I caught bits and pieces of the beginning of this one and all of the third due to celebrating my father’s birthday, so I don’t really have enough to go on for a full “Good/Bad/What went right” post. Instead, here are some quick points (oh, and happy birthday Dad. And Uncle Jamie too):
-Steven Stamkos is good at hockey. This is a true statement. Stammer Time notched goals 54 and 55 tonight, nearly beating the Bruins by himself. Stamkos is probably the most exciting player in the game right now, with only Evgeni Malkin (and the recently surging Alex Ovechkin) even coming close. I could watch Stamkos post up in the faceoff circle and fire one-timers all day long. I had a ton of respect for the kid after he took that puck to the face in Game 7 of last year’s Conference Finals, and he’s one of the most talented players in the league. He really is a joy to watch, and should be a force in this league for years to come.
-The Hair Line notched another goal tonight, this time getting the game winner when Benoit Pouliot scored 11 minutes into the third. Brian Rolston earned the primary assist on Pouliot’s goal, extending his point streak to seven games. Rolston’s got points to match his jersey number (12) in those seven games. The old man has found his legs, and the B’s have been happy to reap the benefits.
-Jordan Caron has been playing a much heavier game as of late, probably because he’s on the fourth line, or because he’s doing whatever he can to stay in the lineup. I noticed him on the forecheck a lot tonight, throwing hits and making life generally difficult for the Tampa defensemen. Great to see from Caron. He hasn’t been finding the back of the net like he was for a few weeks, but he’s making an impact (pun intended) in other aspects of the game.
-The B’s all but sewed up a playoff spot tonight. They’ve got 93 points with six games left; Buffalo, the current eight seed in the east, has 86 points with just five games left. So while the B’s haven’t technically clinched anything yet, it’d take a collapse of epic proportions for the B’s to miss the postseason now. They appear to be trending in the right direction, having won three games in a row for the first time in months. They also put five points between themselves and the Ottawa Senators with tonight’s win, and the B’s still have a game in hand. While next week’s game with the Sens will certainly be intriguing (and a likely first-round preview), it doesn’t look like it’s going to decide the Northeast.
-I still don’t think, based on the “letter of the law” nonsense we all heard when Anaheim got the game-tying goal washed out on Sunday, that Pouliot’s game-winner should have counted. Chris Kelly was creating some serious traffic in the crease, and Dwayne Roloson ran into the Bruin forward on his way back to the net. I’m assuming the explanation the refs gave Guy Boucher was that the puck was already on the way to/in the net before Roloson ran into Kelly, but fair should be fair: if the whole argument on Sunday was that Marty Turco wasn’t given a chance to make the save (which is nonsense), then neither was Roloson. The B’s were the beneficiaries both times, but all hell would have broken loose had either of those calls gone against them.