So Niklas Svedberg is a beast. The Swedish netminder (don’t I sound like Doc Emrick?) stopped 33 of 35 shots in an overtime win vs. Nashville, and it should be noted that the first goal was not his fault. As Mr. Carey Underwood (Mike Fisher) rushed up the right wing, Torey Krug and Ryan Spooner both forgot how to pick up the guy rushing up the left wing, who only could have scored if he got a rebound that Spooner or Krug easily could’ve cleared. That’s why Claude doesn’t rely on either of these guys for big defensive minutes, and it’s a legit reason that Claude might not play Spooner in the playoffs.
Svedberg looked almost as fundamentally sound as Rask, actually, and his post-to-post speed was awesome to watch when I’ve gotten used to a non-Tuukka goalie this year having terrible speed across the goal line. There is one big exception to saying that his fundamentals are in Tuukka’s league: Rebound control. Tuukka is possibly the best in the league at keeping rebounds out of harmful areas, and Svedberg is far from it. He’s better than Chad Johnson, and he will be the starter if Rask goes down.
Svedberg’s performance is the key point of the night, but here are some other quick observations that I noticed first hand last night when I was in the Garden.
- The first and second lines looked great from a chemistry standpoint yet again. If they’re clicking, they’re a really good team, to give you a little John Madden analysis.
- Krejci especially has looked ridiculous in the last week or two. Either the “A” on his sweater or the Olympics may be motivating him, if it’s something intangible. Or he’s just playing great because he’s a really good player.
- Marchand is back on track, as evidenced by his highlight reel goal in OT.
- Soderberg and Reilly Smith are great on the powerplay together, with the goal line-backdoor play always a viable option. The Predators picked up on it last night, but that opened up Bergeron for a possible shot from the slot.
- Jordan Caron played well last night. This is a big deal because it’s Jordan Caron.
- Matt Bartkowski played the most minutes of any non-Chara Bruins defenseman. Considering that Claude has treated him as the 7th defenseman both in last year’s playoffs and earlier this year, that’s great to see. He should easily get Top-4 minutes.
- The biggest negative from the game was being outshot 16-3 in the second period, which is a pretty big negative. The Bruins’ biggest weakness is their tendency to fall asleep at times, and, unfortunately, it looks like that’ll be a definite possibility throughout the season yet again. They’re a “The only ones who can beat us are ourselves” kind of team.