Claude Julien wants his team to do a better job at capitalizing on their scoring chances. Zdeno Chara is happy with the Bruins’ first game. David Krejci joins the club of people who don’t like PK Subban. Bruins’ fans were booing their team. Julien this morning calls for a mandatory practice, focussing on the powerplay, while Jacques Martin calls an optional practice where no regular player shows up, choosing to rest instead after a tough win.
Julien and the Bruins are not stupid. They saw what the Canadiens did to the Washington Capitals and to the Pittsburgh Penguins last year. With the rivalry and recent history between both clubs, they are certainly not taking the Habs for granted. But they saw in game one how frustrating it can be to dominate most of the game only to find yourself with the short end of the stick. And they know that if they can’t find a solution and quickly, they’ll join the ranks of Ovechkin and Crosby, thinking that they were the better team… from the golf course.
Let’s face it. Yes, Muhammad Ali used the punching bag tactic to win some fights, but he was… Muhammad Ali. The Habs don’t have that kind of presence and his devastating punch. They did play fairly well in the first and third periods of last night’s game, but too many periods like the second and they’ll eventually find themselves behind the eight ball in a hurry. The Bruins know it, the fans know it, and so does anyone who’s been following hockey for any extended period of time. Luck eventually turns its ugly head and the Habs are like a poker player going “All-in” with every hand. In the long run, the odds will shift against you.
There is no doubt that we will see a different Bruins’ team in game two, perhaps a different strategy, with a lot of traffic in front of young star goaltender Carey Price. It is not unreasonable to think that we might see a more physical effort from Boston, trying to balance between intimidation and discipline.
But as history has shown, it is possible with a hot goaltender to steal a series… and the Bruins know it as well.