I haven't watched all of the 3rd yet. I went to bed and listened on the radio after the 2nd. Figured it was done. Looks like the boys thought so too.
Special teams. The B's came out strong but we settled things down and were the better team for parts of the 1st and half of the 2nd. The PK was a shit show. There was a real breakdown in reading the play when Marchand can get that much space unfettered, even on the PK. Both Polak and Hainsey played the puck carrier. The pick play probably prevented Hyman from harassing the puck carrier but Marchand can't get that much space there. They have to read that and switch off. That said, if the refs are going to allow that kind of interference, perhaps we can see a little Trapcock hockey.
Our PP looked nice moving it around and had a few good chances but we're going to have to dig deeper in those net front battles. They're really collapsing to the net so we may have to figure out a different wrinkle where we draw them into that position and kick the puck out to the weak side or alternately find a way to get them more spread out. We'll see what they come up with.
Matthews was quiet. Too fucking quiet. Sure, the Bergeron line are good, but they aren't so good that a player like Matthews shouldn't be able to at least threaten a bit now and again. And while he wasn't the only guy on our team guilty of being a little soft last night I think that for his own sake he's going to have to do what Mats did and reluctantly develop at least a little bit of a reputation for being mean now and again. He's big enough. He's strong enough. He needs to develop the mentality. It didn't come naturally to Mats either but despite his size and ability to protect the puck he became a much more dominant player when he started to let the odd guy know that taking little runs at him was going to result in an elbow here, a push back there, and the patented face wash. Papi is a real gud boy whose mama raised him right and the puck moves faster than you can skate blah-blah-blah. That's all well and good, but he's got to make space for himself and put a thought into people's heads. That said, sometimes he looks like that injury is still bothering him physically or mentally. Throughout his young career I've noticed that he rarely has two games in a row when he looks defeated. I'll expect him to come out at full throttle on Saturday.
I think the call on Kadri is nuts. You might penalise him but 5/Game/likely suspension is over the top for that play, IMO. I'm not sure how they run the hearings on that stuff but while the league can't be condoning revenge plays, the fact that Wingels had just finished taking a shitty run at a defenseless player should at least factor into their decision making. The refs blew that by not dealing with the initial play. They've sucked Marchand off more times than we can count. Kadri deserves some fucking leeway there.
Overall, save for Hyman and Kadri, very few of our forwards showed up with their lunch pails in tow. If there's one place the B's beat us in the first two periods it was on the wall. A stick lift is nice, but a shoulder in front of a shoulder and a stick lift is better. A hip in front of a guy is even better. They're going to have to work harder to get into good body positions on guys without the puck and do a better job shielding it in possession. I said that I thought Hyman would be a good match-up against Chara and he made him look bad a couple of times, including drawing a penalty in front by working his ass off. Hey, Papi, pay attention.
I went back and forth about the Plekanec deal and eventually accepted it. I'm not going to moan about the pick (many already are) but he left his heart in Montreal. Execution is one thing. Looking like it bothers you when you don't is another and I've yet to see the little prick we all hated for so many years since he came over. Not even once. He's moaning at refs and looking frustrated but he doesn't seem to be taking it out on the right people and outworking them or just being a little cunt as he can. Babs has given him more opportunity and ice than he should've given his play, so he can't complain that he's just not used to being a 4th line guy or that he's underappreciated. I don't think I'd sub in Moore yet - you have to give your guys a chance to clean up their own mess, and you don't want to look like you're panicking - but I might take a minute to sit down with him and remind him how much I respect him for the force he can be and see if I could play to his pride a little bit. There's got to be a way to coax another few games of the old Turtleneck out of him. If Knads is going to be out, we need him that much more.
This series is another learning experience for Marner. Last year he learned how to avoid contact and make a bit of space for himself. But, having had such a good second half he's now going to have to learn how to do that when he's got a target on him. I do miss the old days a little when the refs would let smaller guys (Killer, for example) get away with a bit of stick work to defend themselves. It came with allowing the behemoths to waterski on guys but at least small skilled guys could take a hunk out of a guy who took liberties without it turning into a big fucking deal. You wanna put your elbow up? Enjoy playing the rest of the series with a busted finger or a welt on your calf. Without that luxury, he's going to have to find another gear and/or figure out how to use it to draw penalties.
Babs is going to have to make some adjustments to let our D do what they do best. Rielly, Gards and Dermott were non-factors on the breakout and bringing the puck up ice. In general, I think the whole thing will come down to whether or not we can make the adjustments necessary to release our speed. There were moments of it last night.
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