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Friday, February 13, 2009

Bruins Fall To Devils, Third Straight Loss

We're about 20 minutes away from the puck being dropped in New Jersey tonight as the Bruins begin a five game road trip against the Devils in the Prudential Center. The Bruins, as we're all well aware, are coming off back to back losses at the TD Banknorth Garden. A 4-3 overtime loss to the Philadelphia Flyers last Saturday and more recently, a horrendous 5-2 loss to the Western Conference leading San Jose Sharks. However, despite those two losses, the Bruins are actually unbeaten in their last four road games, outscoring their opponents 14-8 in the process. Not too shabby.

The B's are also trying out some new things when it comes to the power play. They were a pathetic 0-5 with a lone shot against the Sharks on Tuesday night. Because of this, coach Claude Julien has made some wholesale changes, including removing Patrice Bergeron from the point. Zdeno Chara and Aaron Ward will man the point on the first unit, while Bergeron has moved to the second unit, skating primarily along the left boards, with Milan Lucic and David Krejci.

For the Bruins to have any hope of beating the Devils tonight in New Jersey, the powerplay has to get on track, has to, has to, has to. Stephane Yelle will be down in front on the first unit, he's primarily a penalty killer. Yelle has good size and he's a grizzled vet, I certainly feel like he'll be a great presence on the powerplay and can create some havoc in front of goal and maybe get things rolling.

Added note: Tim Thomas shutout the Devils in this building on December 23rd. Here's hoping game 201 is better than game 200.

We're underway and I'm already feeling drowsy from the effects of New Jersey's trap defense. Four minutes in and Chara is going to the box at 4:16 for holding. It's a New Jersey powerplay, 19%, 13th in the NHL. Yelle being pesky in the first 30 seconds, made a break and forced Clemmensen to make two saves. Zach Parise breaks down the right goes glove side high on Thomas, beautiful save from Timmy. Jack Edwards believes that Zach Parise has a great "compete-level," soon enough he'll be "setting up in Gretzky's Office." We love Jack.

The Bruins kill the powerplay and look good doing it, they create a number of chances in the Devils' zone including Yelle, Marc Savard and Dennis Wideman making things happen. Jack says the Bruins have now killed nine straight penalties while Chara is in the sin bin. Good stuff.

Scott Clemmenson has 23 wins this season, compared to 8 wins in his last 6 years.

NESN doing a little bit on Patrice Bergeron while there's a pause in action. I had a coworker suggest that Bergeron be traded while his value is still somewhat high. He's clearly not the player he was before he got crocked and may never be that player again. Sure, some Bruins fans will be chapped that a big fan favorite is traded, but let's face it: the Bruins need a sniper. Someone big, strong, can control the puck and score goals. Another coworker recommended Erik Cole in that case. I like the idea, but what would the Bruins have to give up. Surely the Oilers would want more than Bergeron. Something to mull over...

6:16 left in the first and Marc Savard is going to the box for tripping. There doesn't seem to be very much energy in the building tonight from the Devils fans. Really kind of sad. Or maybe they're soulless. They are from New Jersey after all.

Math with Jack Edwards. The Bruins are outshooting the Devils 9-5 with 2:30 remaining the first period. Jack informs us that the Bruins are indeed outshooting the Devils by a margin of 3-1. Yes. Math with Jack!

After one period, the Bruins need to find some discipline after giving up two penalties. However, they did seem to find a way to outshoot the Devils 10-5 (6-1 if you ask Jack) and control the puck a little bit better. The Devils have been sloppy, though Zach Parise has certainly been a delight to watch thus far. I like what the Bruins have done moving the puck, there's been some good passing an they seem close to breaking the trap down, Clemmensen has made a couple of strong saves, but I think the Bruins will break through first.

Do you think Kathryn Tappen ever has to tell Mike Millbury where her eyes are when she's talking to him or vice-versa?

Early second period and Bergeron is setting up in Gretzky's Office...

And now we get to see the Bruins test their mettle and ruined confidence on the powerplay. Patrick Elias is sent away after being called for hooking at 2:53. Savard, Kessel, Yelle, Ward and Chara on the first unit.

