The Bruins lost to the Blues in overtime 3-2 last night, but you won’t find too many pissed off Bruins fans. Even Claude Julien is probably happy with the one point that they earned.
And that’s because the Bruins coach really didn’t put much of an emphasis on winning last night’s game. Sure, Tuukka played when they could’ve rested him with the Olympics coming up, but and sure, all of the top 12 forwards were healthy. But let’s look deeper into how Claude positioned his troops for battle last night…
The B’s defensemen were Johnny Boychuk and 5 guys with 82 games or less of NHL experience. So Boychuk was gonna go Ryan Suter on us and play approximately 48 minutes, right? Wrong. He played just 19:45, the fourth most on the team. Bartkowski and Hamilton played the most, each between 22 and 24 minutes, which is fine by me. None of the forwards played more than 19:33, which was Bergeron. No one on the top line played more than 18:35. All that is still fine by me.
Look, this is one game in the regular season. Sure it’s the Blues, a team that the Bruins could definitely face in the Stanley Cup Finals, but it’s still one game in February. Having the B’s at top shape come playoff time is the most important, which is why Claude was right now to overuse Boychuk or anyone else (especially Boychuk, who is now a top 2 defenseman for the first time in his career).
Despite Claude not treating that game as all that important, and despite Alex Pietrangelo playing over 26 minutes, and despite Steen and Bouwmeester playing almost 24 minutes, the Bruins still outshot the St. Louis Blues, the team who has scored the most goals in the league except for Chicago, 38-27. It just so happens that Jaroslav Halak outplayed Tuukka Rask, and that’ll definitely happen less than 50% of the time.
I’m happy with this Bruins effort, and I think Claude Julien and his coaching staff is, too. Now, let’s start rooting for Slovakia, the Czech Republic, and Finland to not make it past the prelims, even if Chara, Krejci, and Rask play great. Sweden and Canada will make it past the prelims, but Eriksson probably needs the minutes anyway, and Bergy won’t play that much with how stacked Canada is at center.
But most importantly, USA!!!