One thing that stands out right away when looking at the roster is the number of guys who have yet to play their first NHL game. Jacob Trouba is highly touted, but as the Vancouver Olympics showed us the national rosters with the most NHL players will win, and that’s a lot of talent for someone who might still not have an NHL game to their credit. Not long ago, I went over the old roster and looked at the potential new one.

Dan DeKeyser was the most talked about college free agent this spring, and yet he got into just two of the Detroit Red Wings playoff games this spring. If he’s not yet at level to play regularly against NHL competition it is curious to see him on even a preliminary Olympic roster. Jake Trouba and Seth Jones are a surprise because unlike DeKeyser they don’t have even a single NHL game to their credit. It is unlikely that even if all three make it they will play huge minutes for Team USA, but there are other NHL defensemen with a little more creditability as a possible Olympian.

The forward group shows that as always Team USA will be a team designed to win games in a complete manner, and not simply by scoring for dear life. TJ Oshie is a little bit surprising given the occasional questions about his conditioning. Trevor Lewis as a bottom six forward is surprising because he hasn’t shown any strong offensive upside in the NHL yet. Justin Abdelkader’s hits are enough to get anyone attention, but offensively, he’s had just two 20+ goal seasons in his hockey career, one for the USHL’s Cedar Rapids RoughRiders and once in the AHL. Paul Stastny is surprising, well only if you fail to look at his international numbers. His NHL numbers arguably do not justify a spot on the roster, but his international game is quite solid.

In goal, there isn’t an a team that can match the depth of the Americans at least on paper. Craig Anderson and Jonathan Quick in whichever order you care to list them are the easy picks as first and second goalies. But they probably shouldn’t be, even with strong performances in the last two seasons because Miller and Gibson are both en fuego  Miller, Howard and Schneider should spend their time at camp and early in the year looking over their shoulder at John Gibson who has a career 9.35sv% in international play including tours-de-force of .951 and .955 in separate tournaments this year. Of all the goalies there, Jimmy Howard probably has the least pressure on him.

The biggest surprises on the Team USA roster are who isn’t there. But that’s for tomorrow’s snubs post.

With the NHL draft this weekend we know three things a: There will be trades 2: there will be “off the board” picks and d: all bets are off on sane prices being paid to get starting goalies and top four defenseman. Some of the names being talked about are Scott Clemmenson of the Panthers, Cory Schnieder of the Canucks, and Rich Peverley of the Bruins as trade bait. Your guess is as good as any on which move where.

What We Know (by the new divisions)

Division A:

Anaheim: There are more rumors surrounding the Ducks and Bobby Ryan going to at least 41 other NHL teams than in at least a year. Capwise they can probably afford to keep him, in reality they need a 2nd line center, to resign Palmeri and of course the Ducks aren’t a cap ceiling team.

Calgary: While we’re all sympathetic to the flood devastation in the Flames home arena, it might just be considered a metaphor for what ownership and management have been doing to the team for a decade. Free agency will likely bring one or two more contracts like Wideman’s. They do have a good deal of cap space, and if the move Cammalleri, they’ll gain six million more. What they’d get in return is a mystery but based on recent trades…

Edmonton: They desperately need a viable defense, which is why they’ve been linked to every goaltender on the planet. With the 7th pick of the first round a player like Darnell Nurse would be a great find, if history holds true expect a forward to be drafted. Unfortunately the UFA market doesn’t hold much hope of pulling in a blueliner or two that would help, and the best name linked to Edmonton in rumors is Braydon Coburn.

Los Angeles: They need to get faster, and their cap hit needs to get slimmer. They have 10 forwards and 5 defenseman signed, and only six million in cap space. It’s likely several of he free agents like Dustin Penner, Rob Scuderi, Brad Richardson and one or two of the RFA’s have played out there string. With Martinez, Muzzin, and Lewis as yet unsigned and the Kings having no first round pick, a trade or two might be a solid solution for cap and talent reasons.

