Post-Game Notes: Devils vs. Bruins 3/1/12

The past month or so was rough if you’re a Bruins fan (though to be fair to Leafs fans, we are relatively spoiled). 4 weeks of boring, sloppy, inconsistent hockey, crappy post-game excuses, ho-humming and empty promises. February is over. The playoff push has begun and this month will not be kind to the Bruins. I think it was important to start it off on a good note, especially against the Devils, who have forced their way into playoff contention after a mediocre first half.

Just prior to the game the lineup was released and I was shocked to see that Claude Julien had broken up the Field Trip Line (Marchand-Bergeron-Seguin) and moved Seguin up with Lucic and Krejci. I’m not gonna lie, I questioned it. I questioned the hell out of it. Krejci was 2-0–o in the entire month of February and Seguin hadn’t scored a goal in 10 games. Was it worth it to break up our most consistent line in order to spark offense elsewhere?

The answer is a resounding yes.

The newly formed “French Fries Line” (so dubbed because of Seguin’s nickname for Krejci, “french fries”, which is apparently what Krejci says when he calls Seguin “Franchise”) was absolutely electric from puck drop. Everything was clicking, and the boys were finding each other and creating chances on nearly every shift by utilizing Lucic’s size to make space and Seguin’s speed to transition clean. Good chances were created on nearly every shift and the line converted to put Boston on the board first at 1:13 in the first period, with Seguin flying up the wing and feeding it to Krejci in front of the net. They scored again at 8:10, after Lucic powered through a defender’s check and fed it to Seguin in front. Late in the first period Krejci had a chance to put the team up 3-0 on a shorthanded break but Brodeur made a classic, vintage Brodeur move and stoned him.

The second period, as usual, is where things got a little hairy. This has kind of been a theme throughout the entire season and the Bruins are still looking for that 60 minute effort. They have struggled to play their best hockey in the middle frame of games and it has hurt them a lot. Last night it began and ended with Joe Corvo. Joe Corvo has become an absolutely liability in the defensive and neutral zones and I can no longer stand to witness him in a Bruins uniform. The Devils’ first goal at 6:27 was the direct result of an idiotic turnover in the neutral zone, a no-look backhand pass to nobody (read: Kovalchuk) who fed it to Parise to get them on the board. Corvo failed to defend his man and Elias scored the Devils’ 2nd goal of the night at 14:03–tie game! Clarkson got the go-ahead goal at 17:46 when Tim Thomas failed to seal off a wraparound attempt (soft as hell). After leading 2-0 after 20 minutes, the Bruins were suddenly trailing 3-2 after 40. Corvo was benched after Elias’s goal.

Something I think is kind of funny is that Bruins fans absolutely dread 3 goal leads–it gives us flashbacks to playoff failures and epic collapses. What a lot of people don’t know though is that the Bruins actually have an absolutely absurd record under Claude Julien when leading by 2 goals at any time (WELL above .500). Heading in to this game they were 28-0-0 when leading by 2 goals at any time, just this season! It’s all about resiliency and self-confidence. Buy in, get the lead back. Sure enough, The French Fries Line rolled out and did work and Krejci scored his second goal of the night at 5:30 (which has to be one of Krejci’s ugliest goals all season). The Bruins 3rd period Beast Mode, long absent, has returned and the Bruins turned on the heat but the Devils responded in kind. Tied after 60 minutes, they headed to OT.

David Krejci has always been a streaky player, it’s no secret to anybody and it’s part of the reason many Bruins fans were angry when Chiarelli gave him a 15.75 million dollar contract extension. After an absolutely woeful February with only 2 goals and 0 assists (completely unacceptable for a 1st line center), its easy to understand fans’ frustration with him. But when Krejci turns it on, he turns it on. He is absolutely a big game player and he elevates under pressure. Last night was no different. About halfway into the overtime period, Krejci scored the game winning goal and completed his 2nd career hat trick (technically his 3rd, though for some reason his 2011 Eastern Conference Final playoff hat trick is all but forgotten). Big win. The Bruins complete their first season sweep of the Devils since 1985-86 and put points between themselves and the Senators to maintain their hold on the division lead. And let’s not forget that the Devils could easily become the Bruins’ first round opponent when April rolls around.

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