-Good Brat Heck of an effort from Brad Marchand tonight, as he bookended the scoring by netting the first and last goals of the game. Marchand’s second goal was a real beauty, as he flew the zone, got a great pass from linemate Tyler Seguin, and beat Brian Elliot with a beauty of a backhand through the five-hole. The entire Field Trip Line was great tonight, but Marchand was the real driving force.
-Hey, it’s David Krejci! He didn’t end up on the scoresheet, but David Krejci had his best game in quite some time tonight. He was a physical presence (yes, you read that right) and was making plays on both ends of the ice as well. Krejci has been slumping as of late, so here’s to hoping that a solid all-around game like tonight’s gets him going in the right direction.
-Black and Blues The St. Louis Blues are a big, heavy team, and are going to be a nightmare for any team that encounters them in the playoffs. Their heavy forecheck really befuddled the Bruins tonight, forcing a number of turnovers and earning the Blues many extended stays in the offensive zone. Such a forecheck is going to do even more damage in the playoffs, when physical play over the course of a series really wears down the opposition. I really like the Blues as a team, and think they have the horses to make some noise in the spring.
-Solid Timmy Tonight was one of Tim Thomas’ more solid recent performances. Timmy made 30 saves, including a couple of sparklers. Thomas has been pretty disappointing lately; perhaps this solid road effort will get him back on the right track. Tonight’s win also marked the first time Thomas has ever beaten the Blues.
-Cap gun offense The B’s managed just six shots in the first period and a startling FOUR in the second, before stepping things up and registering nine in the third. True, the quality of chances is more important than the number of shots, but for the most part, the number of shots did in fact reflect the quality of play. The B’s DID spend an awful lot of time in their own zone tonight, and had St. Louis had a couple of close penalty calls go their way, the end result could have been very different.
-Handle the heat As I said above, the Blues’ heavy forecheck gave the B’s fits tonight. Perhaps it was their team size, or perhaps it was just something the B’s hadn’t seen before; in any case, the B’s need to figure it out, or else they’re going to see a lot of bodies thrown at them on the forecheck down the stretch.
-Inglorious Backes David Backes is a great player, but he did some of the wrong kind of damage tonight. First, his inadvertent high stick cracked ref Ian Walsh in the mouth, causing the man in stripes to leave the game; in the third, Backes missed a check and ended up burying teammate TJ Oshie, leaving him in some distress on the bench.
What went right
I talked about the Blues forecheck above, but it ended up being the B’s forecheck that caused the game-winner. A strong forecheck forced an attempted clear up the wall by the Blues; Johnny Boychuk was able to keep the puck in and throw it on net, where it instead ended up on the stick of Milan Lucic. Lucic was then able to thread a pass to Chris Kelly in the slot, and Kelly buried it to give the B’s a 3-2 lead with under a minute to go in the first. The goal ended up standing up as the game-winner. It was also a textbook example of what a strong forecheck can do: force the opposition into turnovers that eventually end up in the back of their own net.
Attaboy Marchand. He was terrific tonight.
Providence Shuttle Backes. You’re supposed to hit the OTHER team, man.