Friday, December 9, 2011
Jose Theodore Turns Back the Clock, Panthers Beat Bruins 2-0
The first time Jose Theodore ruined my life, I was a senior in high school. It was the spring of 2004 and I was in Amsterdam on my senior trip. Yes, Amsterdam.
I had departed for the Netherlands with the top seeded Bruins up 3-1 in their first round playoff series with the Canadiens. I figured I would be able to follow the series at the Internet cafe once I got there. This was way before 4G, Twitter and live streams. All I had was NHL.com and all I saw was one name pop up over and over and over again. The name was Jose Theodore and he broke my heart. The young goalie willed Montreal to the upset victory and almost ruined my buzz. See what I did there?
Last night felt like 2004 all over again. Theodore stopped all 40 shots thrown at him and the post stopped five more, leading the Panthers (16-8-4) to a gritty 2-0 victory over the Bruins (17-9-1) at the TD Garden.
Theodore was able to weather the storm until Thomas Kopecky (4th of the season) scored the game-winner with 2:32 left in regulation, moving the Panthers ahead of the Bruins in the Eastern Conference standings. Ex-Bruins prospect Kris Versteeg (13th of the season) added an empty-netter with 42 seconds left.
This was one of the most boring/exciting games of the year. Patrice Bergeron, Dennis Seidenberg, and Adam McQuaid all hit posts within minutes of one another in the first period and Shawn Thornton made old foe Kris Barch pay for drilling Paille (who left with a concussion; Jordan Caron will take his place tomorrow night in Columbus) as the two fought 2:17 into the game.
The second period was notable because of the Panthers best Bruins imitation. Johnny Boychuk checked a Panther defenseman and Skille responded, only to have his face smashed in by the angry Boychuk in another quality bout. I thought the game was going to turn around there but Theodore had to crush my dreams once again.
In the third, Thomas made a few key saves on Skille but a few minutes later Kopecky capitalized on a loose puck in the crease to give the Panthers the lead they wouldn't relinquish.
*I thought the Bruins put together a good game last night and were certainly the better team for the majority of the night despite suffering their second straight loss. Last night reminded me of the way that they were playing at the beginning of the year, playing well but not capitalizing on scoring chances. The B's should have won and maybe they would have if a few of those post shots hit the back of the net instead.
* Of course, tons of media members came out after the game with some variation of "the Panthers are for real". Fellas, the Panthers have been for real this whole season. Flieschmann, Booth, Versteeg and Theodore have all been money this year. Will they contend for the cup? Maybe not but there is no denying that they could present some matchup problems for playoff teams if they continue to clean up in their division (Southeast).
* Can we stop with the Seguin breakfast story? Please? We get it, he slept in, he didn't sleep in, his phone was off, he was having an orgy, who gives a shit at this point? He messed up, got caught and took his punishment like a man. Both Caron and Thornton have already came out in his defense and both said that leaders in the locker room spoke with Seguin. Leave the kid alone and let's just hope he learned his lesson.
* From one potential Bruins savior to another, Dougie Hamilton has signed an entry level deal with the B's for the next three years. In 31 games with Niagara in the OHL, the 18-year-old defenseman leads his team in scoring with 11 goals amd 31 assists. GM Peter Chiarelli believes that he has a top two defenseman on his hands who can contribute as early as next year. Could he be the power play quarterback for the future?