Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Live blog: Sens 3 Bruins 2

First Period:

Decent period. Good first half, not-as-good second half.

In the last few blogs, I've been pretty hard on Randy Robitaille, and I think it's been with good reason. It's only fair, however, to point when when he plays well, and he did so in the first period. He actually won battles, threw a small hit or two, and set up some plays. He had a pretty bad giveaway, but I was pleased all-in-all.
Props to Martin Gerber. He faced 12 shots, including three breakaways, and the only goal he allowed was on a Chuck Kobasew breakaway, and I can hardly blame The Gerber for that one. If he keeps playing as he is, the rest of the team needs to step it up on his behalf.

It must be pretty frustrating to be Daniel Alfredsson right now. By no fault of his own, he's been demoted to the second line to toil with lesser-skilled players, and he's the only reason that second line is generating any pressure right now. Antoine Vermette and especially Chris Kelly really need to step it up if they want to show they deserve some respect as more than role-playing forwards.

On Boston's side, Alex Auld hasn't looked stupendous in nets, but he's made a few saves. One of the most underrated prospects in the league must be Milan Lucic; ever since his play as captain of the Canadian squad in the Super Series against Russia, I've loved this guy's play, and he's had a good game so far. And, of course, Zdeno Chara is dominant.

Second period:

Why isn't anyone shooting the puck? Ottawa got nine shots in the second, but should probably have twice that many if the players would shoot when they're in the zone instead of trying to continually set other guys up. Auld is playing well, but he can't stop them all, fellas; get pucks to the net.

Big Luke! Luke Richardson scored his first of the season. Awesome. Probably the best or at least most surprisingly effective off-season acquisition is now not only being the defensive stalwart this team needs him to be. He's thrown three hits--more than anyone else in the game so far--and has pinched a couple of times effectively. After receiving a beauty pass from Kelly and then sending another one to Vermette, he got the rebound and buried it. Awesome. Even if that's the only goal he scores all year, it's a bonus. And he's already one ahead of Bill Muckalt.

How effective is Chris Neil if all he's going to do is take penalties? His job is to draw penalties, not get called for them. In the last 5 games and two periods tonight, he's got 19 minutes (seven minors and one major) in penalties and two assists. Not really a good trade-off, Neiler. He's also got to work on his physical game, because his timing seems completely off.

Ropes has been demoted. And Brian McGrattan hasn't seen a shift since the first period. I can't say I'm surprised about either; Robitaille had a good first, but slowed down, and this isn't the kind of game Grats is really suited for.

Third period:

Great finish. Who makes it close? Lucic. I see pretty good things for that very big and very young prospect.
For the second time in three games, Jason Spezza finishes with two goals, and continues the search for his first career NHL hat trick. With six goals and thirteen points in the last six games, Spetzky has really stepped it up. As has Dany Heatley, whose one assist gives him nine points in the five games.

Alfie looked quite relieved to be back on the CASH line, and it showed on the score sheet. He demonstrated why it's no less effective to have that line together than to break it up, because that line is all but unstoppable when they're together.

The Gerber played well again and made saves when he had to, stopping 26 of 28 shots he faced. The winning streak extends to six games, and Ottawa plays in Atlanta Thursday night.
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