Tuesday, October 18, 2011
Hurricanes Take Second Straight Over Bruins, Boston Loses Control With 72 Penalty Minutes
The 2011-12 Boston Bruins are a team without an identity right now and one that is struggling desperately to find consistency.
Their four biggest issues at the moment are scoring, maintaining focus, playing well in front of backup goaltender Tuukka Rask and of course the power-play.
In tonight's 4-1 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes (3-2-1) at TD Garden, the B's (2-4-0) were plagued by the first three of those said problems. The silver lining was that they snapped the horrid 0-for-22 stretch on the power-play.
Boston has yet to post back-to-back strong efforts let alone wins so it should come as no surprise that they also fell to 1-3 on home ice. Yes it would be easy to blame the referees for some shady calls against the Bruins (72 penalty minutes, 4 game misconducts), but if we're being objective it was mostly their own fault.
The B's outshot the Hurricanes 34-23 and hit two posts (by Joe Corvo and Jordan Caron) to one (Brett Sutter) for Carolina but that all doesn't matter.
Carolina knocked off Boston for the second time in six days and this time, goaltender Cam Ward (33 saves) was nearly flawless. Rich Peverley (3rd of the season) finally scored a goal in front of Tuukka (19 saves), the first he's received in two starts, notching a power-play strike at 10:59 of the third to cut it to 2-1. Dennis Seidenberg and Corvo (who survived a nasty hit/fall in the first period) had the assists.
Chris Kelly sparked the team with a fight against Sutter that occured only 29 seconds before Peverley's screened snapshot went by Ward. For a guy that's not known as a fighter at all, this was Kelly's first in a Bruins uniform, it was good to see that somebody cared enough to step up when the team is playing like garbage.
Just as the crowd finally got into it, Nathan Horton picked up a dumb penalty 31 seconds later trying to goad Hurricanes supposed toughguy Tim Gleason into a fight. It didn't work and Carolina got the last laugh as Horton plus Brad Marchand and Milan Lucic (not to mention Zdeno Chara in the second period) were all tagged with 10-minute misconducts.
The Hurricanes took advantage with a pair of 5-on-3 goals by Eric Staal (3rd of the season) at 13:26 and Tuomo Ruutu (1st of the season) at 14:58 to put it away.
Anthony Stewart (2nd of the season) got Carolina off to a quick start as he scored off a rebound just 2:47 into the first period. Joni Pitkanen (2nd of the season) doubled the lead at 10:19 in the second period on a blast from the slot.
This was a really strange game and nothing illustrates that more than the fact that Bruins head coach Claude Julien got ejected late in the third period since he'd seen enough of the one-sided calls. It was nice to see that kind of emotion out of Claude, it marked the first time he was ejected in Boston.
Would you believe me if I told you the B's have only scored a pitiful 11 goals in the first six games? Yuck. Their next game is Thursday as old friend (haha yeah right) Phil Kessel (the NHL's leading goal-scorer with 7 goals) and the Toronto Maple Leafs come to the Garden. Let's hope for a better performance from this team.