Haggerty: 15 thoughts from the Bruins-Habs matchup


Haggerty: 15 thoughts from the Bruins-Habs matchup

Here are five thoughts from the first period with the Bruins leading the downtrodden Montreal Canadiens by a 1-0 score after the first 20 minutes of play at TD Garden:

1) A Herculean effort from Tim Thomas in the first 20 minutes allowed the Bruins to maintain the slim lead over the Habs. Plenty of mistakes and sloppiness out of the starting gate for the Bs in this one. Best stop for Thomas: probably the bonehead turnover by Dennis Seidenberg to Andrei Kostitsyn that turned into an unobstructed shot from the high slot. Thomas turned it away and 15 others just like it.

2) Another really slow start for the Bruins after the players admitted they were sluggish in the first couple of periods against the Winnipeg Jets. This could be an issue tonight against a desperate Habs bunch if they cant snap out of it.

3) Patrice Bergeron is 0-for-5 in the face-off dot after the first period. Perhaps hes a little down after missing out on the All-Star selection process today that he so richly deserved. Bergeron may still be a substitute once the injuries start piling up for the Eastern Conference hopefuls, but he was one of the top 25 players in the NHL over the first half.

4) Benoit Pouliot is still having trouble lassoing those emotions against his former team after taking a boarding penalty to wipe out a Bruins power play. Pouliot has an unorthodox, controlled aggression that makes him so effective, and it turns into something closer to blind rage against the Habs. Figured that would change with his nemesis Jacques Martin gone, but it hasnt yet.

5) Jordan Caron is the perfect example of a pay-off coming for those players showing persistence and being a good soldier when things dont go their way. Gets a great bounce off the glass from a Johnny Boychuk dump-in attempt and fires into the open net. Its like the Hockey gods wrote the script. Still wondering where Carey Price was going knowing the erratic bounces off the glass in this building.

Here are five thoughts from the second period with the Bruins still leading the Habs by a 1-0 score after the first 40 minutes of play:

1) A couple of missed chances for the Bruins in the second period to really extend that lead. The biggest lost opportunity was Patrice Bergeron lifting a shot just a little too high on a 2-on-1 with Tyler Seguin after a clever little breakout bank pass off the boards from Benoit Pouliot. Its just not Bergerons day today.

2) The BruinsCanadiens rivalry has definitely lost its luster this season. Its just not the same with the Vancouver Canucks now a part of the equation with the hate they bring. Montreals tough season also plays into it, of course.

3) Milan Lucic with a couple of good tipped attempts around the net, but couldnt pull the trigger in the first 40 minutes. That line has enjoyed some chances tonight, but hasnt been able to finish any of them off.

4) Adam McQuaid enjoying an excellent game tonight. Hes blocking shots and controlling the puck in his own end, and did a good job of jumping all over Alexei Emelin when the Habs troublemaker was going after Tyler Seguin following a whistle. Also dropped Lars Eller with a huge hit in front of the Montreal bench. Hes having a much stronger game than the box score might indicate.

5) Both teams did a really good job of clogging everything up on the ice in the second period after a pretty wide open first period. Montreal did a much better job of frustrating the Bruins offensively, and the Bs couldnt convert when they did get close to the net.

Here are five thoughts from the third period with the Bruins beating the Canadiens by a 2-1 score after 60 full minutes of play at TD Garden:

1) P.K. Subban hit on David Krejci looked clean on the first replay I saw, but multiple viewings showed some forearmelbow contact to Krejcis head. Andrew Ference did the right thing coming to the aid of his teammate, and then the refs did the wrong thing by encouraging Subban to do it again by handing Montreal a power play. Thats not the way the league should be going with these things.

2) Alexei Emelin is going to be a thorn in the side of the Bs for years to come. You heard it here first.

3) Never seen an athlete traded in the middle of a game, but that seems to be exactly whats happened with Mike Cammalleri getting yanked out of the locker room after the second period and sent back to the team hotel. Crazy.

4) Milan Lucic with the eventual game-winning goal and David Krejci with an assist for a point in his 10th straight game. Thats a career-high for Krejci and the longest streak in the NHL this season.

5) Impressive, gritty win by the Bruins without their best stuff tonight.

Haggerty: Subban looking more like a 1st-round bust than NHL goalie

Haggerty: Subban looking more like a 1st-round bust than NHL goalie

BOSTON, Mass – Malcolm Subban says that he believes that he can still be a No. 1 goaltender in the NHL.

