Monday, October 10, 2011

Game Three: Matinee Hockey

Matinee hockey. It is definitely a love-hate thing around the NHL. For a fan, it is a great feeling and a great atmosphere to watch a game in the afternoon. For a player, why would they not want to play in the afternoon? No morning skate. No afternoon nap. No extended post-game press conferences into the late hours of the night. They show up, play, and get the game over with.

The Boston Bruins took on the Colorado Avalanche on this Columbus Day afternoon at the TD Garden. A team like Colorado is not expected to do much this season, since they finished near the bottom of the NHL last season and made no key acquisitions during the offseason, with the exception of goaltender Semyon Varlamov. However, those are the teams you have to be extra cautious about.

The Avalanche defeated the Bruins today by a score of 1-0. The only goal of the game came at 7:57 of the third period. Milan Hejduk slid a shot under Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask after receiving the puck on a face-off.

Rask made his season debut today. Head coach Claude Julien made it clear that Rask will be taken much of the load off of Tim Thomas' shoulders this season. It is time for Rask to prove that he belongs on the ice. Keep in mind that it was Rask who was in goal for Boston during the entire 2010 postseason and he was also the opening day starter last season.

The first period heavily favored Colorado, primarily due to the fact that they had three power play opportunities. Boston was not disciplined whatsoever throughout the first 20 minutes. Were the calls questionable? Possibly. You still have to play through it. Rask kept the Bruins in the game during the penalty kill and throughout the period by making 13 saves. The game was scoreless after one period.

Boston's fourth line of Gregory Campbell, Daniel Paille, and Shawn Thornton played very well in the second period. They may not have a big role, but when they get the ice time they produce the spark the Bruins may need at that point in time.

Ironically, the Bruins first line of David Krejci, Nathan Horton, and Milan Lucic have played less than stellar thus far in this early season. In fact, the other three lines each started a period. Interesting move by the head coach right there.

The Bruins will hit the road for the first time this season on Wednesday as they travel to Carolina to take on the Hurricanes.

Gold Star: Joe Corvo...He did not do anything that would show up on the stat sheet, but he was arguably the Bruins best defenseman today. He controlled the puck and shut down the Avs forwards at the same time.

Black Star: Zdeno Chara...What was up with Big Z today? He did not come to play today. Plus, he shielded Rask on the play that led to the goal. If anything, he helped Colorado win this game.

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