Sunday, November 1, 2009

GameDay: Sunday Breakfast Matinee - The Bruins

Opening Remarks: Boo! You want scary? How about 5 losses in six games? How about a hockey organization that was apparently unsuccessful in communicating to Coach Tortorella that Gaborik and Avery and Higgins would not be in the lineup Friday.

Said Tortorella:

"We just did not think three people were gonna be out of the lineup today....that was mind-boggling that we lost three people (Gaborik, Avery and Higgins) and we didn't think that."

That is not good. Tortorella is trying to build something here and the least the hockey club can do is let him know what players he has for the games. The Rangers had to make an emergency call to Hartford and barely was able to fly rookie Left Winger Dane Byers out to Minnesota in time to play. He reportedly arrived with less than a half hour until game time and was dressed 8 minutes before the puck dropped.

Now I could say something about Higgins' absence – but I won't. I will say that as you sit at your computer reading this – both you and Chris Higgins have the same number of goals this season. But you haven't averaged more than 16 minutes a night on the ice, while Chris has.

Anyway – the best way to stop the losing is to get back out there and win one. And so we see the NHL in it's wisdom has decided to schedule the new York Rangers head to head against the NFL Giants and Jets game at 1pm. And they made us fly home from Minnesota before sending us back out west to do it. Someone please tell Dubinsky it's an early game – he usually doesn't stop drinking until about 1pm on game days.

Okay – on with the Preview:

Who The Hell Are We Playing? The Boston Bruins are 6-5-1 to our 8-5-1 They're currently in 9th place in the Eastern Conference, just south of the line-o-death. Last year they topped the Eastern conference with 116 points.

Primary Skaters: Boss-town is led by center Patrice Bergeron's 8 points (4 G, 4 A), followed by Defenseman Derek Morris' 7 points (1 G, 7 A) and Center Marc Savard's 7 points (4 G, 3 A). But Savard of course is injurred and won't play.

In Net: They've gotten good play from both 'tenders. Tom Thomas has played 8 games with a GAA of 2.86 and a save percentage of .906. Tuuka Rask (who has two consecutive “U's” in his name) has played 4 games and boasts a better GAA of 2.42 and a better save percentage of .915.
Our own Mr. Lundqvist has a GAA of 2.68 and a save percentage of .914. I remember hearing, long ago, that the Rangers were going to get Hank more rest this year. But apparently that proclamation was for amusement purposes only.

Scoring & Defense: The Bruins score 2.75 goals a game. We score 3.5. The Bruins let up 2.83 goals a game. Your Rangers allow 2.79. So we score more and let up less.

Special Effects: Advantage Rangers. On the powerplay, Boston is 28th out of 30 teams with a 13.6% success rate. Sounds like us last year. But this year the Rangers rank 7th with a 25% score rate. On the Penalty Kill, Boston is 21st best with a 77.3 kill ratio. We are 5th with an 85.9 success rate.

Scheduling Conflicts: Boston is the hotter and tired-er team. They played Thursday (losing 2-1 to NJ) and shut out the Oilers 2-0 yesterday in Boston (also a day game). We lost Wednesday and Friday. So, are the Bruins more worn out because they played yesterday, or are their bodies better adjusted to the day game schedule because they just played one? I'd say it helps the Bruins early and the Rangers late.

Probable Lines: Well, everybody skated yesterday for the first time in a long time. That means Gabby and Seanny and Higgy. Higgins is saying he's not sure if he can go – which is understandable. If I were goal-less and nearly pointless this year (just 2 assists on the season!) I would make sure I was 100% before getting back on the ice.

I'm thinking Gabby will go – so I'm guessing that Gabby – Prospal – Lisin will be the first line. But with Dane Byers still on the roster (Parenteau reportedly sent back to Hartford) I don;t know how these will shake out.

On Defense: the usual suspects in the usual configuration.

In Goal: Looks like all plans of resting our superstar are thrown out the window and we're all Hank all the time.

Dave Puck Predicts: I won't give up. We usually let up about 3 goals. If we score 3 or 4 we usually win. So I'm saying Rangers 3-2.

And, as odd as this sounds - when Brashear and Gaborik both play we have not lost since the opener.

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