While that’s admirable on some level for the sheer, brazen self-confidence involved in saying this after getting yanked from a 5-0 loss to the Minnesota Wild at TD Garden, pretty much all of the evidence points out the contrary. Nearly two years after getting pulled from his NHL debut in against the St. Louis Blues after giving up three goals on six shots, Subban was pulled from Tuesday night’s appearance after giving up three goals on eight second period shots with the Bruins desperately in need of a quality start in goal.

He maintained a defiantly confident tone after another humbling NHL effort against Minnesota, and that’s a testament to the maturity and mental toughness of the person behind the goalie mask.

“It sucks. Obviously, I’m just trying to finish the game, let alone win one. Obviously it sucks, but what can you do now, right?” said Subban, who has now allowed six goals on 22 career shots faced in two starts. “Obviously I want to be a number one goaltender in the league. I was a high pick for a reason. I have the potential, and I just have to show it. Obviously I haven’t done that so far yet, but I think I’m getting closer to it. Honestly, I think I can do it right now. I just got to show it. Obviously, I didn’t [do it] today, but tomorrow’s a new day.”

Given the stunningly bad quality of his two NHL starts combined with a thoroughly pedestrian body of work at the AHL level over the last three years, there is literally zero tangible evidence Subban is tracking to be a franchise goaltender. Instead he’s the emergency goaltender called on by the Bruins only after Tuukka Rask and Anton Khudobin have both been shelved by injuries, and he’s now flunked the two pop quizzes when the NHL team needed him to come through.

Meanwhile, a sizeable selection of goaltenders taken after him in the 2012 NHL Draft class have already proven their NHL worth and broken through at the elite level: Matt Murray, Frederik Anderson, Connor Hellebuyck and Joonas Korpisalo.

Subban was hoping all along to break through this season in Boston, but things went south on him quickly with a Bruins team not playing well in front of him. The first goal was a fluttering Charlie Coyle shot that trickled between his glove hand and the top of his leg pad. The third goal was a softie low and to the glove side, power play strike authored by Ryan Suter. It added up to poor goaltending and shoddy defense, but it also added up to a Bruins goaltender that didn’t even give his hockey club a chance to win.

“It could be a combination of both. There are some goals – I’m not going to lie – there are some goals that we thought our goaltenders should have had. But I’m not here to talk about a goaltender who’s in one of his first few games because he let in a couple of bad goals,” said Julien. “We were terrible in front of him and we weren’t any better, and that’s the big picture. That’s more important.

“I don’t care who’s in net. I think when you have some injuries you need to be better in those situations and we weren’t good enough tonight. It doesn’t matter if Tuukka [Rask] is in net and we had injuries up front, or we’re lacking players here or there. You’ve got to let the system take care of the game. If you play it the right way, you have a chance to win. When you don’t, you don’t. That’s what happened [against Minnesota].”

There’s no question the defense in front of Subban wasn’t nearly good enough, and Adam McQuaid and Torey Krug in particular struggled to lock things down in the defensive zone. The wide open shots from the slot - like the Chris Stewart score in the second period that arrived 12 seconds after Minnesota’s opening goal - are indicative of a hockey club that’s not sticking to the game plan once things start to get a little wonky.

But this is about a player in Subban that should be entering the NHL stage of his career after being a first round pick in the 2012 NHL Draft, and anybody would be hard-pressed to see him as an NHL goalie after failing in each of his first two NHL starts. Combine that with the lack of dominance at the AHL level over the last three years, and there’s a better chance that Subban will be a major first round bust for the Bruins rather than suddenly develop into a late-blooming No. 1 goaltender in Boston.

The scary part is that Subban and fellow young netminder Zane McIntyre are all the Bruins have for Wednesday night’s game at Madison Square Garden, and perhaps longer than that if Rask can’t make rapid progress with his lower body injury.

Maybe Subban can be a bit better than he’s shown thus far, and the four goals allowed to Minnesota were not all his fault. The bottom line, however, is that Subban should be up for doing this job right now. Tuesday was a big chance for the young goalie to make a statement that he was ready for it.

Instead he looked like the same goalie that’s been pulled from two of his first four AHL starts this season, and plays like a goaltender that’s never going to truly be ready for the call in Boston.