There were no officials to blame, as we all were paranoid about before Game 3. The refs only called 2 penalties. When was the last time the Habs had their first power play 48 minutes into a home game?
The Bruins are the type of team that’s built from the defense out, starting with the goalie, then the defensemen, then the forwards. So I’ll give my thoughts on the Bruins’ 4-2 loss to the Canadiens in that order.
Tuukka Rask will probably win the Vezina as the NHL’s best goalie. Yet he’s allowed 3+ goals in all 3 games this series. He allowed a pair of bad goals in Game 1 and the OT game-winner was also shaky. In Game 3 he was beaten badly on two breakaways. Where did that Vezina winner go?
He flopped down too early on PK Subban‘s breakaway goal, committing far too early, making it easy for Subban to score. He stayed too high on Dale Weise‘s breakaway, his 5-hole wide enough to drive a truck through. He didn’t make it hard for Subban or Weise to beat him.
Rask’s job is to tend goal. He’s not tending it. He’s allowed 10 goals in 3 games. The Bruins build their team defensively, he’s the last and most important line of defense. They’ve made a serious investment and commitment to Rask. He was great in the regular season. He’s a great goaltender that isn’t playing like a great goaltender.
Let’s move on to the defensemen.
For many of the young blue-liners, this was their first taste of playoff hockey at the Bell Centre. And they looked Bell-shocked. Torey Krug and Kevan Miller confused their assignments when Tomas Plekanec put Montreal up 1-0. Dougie Hamilton was guilty of defensive negligence and allowed PK Subban to start his breakaway.
These young defensemen are a double-edged sword, as they’re some of the small handful of Bruins producing on offense. The Bergeron line along with Hamilton and Krug are responsible for the bulk of the Bruins’ scoring in this series. They’ve scored 6 of the Bruins’ 10 goals.
The remaining forwards have been quiet in this series. The first line has scored twice, one of them against an empty net. Jarome Iginla has barely been seen. Milan Lucic has been more of a rumor than a force. In Game 3 David Krejci was 4 for 14 at the faceoff dot.
There have been plenty of chances, plenty of posts, plenty of misses. The Bruins have bombarded the CH on Carey Price’s sweater. They’ve also tokenly shot from the point so often that the Habs are blocking dozens of shots a night.
The young defensemen deserve some blame for this defeat, but in the end they looked and played like young defensemen. It’s unfair to fault them for being what they are.
However, your Vezina finalist goalie, and your top line of all-stars and a future Hall of Famer, they don’t look the way they’re supposed to look. They’re not being who they can be, who they should be.
Game 4 Thursday night.