Phoenix: The more I watch this saga, the less convinced I am the Glendale city council wants a sports team in town. Four picks in the first three seventy five gives a solid chance for moving the roster forward, no matter what happens to the franchise.

San Jose: As the only one of the California teams not to have won a Stanley Cup the pressure on the franchise has to be mounting. With their aging core, leadership should be mighty nervous. They really need to find a way to move a big contract or two, and get back some younger, cheaper talent in return. Talent that doesn’t wilt in the playoffs would be a bonus. It is not unfair to say that if the Sharks don’t extend Couture in the immediate future that they are playing with fire and someone is likely to end up yajibuka.

Vancouver: Never a dead or a dull quiet moment in Canuckville. In addition to the ever present rumors of Luongo being traded or bought out, Cory Schneider’s coffle has been dragged to the auction block as well. With the Sedin’s aging poorly, Kesler unable to stay healthy, only 17 players signed for next year and $47,222* in cap space, this team is ready to be fleeced.

Division B

Chicago: While the celebration continues in the streets, the corner office has to make some tough choices. They have seven million in cap space and no backup goalie, no Bickell, no Kruger, no Stalberg and neither Leddy or Rozsival signed there’s likely to be turnover. It doesn’t project to be as deep at four summers ago when less than half the championship roster returned to the ice in October, but some big names and fan favorites might be pulling on another jersey this fall.

Colorado: Despite deep and pressing needs at defense, the team has said they would not take Seth Jones at number one. This could mean they intend to trade down and take him at 2-4, or it could just be another case of not having a clue. Cap wise the team is one of the few in an enviable state with 22 players signed and over $11 million in space.

Dallas: With three picks in the first forty, it is possible the Stars will find a center to go with high end wingers Jamie Benn and Loui Eriksson, and maybe just maybe a solid young defenseman to play with Alex Goligoski. They too have a lot of cap space if they are able to spend higher and could end up doing quite well in trades against some of the teams feeling the cap crunch.

Minnesota: The Wild have been rumored up and down the Twittersphere to be moving iconic hit maker Cal Clutterbuck this weekend. Having finally reached the playoffs after a long layoff, the team is loaded with talent, and also high end contracts. They have less than 3.5millon in cap space. Clutterbuck’s qualifying offer would be less than two million, but he’s unlikely to sign for less than 2.5 in my book.

Smashville Nashville: To call last season a disappointment is a bit of an understatement. After making themselves a playoff fixture, the team took two steps back and ended up in the lottery. If the fates are kind, or the general managers ahead of them smart, they will get a much needed dynamic forward in the draft. Respectable centers are needed for the top two lines, and some goal scoring. A trade that saw them land a center for an immediate push back towards contention would be a savvy move for the general manager of team USA and the Nashville Predators, might such a trade involve a Team USA veteran and a cap strapped western rival?

St. Louis: The Blues are in need of more offensive minded and able forwards. They presently have arguable the best defense in the conference, certainly top 3, but just can’t score enough. Vladimir Tarasenko should help the offense, but priority one for this team this off season isn’t the draft or any forwards, it is locking up Alex Pietrangelo for as long as they can. Simply put he’s one of the two or three best defensemen under 25 with  complete game, and his best years ahead of him.

Winnipeg: The Jets need depth. Depth at center, depth at wing, depth at goal, depth in warm winter coats. The honeymoon phase of the midnight train from Georgia is pretty much over and the fans are going to expect production. With both roster spaces and almost thirty million in cap space, the Jets are in good position to exploit the trade and free agent markets for what they possess. The Dustin Byfugelien trade rumors continue which makes zero sense at this point even if he’s stated he will never sign another contract there.

This summer look for my series on increasing NHL scoring without sacrificing fundamentals of the game.

 *According to Capgeek

#1 Vs #8

The Chicago Blackhawks seemingly have everything going this season. They have two goalies putting up top flight numbers. they have an upgraded defense that has allowed Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook to reclaim the form that helped the team win the Cup a few years back. Better still, they have arguably the best forward group in the NHL; Toews, Kane, Hossa, Saad and Sharp.

