Post-game notes: Penguins vs. Bruins 4/3/12

I apologize that I’m posting these notes so late. I know you’re all dying to read about my thoughts about the Bruins’ performance last night and a mini-rant about the 7th player award. I got caught up reading the Hunger Games and I’m sure you all know what that’s like to get lost in a book (and if you haven’t read it, you should).

Despite the loss, I think the Bruins made a pretty good showing last night against the Penguins. They had a lot of scoring chances and were really great on the back check, but they just weren’t finding the back of the net as much as they would have liked to. The goals that they did score were well-earned and beautiful, but they needed to score a little bit more to beat Crosby and his pack.

Sidney Crosby got the first goal of the night against the Bruins in the first period. Paul Martin made it 2-0 in favor of the Pens when he scored. The puck ended up being deflected in by his glove, but after a review of the play, the referees said that the goal was good because there was no clear punching motion. Those kinds of goals can go either way, really, but the refs decided to favor the Penguins on that goal. The Bruins finally got on the board on a sweet backhander from Benoit Pouliot. That was his 15th goal of this season, and he reached a career-high 31 points on that play. The Bruins tied it only 18 seconds later when David Krejci made a back hand pass to Milan Lucic who found the back of the net for his 25th goal of the season.

Then the Bruins got into penalty trouble. Paille was called for a blatant charging call and then, not even 30 seconds later, Rich Peverley was called for high sticking against Letang. On the replay, you can see that Pevs’ stick grazes Letang on the shoulder, but, Letang tosses his head back to make it look like he had been slapped in the face, and falls to the ground dramatically. It should have been an embellishment call on Letang, but the referees only sent Pevs to the box, giving the Penguins a two-man advantage. After last night, the Bruins have allowed 8 goals when down two men. That is the highest amount of goals allowed from any NHL team when down two men.

Neal scored on the power play giving the Penguins the lead once more. Still on the power play, Sidney Crosby scored again, giving the Penguins the lead for the rest of the night. James Neal and Andrew Ference got into quite a scrap in the middle of all of this, and both were sent off for a fighting major. Ference, the smaller of the two, used what fire he had in him to take down James Neal onto the ground. If you can find it on youtube, I suggest watching it. It was a really great fight. That was Ference’s first fighting major of the season.

In the third period, Arron Asham sealed the deal for the Penguins with a goal about six minutes into the period. Peverley scored as well, but the Bruins were still down a couple of goals. The Bruins did have a lot of scoring chances in the third period. They were more offensive and aggressive about their attack, but Johnson was strong between the pipes to give the Penguins the victory when it mattered most.

Also, Boychuk got hit in the side of the leg during the game and was walked off of the ice with his team mates. The team is going to reevaluate him and hopefully find that it isn’t that bad.

So the Bruins lost, but it’s okay. We have already clinched a playoff spot AND we are the Northeast Division champs of this year. Though I would love to see the Bruins win and enter the playoffs with a bit of momentum, a loss does not really affect our approach to the playoffs.

Now for a quick rant about the 7th player award. Yes, Tyler Seguin is a really great player, but when I think of the 7th player, I think of the quiet hero – the one who always gives 100% but doesn’t necessarily make it to 20 goals a season or get a ton of assists every night. I think that this year, the Bruins have more than just one 7th player who deserved this award. But the fans vote, and Tyler Seguin has always been a fan favorite. I think that Chris Kelly and Benoit Pouliot could have easily have walked away with the award as well, but they just didn’t have enough fan votes.

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