TORONTO – Here are five thoughts from the first period with the Bruins and Maple Leafs locked in a scoreless tie after the first 20 minutes of Game 6 at the Air Canada Centre.
1) Felt like a very tentative first period from both clubs, as if both teams know the game’s importance and didn’t want to make the first mistake. Bruins led Toronto in shots by an 8-7 margin and had a pair of power plays, but it wasn’t the best brand of hockey from either team in the series by a long shot.
2) I am absolutely not one of those people that feels the Bruins need to switch out Tyler Seguin and Jaromir Jagr (way too slow for that line, and if Jagr were playing all that well on the PP with top six players then I’d be a little more inclined), but Seguin needs to start seeing and thinking the game at a higher level. He led a 3-on-2 rush from the left wing in the closing minutes of the third period, and opted to miss high and wide with a wrist shot rather than pass to an open Brad Marchand on the right side. Seguin needs to start creating higher percentage plays when the puck is on his stick.
3) No shots for Brad Marchand and Tyler Seguin in the first period. Brad Marchand also off on two difent occasions with skate issues, and only finished with 3:49 of ice time in the first period. This is after Marchand appeared to be having skate issues in Game 5 as well. Only Daniel Paille and Shawn Thornton had less ice in the first period. Not the response that everybody was looking for from the struggling Nose Face Killah at all.
4) Milan Lucic with two hits in 6:59 of ice time in first, and making a lot of little plays to keep possession in the zone and pressure on the Toronto defense. He’s really bringing it in this game, as is David Krejci playing strong on the puck. Can’t exactly say the same about Nathan Horton, who is coming up a little soft in some instances. There are times Horton needs to either play the body or challenge the guy with the puck, and he does neither.
5) Jake Gardiner leads the Maple Leafs in ice time again in the first period. It looks like Randy Carlyle has given the young defenseman the keys to the Toronto car, and that’s his No. 1 defenseman until further notice. He’s playing some pretty solid hockey.
Here are five thoughts from the second period with the Bruins and Maple Leafs locked in a scoreless tie after the first 40 minutes of Game 6 at the Air Canada Centre.
1) Tuukka Rask as sharp as he’s been through the entire series. Gloves saves on Phil Kessel and Dion Phaneuf with 1.7 seconds on the clock in the second period, and every manner of stop in between. Bruins defense has been pretty good about taking away the slot, but Rask has been at the top of his game when Toronto does get a shot through.
2) Unfortunately James Reimer has been just as sharp. His 1-2 combination save on Patrice Bergeron on a wraparound, and then again when Brad Marchand fed Bergeron for a one-timer from the slot was nasty, nasty stuff. The Bruins allowed Reimer to gather some confidence in Game 5, and he’s been playing better ever since that point in the series.
3) Seven shots on net for Bergeron, Seguin and Marchand line, but it’s No. 37 that has enjoyed the best chances by far. Marchand just doesn’t look right skating around and Seguin needs to find something other than trying to use speed to go around D, and then settling for wrist shots from the outside. He needs to either take the puck inside toward the net, or pull it back and find a trailing teammate behind him. Not enough Hockey IQ or creativity being shown at this point from No. 19.
4) It looks like Jaromir Jagr is done passing to Rich Peverley or Chris Kelly in the offensive zone. Trying to do everything himself and carry multiple guys to the net, and turning a lot of pucks over that turn into rushes in the other direction. Not sure I’m seeing what everybody is that automatically will make him a better play if he’s bumped up to one of the other lines. Any playmaking for Jagr wouldn’t offset the severe loss of skating speed his addition would cause.
5) Just three shifts for Dougie Hamilton in the second period as it appears that Claude Julien has already shortened his bench. The Bruins coach just isn’t fully confident that the 19-year-old can handle this level of intensity, especially in the defensive zone, and it’s easy to understand why.