The Minnesota Wild are that new kid in playoff town no one knows quite what to make of. On paper the Wild have every tool they need to be dangerous, and even contend. In reality, they lack playoff experience, especially with Pominville and Heatley on the shelf. Add that to five of six blueliners who have never seen the NHL playoffs, and you have a recipe for a dicey playoff series.

Players to watch:

For the Wild, don’t be surprised if rookie Charlie Coyle comes up big in spots, Setogouchi is a threat, and Mikko Koivu is never to be underestimated.

On the other side of the puck for the Blackhawks, Kane, Hossa and Toews can all take over games individually.

Edge:

Chicago, it isn’t purely the quality that they lead in, it is the playoff experience, particularly on the blueline that will decide this series.

#2 vs. #7

Anaheim Ducks have almost no pressure this year. Sidney Crosby and the Penguins are drawing an inexplicable amount of attention, and Chicago was start to finish the best team in the NHL. The Ducks simply have to get on the ice and execute. They have savvy older veterans in Koivu and Selanne. They have high quality younger veterans still in their prime in Ryan, Getzlaf, and Perry. They also have a surprisingly strong backend in net and on the blueline. They don’t have any dominant or elite players there, but they do have several really good ones.

The Detroit Red Wings have made the playoffs again keeping their two decade long streak intact. They have Jimmy Howard who again very quietly put up impressive numbers, they have Datsyuk, and Zetterberg. These are not your Dad’s Red Wing’s though, they just don’t have even one elite talent on their blueline, much less two or three as they have had in years past.

Players to watch:

If the Wings don’t have Howard playing top notch goaltending, they don’t have anything, For them to win,  guys like Tootoo, Smith, and other role players will have to elevate their game.

The Ducks need to have their defense continue to smother their opponents, and have at least one of their goaltenders show up and never take their eyes off of Zetterberg and Datsyuk.

Edge:

Wings can’t win this if the Ducks show up and execute. It’s just that simple.

#3 vs. #6

Vancouver Canucks, it is put up or shutup time in Vancouver. They drama in their net has covered up the fact that this isn’t as good a team as it was in years past. They only won their division by four points, by comparison the Washington Capitals won by 6, and of the six division winners this is the team that scored the least this season. The Sedin twins combined for less goals than Jiri Tlusty. They put up the mediocre season numbers with three of the bottom four teams in their conference playing in their division.

San Jose Sharks are also at the point where if they don’t win the Cup it is tie to break up the band. Marleau, Boyle, and Thornton don’t have many more years left in them and behind them there isn’t much to write home about. What gives this squad a bit of believability is that Niemi, who was part of the Chicago cup run, has turned in the best regular season of his career and played in 43 of the teams 48 games.

Players to watch:

Ryan Kesler and Kevin Bieksa are two guys you should never ever count out, for the Canucks to do well, these two will likely be the biggest impact players.

Joe Thornton appears to have learned how to play big in the playoffs, and Raffi Torres (when he plays clean) is a surprisingly good playoff player.

Edge:

This series is almost a push, but I give the edge to San Jose, Thornton, Marleau, Couture are are better right now than any three forwards you can name for the Sharks, and with Schneider’s injury and the general chaos in British Columbia I don’t like the Canucks chances.

#4 vs. #5

The Saint Louis Blues boast some damn fine players no one talks about because the team is too far south. David Backes is a game changer, Pietrangelo is one of the best defensemen in the game, and Chris Stewart turned in more points in 48 games this year than he did in 79 last year. Goaltending is clearly this teams weakness, but with Oshie coming back the team gains immediately in two way play.

The reigning champions the Los Angeles Kings have to get scoring from more people than just Jeff Carter and Dustin Brown, if for no other reason than Jonathan Quick is not as good this year as last. They’ve gotten a slight refresh adding Regehr and injecting Muzzin into the lineup, but the roster is really almost identical. You have to question the teams hunger a little.

