There is a moment in any game when the home team is losing where there is a shift in the emotional electricity. In today’s Boston Bruins game against the Detroit Red Wings, that moment came in the third period. Having entered the third period playing four-on-four from carry-over matching roughing penalties to the Bruins’ David Krejci and the Red Wings’ Jakub Kindl, it was hoped that the open space might help the Bruins break open and get a goal, being down 3-1 at that point. It didn’t happen.
And when 4:49 into the third, the Wings’ Niklas Kronwall was called for hooking and seven seconds later, Detroit’s Daniel Cleary was sent to the bin for tripping, the Garden faithful hope that the 5-on-3 would help open the scoring floodgates for the Bruins. No matter where the Bruins shot at the goal though, the puck either bounced or was blocked by goalie Jonas Gustavsson. It was clear at that point that the pucks were simply magnetically opposed to the net behind the Red Wings’ goalie. There were moments during today’s game when the fans sat open-mouthed watching chance after chance miss the inside of the posts to slap the twine at the back of the net.
Unlike earlier games last season when the Bruins were down by two or more and the third period was winding down, the fans stayed in their seats. It was clear that they were hoping for another miraculous comeback from behind as had been witnessed during Game 7 against the Toronto Maple Leafs during the first round of the 2013 playoffs. And, having been shown on the Garden HDX the scenes from the Patriots come from behind and then the Red Sox same over the weekend, it was understandable that there was that hope.
When Milan Lucic scored the 100th goal of his career, to bring the Bruins to within one, the crowd at TD Garden erupted in such a cheer; it was clear that they were hoping another miracle was on its way. There was still 1:20 left in the game. Even Jack Edwards, in his NESN play-by-play, questioned if there was “another miracle in the books.” Unfortunately, it was not to be this time for the Bruins. Perhaps it was the sports gods’ way of evening the playing field a bit. After all, it wouldn’t seem quite fair if all of Boston’s teams came from behind and won in the same weekend. It’s just a shame that it was the Bruins’ fans who had to experience the loss.
When Brad Marchand was asked, after the game, about the way the team had played, he said “Yeah I think that’s what happens in hockey. You’re not going to be perfect every night and every shift and mistakes happen and that’s just what happened out there tonight. I don’t think we expect to play a perfect game and like I said they’re just really good at capitalizing on opportunities.”
And capitalize the Red Wings did. After all, when the likes of Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk are on the ice and a player fans on the play, they will take the puck and make the other team pay. And they did 11:33 into the game when, unfortunately, Patrice Bergeron fanned on an opportunity to move the puck into the corner.
The Bruins fans shouldn’t worry though. The season is young and with the changes to the team, it will take some time for all the lines to get that chemistry. And it is better for them to perhaps stop pressing so much to score and just let that chemistry happen. When it does, the other teams will need to watch out, because the Bruins will not only bring that strong, defensive play that they do so well, but also the scoring machine will begin.
There are still some positives to be taken away from this game. Though the Red Wings won in the face off dot 24 to 22, Patrice Bergeron won 10 of the 16 he saw for an impressive 63% and he saw the most faceoffs of any center in the game. Today also marked the 500th NHL game of right-winger Shawn Thornton, and he actually had the first shot on goal in today’s game. Finally, as part of the Bruins 90 Years celebrations, the fans at today’s game got to see not only a Bruins legend, but a hockey legend, when Milt Schmidt dropped the ceremonial puck before the beginning of the game.
The team has Tuesday off, but they will be back practicing on Wednesday and Julien said the team would be ready for Thursday when they travel south to play the Florida Panthers in Miami