it buries them further.