Players to watch:

Drew Doughty emerged as an elite two way defenseman during last year playoffs establishing his bona fides in his own end in addition to the offensive ability he’s always displayed, he and Mike Richards who is frequently overlooked on this team will be crucial to this team going anywhere.

For the Blues, Vladimir Sobotka just finds an extra gear in the playoffs and he can tilt the ice, but he won’t be enough, Bouwmeester, Oshie, and Perron will have to show up and put in work.

Edge:

This is a push, the Blues I think have the edge in hunger, the Kings have the edge in knowing how to win in the post season.

Total Wins by eliminated teams this round; 9

 

Most years in order to win a championship in the NHL you need to have a goalie play above average and contribute to the win. That isn’t the same as giving a team the chance to win, or simply not costing the team a win. There have been exceptions to this, namely belonging to the Red Wings teams of the last two or three cups.

16: Brayden Holtby. With only 21 NHL games to his credit, he’s got to be the best defense on a team who’s effort has been highly uneven all year. Realistically he’s got almost no pressure on him considering he’s third on the teams depth chart. (Alternates for the Capitals would be Neuvirth or possibly Vokoun)

15: Corey Crawford: He’s not had an impressive season, no goalie likely to start this post season had a worse save percentage this off season. Keeping that in mind, last year as a rookie he stepped up and improved both his save percentage and goals against average in the playoffs.(BlackHawks alternate Emery)

14: Scott Clemmensen: His next NHL playoff game will be his second. He does have the advantage of familiarity with his first round opponent. (Alternates for the Panthers Theodore or maybe Markstrom)

13: Marc-Andre Fleury: The flower has wilted in his last two playoff appearances with sub .900 save percentages. If he hadn’t been to the promised land he’d be lower. Even the year he was part of the Cup win, he gave up more goals than any other goalie. (Alternate for the Penguins is Johnson)

12: Ilya Bryzgalov: Not a playoff goalie thus far in his career. His last two post season have had worse numbers than the regular season. (Alternate for the Flyers Bobrovsky)

11: Anti Niemi: Yes he’s been there and done that, but not with this team. Further his post season numbers have dipped in comparison to the regular season in each post season appearance. (Alternate for the Sharks Greiss)

10: Jimmy Howard: Gamer. One of those guys who’s numbers improve in the post season. (Alternates for Red Wings Conklin, Macdonald)

9: Roberto Luongo: Despite the loss in the finals last year, he still had a better save percentage than the previous two winning goaltenders. (Alternate for the Canucks Schnieder)

8: Martin Brodeur: Been there, done that three times but the last trip to the post season was double plus ungood.  (Alternate for the Devils Hedberg)

7: Craig Anderson: One playoff series one save percentage of .933 on a team that only got into the playoffs because he could scramble. (Alternate for the Senators Bishop)

6: Pekka Rinne: Not great playoff numbers, and an off season but one of the best pure talents in the league. (Alternate for the Predators Lindback)

5: Henrik Lundquist: Whatever he’s done in the regular season over his career has been nearly undone by an aggressively mediocre playoff performance, but that’s bound to change right? (Alternate for the Rangers Biron)

4: Mike Smith: With a little more experience he might break the top three, on the other hand holding the eventual Stanley Cup champions to two goals in your first 120 minutes of NHL playoff experience isn’t a bad baptism by fire. Not a bad regular season this year either. (Alternate for the Coyotes Labarbera)

3: Jonathan Quick: Career year behind a team playing confidently, and ready to go far. (Alternate for the Kings Bernier.)

2: Brian Elliott & Jaroslav Halak: Either one is having a high end year, Halak has ripped the heart out of opponents as a duo, there’s not a better pairing this year in the NHL. (Alternate for the Blues would be whoever doesn’t start.)

1: Tim Thomas: Reigning Conn-Smyth winner, reigning Vezina trophy winner, defending Stanley Cup champion, he’s been there and done that recently. Looked sharp of late and has elevated his numbers every post season in the last three seasons. (Alternates fort he Bruins possibly Khudobin, Rask, Hutchinson….)

