Haggerty's thoughts from Bruins-Hurricanes

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Haggerty's thoughts from Bruins-Hurricanes

RALEIGH, NC Here are five thoughts from the first period with the Bruins leading the Hurricanes by a 2-1 score after the first 20 minutes of action at PNC Arena.

1) The Bruins were firing out of the gate in this one. Tyler Seguin, Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand set the tone with an energetic first shift that had a couple of scoring chances, and they kept the pressure on. When that line plays with energy and reckless abandon on the fore-check it really sets the tone for everybody else on the Black and Gold bench. That line accounted for three of the 11 shots in the first period, and members of that line were involved in both goals.

2) A special teams extravaganza for the Bruins in the first period as they scored both shorthanded and on the power play. The shorthanded goal came as the Bruins set up despite being outnumbered by the Carolina attackers, and Zdeno Chara found a cross-ice pass to Brad Marchand for a sniper shot from the right face-off circle that Cam Ward had zero chance to stop. The power play strike was what the Boston coaching staff envisioned at its perfect: Zdeno Chara and Tyler Seguin moving the puck and Zdeno Chara hitting the net with a wrist shot as Milan Lucic was screening in front of the net. The Bs power play is having their best night of the season thus far.

3) Anton Khudobin looks solid while making 10 saves in the first period and had a couple of very good stops among those shots attempted at the Boston net. The best was probably as he quickly moved from left to right to snuff out a Jiri Tlusty-to-Jamie McBain play on the backdoor He also took a delay of game penalty when he played a puck outside of the trapezoid a play that wouldnt be a penalty in the KHL and was perhaps the No. 1 goaltender of Kazakhstan having an out of body experience.

4) Milan Lucic drops the gloves with Tim Gleason after hed been trying to get the Canes defenseman to fight him for the last couple of years. The two big men traded a bunch of powerful punches with Gleason actually getting the better of Lucic in the bout. The Bs power forward now has two fights in five games after waiting 20 games to get into his first hockey brawl last season. The Bruins were up 2-0 at the time of the fight and did seem to lose a little momentum after they squared off.

5) Zdeno Chara leads the Bruins with three shots on net, has two points and was the focal guys on both goals for the Black and Gold. Its been a very solid start to the season for the Boston captain in the first five games.

Here are five thoughts from the second period with the Bruins and the Hurricanes tied at a 3-3 score after the first 40 minutes of action at PNC Arena.

1) Back-to-back turnovers by Shawn Thornton and Chris Kelly in the defensive zone lead to a pair of Carolina goals in the final few minutes of the second period to tie things up. Not sure its a good idea to leave the fourth line out on the ice against the Jeff SkinnerJordan Staal combo that opened it up to get things working for the Hurricanes at the end of the second. The Kelly turnover went right to Alex Semin at the blue line and he fed Eric Staal for the game-tying score. It looked like he might have been gassed at the end of a shift because he wasnt moving his feet at all. Just a complete letdown by the Bruins, and some poor shifts for the fourth and third line. Dougie Hamilton was also nowhere to be found in the defensive zone on the Kelly turnover as Dennis Seidenberg was the only backup the Bs forward had.

2) What a goal for Nathan Horton that put the Bruins up 3-1 and shows the Bs right winger is healthy and completely back to his game. He dangled through three Canes defenders including leaving Tim Gleason in the dust by the blue line before roofing a shot over Cam Ward. Hortons second goal of the season and really as good a highlight reel goal as youll see from the power forward.

3) Bruins penalty kill great again tonight. Theyve got their first shorthanded goal of the season and theyre a perfect 22-for-22 in killing penalties, and they had plenty of work in the first couple of periods in a penalty-filled game.

4) Best game of the season for Rich Peverley, who leads the Bruins with four shots on net and nearly scored on both a shorthanded breakaway and a shot from the slot. Ward stopped both chances with big saves, and then was also able to shut down Chris Bourque on a rebound attempt at the doorstep.

5) Two assists, four shots on net and a plus-3 for Alex Semin, who has always been a Bruins killer over the years. He decided to show up tonight.

RALEIGH, NC Here are five thoughts from the third period with the Bruins taking a 5-3 win over the Hurricanes score after 60 minutes of action at PNC Arena.

1) The third line was a little bit better tonight, but still no offense and they let in the game-tying goal at the end of the second during a rare Bs collapse with a two-goal lead. Chris Kelly made the rare turnover that led to the goal, and also didnt fare very well in the face-off circle. Chris Bourque doubled his season shot output total, but also took a penalty that wiped out a Bruins PP in the third period.

2) Johnny Boychuk left the ice for a portion of the third period and it may have been a result of a couple of blocked shots in the second period. One of the shots to the footankle area looked particularly painful, but he did return for the majority of the period.

3) Milan Lucic playing the wrecking ball role rather than the offensive role against the Hurricanes. Led the Bruins with five registered hits and knocked Eric Staal out of commission for a few minutes in the third period after a violent collision in the Boston end.

4) Carolina has all of the look of a player team this year. Jordan StaalJeff Skinner and Eric StaalAlex Semin give the Hurricanes two legitimately dangerous forward lines and its a very underrated D corps with a proven goaltender. Thats a pretty good combo.

