BruinsCanadiens: 5 from the Second

BruinsCanadiens: 5 from the Second

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.comMONTREAL Here are five thoughts from the second period with the Bruins trailing the Canadiens by a 4-0 score at the Bell Centre after 40 minutes of ridiculous intensity.1)Ugly, ugly scene at the Bell Centre as Max Pacioretty is thrown head-first by Zdeno Chara into the board stanchion by the benches with 15.8 seconds to go in the first period. The review showed Paciorettys head and neck took the brunt of the collision, and the Habs forward was immobilized and taken in a stretcher off the ice. Scary scene for the Habs forward, who didnt move much at all while medical personnel worked on him on the ice. Reports from Montreal writers say that Pacioretty is conscious and moving his limbs, so good news on that front.2)Refs must have made determination that Chara was purposefully throwing Pacioretty into the dangerous stanchion as he passed that area of the ice with the puck nowhere near him. Because Chara was given a five minute major penalty and a game misconduct for what amounted to interference according to the rule book. Perhaps there was an intent to injure in there, but it appeared accidental .3)Tuukka Rask looked lost in the second period while allowing a couple of goals to the Habs, and there was no sign of Tim Thomas. Perhaps he is hurt. The goal where he flopped to his side when James Wisniewski blasted a top shelf shot off the water bottle off the top of the cage.4)Five blocked shots and an assist for Paul Mara, who talked a big game before playing tonight and has backed it up with his play.5)Thoughts and prayers for Max Pacioretty after a scary hit. He didnt appear to move or open his eyes, and the Canadiens media relations people arent giving any updates.

Haggerty: Legacies on the line at edge of another Bruins collapse

Haggerty: Legacies on the line at edge of another Bruins collapse

BRIGHTON, Mass – Let’s start with the straight fact that it’s asinine, apologist drivel to let the Bruins off the hook, and perpetuate an off-the-mark myth there isn’t enough talent on the B's roster to be a playoff hockey team.

They are middle-of-the-road in the talent department to be sure, and the roster depth clearly isn’t what it was in their elite years, as the Bruins balance an aging core group with an influx of youthful talent from the next generation. But this is also a proud, talented group with one of the best all-around centers in the NHL in Patrice Bergeron, a former Norris Trophy winner and future Hall of Fame defenseman in Zdeno Chara, a legitimate Hart Trophy candidate and in-his-prime All-Star left winger in Brad Marchand, an emerging 20-year-old offensive superstar in David Pastrnak and a former Vezina Trophy winning goaltender still in his prime in Tuukka Rask.

That doesn’t even mention high-end players David Krejci, David Backes and Torey Krug that are game-changing talents in their own right.

Combine that with the other players on the Bruins roster and this is a team interspersed with proud Stanley Cup winning players and enough talent to still take care of business in the final eight games and punch their playoff ticket. Winning a Cup in 2011 can never be taken away from Chara, Krejci, Bergeron, Marchand, Rask and Adam McQuaid, and neither can the seven straight seasons in the playoffs under Claude Julien.

But there’s a danger now of some late-in-the-game tarnish on Black and Gold legacies for some of those distinguished, proud players if they once again collapse down the stretch this season and miss the playoffs for the third year in a row with a late-season nosedive. Four consecutive regulation losses have cast doubt into everything for the Bruins and roused all the same old uncomfortable questions from the past three years.

Bergeron and Marchand need to find their best games and dominate the way elite players do in big-game situations like Saturday night vs. the Isles. Pastrnak, Brandon Carlo and Frank Vatrano need to show they're ready for the playoffs.Rask needs to finally show he's ready to shine as a No. 1 goalie and lead his team to victory in a big game rather than buckle under weighty pressure. 

“This is their legacy, those guys. They are Stanley Cup champions and they missed last year. Each year we talk about writing our own story, and I believe that because guys come and go,” said coach Bruce Cassidy. “But generally there is a core group of guys and it’s their legacy. I’m sure they want to reach the playoffs and get back to being a Stanley Cup contender every year.

“That’s what they want and to a man I’m sure they would tell you that. I do believe that they believe it’s different [this season]. Until you change the course of your results, those questions are going to come. We have to change the results to make then go away. One week of not getting results that we want doesn’t mean we’re panicking, but we do understand what’s at stake. We want to be playing in April and May.”

If the Bruins can’t pull out a win on Saturday night against the Islanders, who just pushed even with them at 82 points on the season, then their playoff lives will no longer be under their own control anymore. It will become another late-season choke job by a team that will have its character and courage questioned. The highs of six years ago will be matched by the bitter lows of the past three seasons.

People won’t talk about a scrappy, little underdog Bruins team that just couldn’t get over the hump once again. Instead, they’ll lament a formerly proud, tough-minded group of hockey players that somehow turned into NHL tomato cans all too willing to play the victim once the going got tough late in the regular season.

That’s no way to go out if you’ve ever had your name etched on Lord Stanley’s Cup, and the Bruins that know better should be taking that to heart right now.