One thing the NHL has proven is that its not possible to predict where it will be year over year, and sometimes week to week. There have however been a few constants in the NHL over the past few years. Number one goaltenders do shift over time, with one or two losing their grip on the starting job each season, sometimes never to regain it, in other cases pulling themselves back into the saddle in time for the playoffs. I don’t think I can recall a year where crease chaos has been so prominent and so high profile.

For more than a generation Martin Brodeur has been the standard by which other goaltenders were measured. He’s arguably the greatest goaltender of all time. Vezinas, Stanley Cups, he’s got those. More minutes played than any other goaltender, he’s got that too. No full season under a .900 sv% in a career stretching back to the early 90’s. Until that  is this season. The savior of this years season is likely to be Brodeur’s even older nominal backup Johan Hedberg. The career backup is not just having a career year, he’s out performing Brodeur by a large enough margin that it’s unlikely that anyone other than Brodeur would see a start until he was injured or to worn down by the schedule to keep it up. Brodeur (.879)is currently ranked 38th for save percentage leaders, Hedberg (.920) is 19th with each having played in 13 games.

The Minnesota Wild are working their way towards a genuine goal-tending controversy of their own. Not because their starter Niklas Backstrom has performed poorly but because he’s suffered his second injury of the year. In his absence, and on rest days for the 33 year old Finnish goaltender the backup has upstaged him. Stealing the spotlight from a goaltender with a .929 sv% and 2.15 GAA isn’t precisely easy. Harding has done so. With a .938 sv% and 1.96 GAA against some of the best of the NHL, including three games against Detroit, and two against the St Louis Blues who are currently tied for the Central Division lead. Both are above average keepers, but with more than five million dollars in difference in their salaries one wonders when the uproar will begin in the Twin Cities.

Once upon a time there was a goaltender who represented his country in his home arena on the largest of international stages for the pride of his homeland. This hero brought home the goods. He went on to lead his team to the Stanley Cup finals. Along the way his numbers were better in both the regular season and playoffs than the two goaltenders who last hoisted the Stanley Cup. He ran into a better goaltender and was saddled with a less determined team. The next season Roberto Luongo (among many others) got off to a slower than usual start, and was slid aside while still dubbed the number one guy in favor of his backup. Cory Schnieder’s .930 and 2.12 would demand a higher than usual percentage of starts even if Luongo were performing closer to his career average of .919 sv% and 2.54 GAA, and not reporting in with .892 and 3.05. The fact that Luongo’s contract stretches over the event horizon and into the next decade makes this a drama almost distracting enough to ignore the rest of the rest of the teams play.

In any other season a sentence that started with “Brian Elliot is leading the league in…” would almost certainly end with something possibly deserved and not especially flattering. In the Bizzaro World that belongs to the bullies of the bluepaint this year, it would have to end with “both save percentage and goals against average, by a wide margin.” This has led to Elliot to displace Halak under the now Hitchcock led St Louis Blues to be tied for the division lead. His 10 wins in 11 starts are made even more stunning by not having given up more than two goals in any game. Even when he eventually reports back to the Milky Way galaxy, if not the solar system it’s unlikely the pending UFA will have trouble collecting a much larger paycheck next season.

Perhaps the most surprising fall from grace of any number one goaltender belongs to the man most responsible for the Buffalo Sabres being in any way competitive the last half dozen seasons. Ryan Miller won the Vezina two seasons ago. This year he’s suffered a couple injuries, one of disputed cause, and certainly some severely abraded pride. While a .909 sv% isn’t exactly shameful, his 2.86 GAA has caused some to look askance at the former silver medalist. Jhonas Enroth had to be considered even less unlikely than Elliot to end up with a large percentage of the workload coming into the season. At this point he’s fueled calls for Ryan Miller to be moved elsewhere. In an age where (not quite justifiably) hulking goaltenders are all the rage, even more so than the slight Miller the downright tiny, rookie Enroth is defying the trend towards linebackers as net minders. The 5 foot 10 inch 166lb Stockholm native has held opponents hostage with a  sv% of .925 and a GAA of 2.32.