5) Nathan Horton is 100 percent back. He nearly potted the game-winner with a wrist shot from the slot off a Carolina giveaway, but Cam Ward somehow stopped the short-side wrister. Horton also hit the post in the wild scramble at the end of the third period that led to the David Krejci game-winning score.

6) Dougie, Dougie, Dougie. Assists in three straight games for the 19-year-old, who is making a major impact for the Bruins.

Morning Skate: Do Caps have mental block come playoff time?

Morning Skate: Do Caps have mental block come playoff time?

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while thinking about and praying for the people of Manchester, England. It’s obviously an evil, cowardly act to bomb any public place, but to do it at a concert filled with women and children is the lowest of the low.

*The Capitals players are acknowledging that there’s some kind of mental block with the Stanley Cup playoffs. CSN Mid-Atlantic has all the details.

*It’s been a very odd postseason for the NHL where there are so many non-traditional teams still alive with the Nashville Predators in the Stanley Cup Fina, and the Ottawa Senators fighting for their lives in the Eastern Conference Final. On that note, there is a ton of disappointment at the empty seats at the Canadian Tire Centre for Ottawa’s home games in the playoffs. It sounds like there are going to be empty seats tonight for a do-or-die Game 6 in Ottawa. That is an embarrassment for a Canadian city that’s supposed to pride itself on their love of hockey. Let’s hope the Senators fans have a last-minute surge to buy tickets and show some appreciation for a Senators team that’s given the Ottawa fans a totally unexpected ride through the postseason this spring. I mean, Erik Karlsson at the top of his game is worth the price of admission all by himself.  

*The Pittsburgh Penguins have the Senators on the ropes, and it’s been an impressive showing given that they’re doing it without Kris Letang.

*Pro Hockey Talk has the ownership for the St. Louis Blues giving their GM Doug Armstrong a vote of confidence.

*Another early exit from the playoffs is going to start making some players expendable on the New York Rangers roster.

*Here’s a good piece on how David Poile built the Nashville Predators, who have reached the Stanley Cup Final for the first time. Give credit where it’s due: He manned up and made a big move dealing away Shea Weber straight up for PK Subban. It’s really worked for Music City as they’ve stepped to the next level.

*Speaking of Nashville’s rise this spring in a wide open Western Conference, Pekka Rinne has silenced the critics he might have had by carrying his team to the Cup Final.

*For something completely different: Boston law enforcement is on high alert after the bombing of the Ariana Grande concert in the UK.

 

Haggerty: Reports of Seidenberg's demise were greatly exaggerated

Haggerty: Reports of Seidenberg's demise were greatly exaggerated

Hindsight is always 20/20, of course, but it appears the Bruins made a mistake buying out veteran defenseman Dennis Seidenberg from the final couple of years of his contract. 

Seidenberg just finished up a wildly successful stint with host Team Germany at the IIHF World Championships, where he was named Directorate Best Defenseman (the tournament’s best defenseman) after leading all D-men with a goal and eight points. This came after Seidenberg, at age 35, posted 5 goals and 22 points in 73 games for the Islanders, with whom he signed after being cut loose by the B's, while averaging a shade under 20 minutes per game.  Seidenberg also had an excellent World Cup of Hockey tournament for Team Europe last summer (where he was teamed once again with Zdeno Chara), thus managing to play at a high level from September all the way through May.

A faction of Bruins fans thought he was on the serious decline after the 2015-16 season and, clearly, the Bruins agreed, opting to buy him out with two more years still left on a sizable contract extension. (They owe him $2.16 million next season and then will be charged $1.16 million on their salary cap over the next two seasons.) But the B's could have used a durable, defensive warrior like Seidenberg in the playoffs, when they lost three of their top four defensemen against the Ottawa Senators. A rejuvenated Seidenberg, able to play both the left and right side, would have been a better option than Colin Miller.

The Bruins made a conscious decision to hand things over to younger defensemen like Miller, Torey Krug, Brandon Carlo and Joe Morrow in cutting ties with Seidenberg. But they also perhaps miscalculated how much Seidenberg still had left in the tank after his best season in at least three years. 

“Well, at the time we felt like [Seidenberg's] game had really dropped off to where we thought he couldn’t contribute, and we wanted to see if some younger players could come in and help us out,” Bruins president Cam Neely said at the end-of-the-season press conference earlier this month. “I’ve got to say he played well this year for Long Island. But at the time we thought it was the right move. You can’t envision us having three of our top four D’s get hurt [in the playoffs]. We went through a lot of D’s in the postseason. You can’t predict that.”

Neely is referring to the decision made after Seidenberg’s second straight minus season in Boston, when back injuries and a major knee injury had seemed to slow him down a bit. It seemed the only way to properly evaluate some of their other, younger defenseman was to cut Seidenberg loose, but one has to wonder if the Bruins would have possibly done it had they known he was still capable of playing like he did this season for the Islanders. 

Either way, the buyout of Seidenberg is an extremely legitimate second guess of Bruins management in a year where they did a lot of things right.