Haggerty's thoughts from Bruins vs. Penguins

Haggerty's thoughts from Bruins vs. Penguins
March 12, 2013, 8:30 pm
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Here are five thoughts from the first period with the Bruins leading the Pittsburgh Penguins by a 2-0 score after the first 20 minutes of action at the CONSOL Energy Center. 

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  •  Textbook first period for the Bruins as they played safe, smart hockey against the explosive Penguins and counter-attacked for a pair of goals while being out-shot by a 11-5 margin. I fully expected the Bruins to come out of the gate strong tonight, but it will be instructional to watch how things go over the next two periods as the second night of a back-to-back with travel catches up to them. 
  • Bruins power play continues to produce over the last month, and Zdeno Chara fires on net with a bomb from the right point that skitters through a Patrice Bergeron screen in front of the net. In the last 14 games the Bruins are succeeding at a 23 percent clip (9-for-39) on the power play, and that will be more than good enough for the Black and Gold this season.
  •  Tyler Seguin is red hot and snapped home another goal to give him six goals in his last seven games. This one was a pure goal scorer’s strike as he flipped it under the bar with Tyler Kennedy draped all over him off a crisp pass from Patrice Bergeron behind the net. It was just good, slick offense from a line that’s been a handful for everybody this season.
  •  A lot of trust for Anton Khudobin, who comes through with 11 saves in the first period. Khudobin had moments toward the end of the period when the Penguins dialed up the pressure on the Boston defense, but the Russian goaltender never wavered while snapping a glove hand stop on Sidney Crosby that was executed with a little swagger. Khudobin has shown he truly belongs in the NHL with the way he’s played this season, but he will have to tighten up his rebound control over the final 40 minutes.
  •  Three blocked shots, three hits, an assist and a game-saving blocked shot with his stick for Dennis Seidenberg when James Neal fired a puck at an open net behind an aggressive Khudobin out of his crease. It would be a 2-1 game if not for the German defenseman’s spectacular defensive play.

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Here are five thoughts from the second period with the Bruins leading the Pittsburgh Penguins by a 2-0 score after the first 40 minutes of action at the CONSOL Energy Center.

  • Bruins really starting to loose all of the spring in their legs. It could be a rough third period as the Penguins really controlled play in the middle 20 minutes, and could really pour it on in the final stanza. Quite sure that was Dan Bylsma’s game plan headed into tonight.
  • On the positive tip, Anton Khudobin has been pretty damned good for the Bruins. He’s made 22 saves through two periods of shutout hockey, and has made saves both solid and spectacular. His quick reaction on a Sidney Crosby pass to Tyler Kennedy showed some excellent reaction time and Khudobin also didn’t mishandle a wobbly Paul Martin shot from the slot during a scramble in front. The No. 1 goaltender of Kazakhstan continues to get the job done for the Bruins, and is pushing Tuukka Rask despite only playing once every couple of weeks.
  •  Five blocked shots for Johnny Boychuk in 13:43 in the first two periods. He’s paying the price and the Bruins have blocked 17 shots compared to Pittsburgh’s eight blocked shots.
  •  Patrice Bergeron is schooling Sidney Crosby in the face-off circle tonight: he’s got 10 wins in 14 tries, and both Bergeron and Rich Peverley have won an impressive 17-of-22 draws that’s allowed them to control play even if Pittsburgh is dominating time in Boston’s zone.
  • Five shots each for Pascal Dupuis and Kris Letang, but the Penguins seem content to fire pucks from outside rather than fighting their way to the net. You’re not going to beat the Bruins if you’re playing a finesse game – even if you’re catching them on the second night of a back-to-back situation.

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Here are five thoughts from the third period with the Bruins falling to the Pittsburgh Penguins by a 3-2 score after 60 minutes of action at the CONSOL Energy Center.

  •  Anton Khudobin can play. I don’t fault the Bruins coaching staff one bit for calling his number tonight. It was the team in front of him that looked dead exhausted after the first period was over.
  • Brandon Sutter can snipe with the best of them.
  •  Couldn’t help but feel I was watching a preview of the Eastern Conference Finals.
  • The Bruins were clearly spent after a good first period on the second night of back-to-back games. Hate to say it, but expect to see more of this as the games pile up with such a heavy schedule.
  • Adam McQuaid and Andrew Ference really struggled again tonight, and Dennis Seidenberg had a brutal turnover on the game-winning strike for Sutter. The defenseman corps looked like burnt toast in the third period.