It’s still early in the season, and goaltending is difficult to predict in any given year, this years waffleboard warriors are making it the most entertaining position to watch this season.

The Bruins have just two games this week. With luck the last of the “flu-like symptoms” will work their way out of the locker room and the Bruins can keep the new win streak alive.  This weeks two games are against the Toronto Maple Leafs. Wendesday’s is a return trip where the Bruins can hope for a second round of cheers for hometown boy Tyler Seguin and maybe an end to his mini-slump. Saturday night they are back in Boston.

Don’t forget the viewing party this Wednesday night.

There’s another one, with a different host on December 6.

Boston Bruins prospects Ryan Spooner and Dougie Hamilton were named to the Canadian World Junior’s Camp roster.

Dougie Hamilton

Hamilton signing autographs during training camp at the Boston Garden 2011

No word on USA selections.

Not officially. Last year's camp roster came out Dec. 7, for reference. RT @ Any world on when the USA will announce it's WJ roster?
@chrismpeters
Chris Peters

Jared Knight and Brian Ferlin lead the list of USA born Bruins prospects that might make the list.

The NHL snubbed the Bruins announcing Sidney Crosby, Cory Scheider, and Brian Elliot as it’s three stars of the week. I’m personally impressed that Crosby only got one slot.

According to NHLNumbers.com the NHL is made up of players with eighteen different nations of origin. Slovenia, Norway, and Lithuania sitting at the bottom of the representation chart, and Canada resting at the top with more than half of the National Hockey League’s players. Of the sixty three goalies to enter a game this season eleven of those men are Americans. In the post lockout era, four of the six times the award has been handed out have gone to Americans. Tim Thomas has twice won the award and made Flint Michigan, the University of Vermont and Boston Bruins fans proud. Ryan Miller of East Lansing Michigan, Michigan State and the Buffalo Sabres is the other American to lift the Vezina.

But they are hardly alone among the elite level goalies hailing from the US of A. Jonathan Quick of the Los Angeles Kings has hovered in the Vezina picture over the last few years as well. Hobbled by being on a west coast team that until very recently was only so-so he’s still managed to pile up some highly creditable numbers. Last season, he put up numbers comparable to the last non-American to win the Vezina (Martin Brodeur, 2008) and did it in a system less favorable to goaltenders. This year he’s setting a ridiculous early pace with three consecutive shutouts in his first seven games. At twenty five the pride of Milford Connecticut is likely to keep improving for several more years, and is probably the favorite to win the Vezina at this point in the season.

Tim Thomas the reigning Vezina trophy winner is at 37 years old today, but only like most goalies his age has not logged the huge minutes at the NHL level that might be expected. He’s logged just 7000 more minutes than Quick who is 12 year younger, and 5000 less than Miller who is six years younger. Given the ages we’ve seen goalies such as Hasek and Brodeur play to while playing enormous amounts of games, its entirely possible that the man who last year set a regular season save percentage record, and followed it up by bettering that number and setting a record for number of saves in the Stanley Cup playoffs could be around for several more years.  He’s won the Vezina twice now a third is entirely possible.

Ryan Miller is considered by many to be the best goalie in the world, and even the people who believe he’s overrated don’t list him outside the NHL’s top five. He’s won the award in the past, has a much better team in front of him now and right of the gate he’s putting up numbers that are better than the season he won the Vezina. With a new owner who has thrown the purse wide open enabling better players around him, and potentially a better level of backup that will let him play 55-60 games a year instead of the 65-74 he has played in years past the sky is the limit.

Arguably the best backup goaltender in the NHL is another American. Tucked away behind Roberto Luongo’s lifetime contract in Vancouver is Marlbehead Massachusetts native son Cory Schneider. Although, given recent events and the comparative numbers of the two goaltenders this season, it is arguable which of the two is the number one goaltender. Schneider who is listed behind Luongo on the depth chart has started four games to the “number one goaltenders” seven, come in to relieve the other guy once, and not given up a single special teams goal in five appearances. He also boasts far better numbers, with a Sv% .058 better and a goals against average 1.57 lower. The ousting of Luongo has been called for numerous times in British Columbia, with numbers like that it’s not hard to see why that is.