Close call as Jamie Langbrunner (from center ice!) feeds it to Paul Martin. Thomas denies the backhand with a big save, whistle called, perhaps prematurely, but the Bruins aren't going to complain about it. A shorthanded goal would not have been a positive ego boost.

Six-ish minutes into the second, a lot of action in front of the Bruins net, it comes off it's moorings. Everybody's pushing everybody. David Clarkson and Shane Hnidy get a little pushy and someone has Bobby Holik in a headlock. Amazingly, no penalties are called, the net is righted and we're back underway.

10:54 into second, faceoff to Thomas' right, John Madden wins the faceoff, gets it back to Bryce Salvador beats the Bruins goalie low stick side with a nice slapshot. 1-0 Devils. Still not much noise from the soulless fans at the Prudential Center. And I was wrong about the Bruins scoring first. Ouch.

Video highlights courtesy of our good friends at

Martins Karsums
just killed Devils defenseman Andy Greene.

Wow. Clemmensen with the save of the night. Vladimir Sobotka has a slapper gloved and dropped, Blake Wheeler had it deflect off his foot, hitting the post and covered by the Devils goalie. The Bruins are certainly creating chances, but Clemmensen continues to deny them. They can't get past that layered defense of the Devils and it's continuing to cause problems after two periods.

The Bruins are leading the Devils in shots 23-16, but are still goalless because of Clemmensen and the Devils stingy defense. Don't get me wrong, the Bruins are playing solid hockey and getting good shots on net, but it just took a single one-timer from the point to put the Devils ahead. With the way the Bruins have played recently with their energy waning as the game continues, I'm not so sure they can get back into this.

Early into the third and the Bruins forwards simply aren't dealing with the triangle very well when skating into offensive zone.

Krejci makes a move down the left, slides it across and Sobotka careens into the net forcing a faceoff just outside the zone.

Devils come up huge again defensively. Savard one on one with Johnny Oduya. Savard dekes him to the right, sending Oduya to the ice, who uses his stick it knocks it away from the B's forward. Awesome, awesome play.

Brendan Shanahan (first mention of the night!) called for delay of game at 4:32 of the third. Bruins 0/1 thus far on the powerplay and struggled a bit with it in the second period. Bruins with some decent movement, but they're not fooling anyone on the Devils. Struggling to find a good look and they create nothing as the Devils kill it off.

Bruins breaking down nearly midway through the period. Lots of energy in the Devils with Holik leading the charge. Once again there's a lack of intensity and a general malaise from the Bruins, just as they lacked in the previous two games. With the Devils second in the conference, I'd think the Bruins would be more up for this than they have tonight.

Also. Where's David Krejci? He's completely fallen off the face of the earth.

B's putting some shots on Clemmensen, but the Devils are there for every single rebound.

Devils bringing the pressure again, a number of Bruins including Chara down on the ice to stop the puck. Chara takes a few stick shots to the kidneys for his efforts before the play is whistled dead.

A Milan Lucic sighting as he puts a nice shot on net, but is denied but Clemmensen. Kessel's speed is starting to pay off, but the team just isn't doing enough with 5 1/2 minutes to play.

Life from Devils fans with 3 1/2 to play "Let's Go Devils!" chants sounding through the Prudential Center. It's really looking like a third straight loss for the B's.

Lots of sloppy hockey from the Bruins as they're getting desperate for an equalizer. Blue to blue passes are bouncing off sticks and into the Devils hands, there's really nothing the Bruins can do it seems.

Bruins have get an icing with 23.4 seconds to go, Thomas has been pulled and we're looking for an unlikely goal. Claude Julien looks fairly indifferent to the entire matter. And the Bruins can't even manage a shot on goal, though they keep it in the Devils zone the entire time. The game ends 1-0 and it's not all that surprising as the Bruins have let themselves down in the end.

No intensity, no drive, no passion, no energy. There's nothing in the Bruins right now that makes them a winning hockey team. Confidence as to be at an all time low with the now three game losing streak and they'll be hard pressed to end the skid here tonight. Nashville is ready and Boston has to be there for an 8pm game tomorrow night. I see the Bruins looking tired tomorrow night and I see Nashville winning the game.

This could be the start of a very bad road trip for the Boston Bruins.

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