Nor is the pipeline exactly bare.  Jack Campbell of Michigan and John Gibson of Pennsylvania were both high draft picks in recent drafts. Jeff Zatkoff is another American goaltender in the Kings system currently working the crease in the AHL. Also filling the crease in the AHL is Nashville Predators prospect Jeremy Smith (yet another) Michigan native who is among the league leaders in Sv%.

As players like Thomas, and Miller continue to win Vezinas or guys like Schneider and Quick emerge from the shadows of in widely spread parts of the continent you can expect to see more and more great athletes taking to the highest pressure position in team sports. As the west coast is exposed to Quick and Schneider, the east coast to Miller and Thomas, and the heartland gets to know Campbell and Smith in the near future don’t be surprised if the next generations NHL creases are predominantly patrolled by men with the stars and stripes on their shoulder.

What an frenetic game. The Bruins went out and did exactly what was needed to win. Scoring early and often was the way to set the Canucks on their heels and keep them there. Marchand opened it up with a shot tight to the top glove side that was a result of a lot of hard work in the neutral zone. Lucic returned to the goal scoring column with a five hole. Andrew Ference got the eventual game winner with a highly under rated, and under used blast from the point.

Ryder and Krejci would also light the lamp, the latter for the Boston Bruins second powerplay goal of the night. Ryder’s goal was a super slick redirection on the single hardest shot I’ve seen Kaberle take since arriving in Boston. The special teams battle wasn’t all that close. While the Bruins surrendered a powerplay goal, they also picked up two of their own.

Mason Raymond of the Canucks went down with an injury early in the first period in one of the weirdest collisions with Johnny Boychuck I’ve ever seen. He did leave the ice with the assistance of teammates but later left the building by ambulance to “an area hospital”. Andrew Alberts appeared to be having some discomfort a shift after driving Kaberle into the boards. He did finish the game, but it is something to watch for in the next game. Dennis Seidenberg left the bench at one point but returned a short time later, some speculation is that it was an equipment issue. One other odd note was the number of penalties Patrice Bergeron took in the game. With eight of his 28 penalty minutes in the post season in tonights game you have to wonder if it was his actual behavior or just the scrutiny on the game in general.

The teams totaled for: 78 shots on goal, 81 hits, 31 blocked shots.

The Bruins as a team set a record for the fastest four goals by one team with their first four goals in 4:14.

Brad Marchand set a team record for most goals in a post season by a rookie with nine.

Tim Thomas is now tied for the NHL record with 761 saves in a single post season.

 

What a game, if you’re a Bruins fan, or just like many people have come to, hate the Canucks. For the Canucks the good news is that their defense was twice as effective as it was in game three. Unfortunately that means they still gave up four goals to the Boston Bruins with the help of Luongo who was eventually pulled in favor of Marblehead native Cory Schneider.

The special teams battle was dead even. Both teams took some boneheaded penalties. Both teams bailed out their teammates on the penalty kill. Neither teams powerplay looked particularly good. Given the quality of defense of both teams that’s not surprising. Given the events of game three its not surprising that several of the early calls were marginal at best.

During his post game press conference, Alain Vignuealt looked and sounded defeated. I’ve seen people rolled out of operating rooms show more energy. He ducked the question on the behavior of Tim Thomas. It was interesting that he didn’t say anything since Thomas did shed the gloves first, and delivered a slash to the leg in response to Burrows slashing the stick from Thomas’s hands.

Fifty-four hits between the two teams, and despite the Canucks winning the faceoff battle in both games, and getting eleven more shots on goal, the Bruins won. 12 goals in 83:17 given up by the Canucks is a scary stat. One goal in 100 minutes is even more scary.