The Bruins Outshot the Sabres 37-15 on Thursday night, and yet it took 2 Brad Marchand goals (finally!) between the 3rd period and overtime to beat the Sabres. It’s only fair to mention that The B’s outshot the Sabres 16-4 in the 3rd, and teams are usually supposed to have a lot more shots when they’re down 1 late in the game, but 21-11 in the 1st, 2nd, and OT still says a lot.
If you were to guess which Bruins defenseman played 24:09 and which played 22:19, Seidenberg or Hamilton, a lot of Bruins fans would mistakenly guess Seidenberg. (That would mean that they didn’t watch a ton of hockey since the start of last year, but whatever.) Dougie is the best blueliner, and I’m thrilled that Claude realizes it. Even if this might sound narrative-y, it says a lot that a 21 year old can be the anchor of a defensive corp that consists of a player coming back from an ACL tear, 3 guys with barely any experience (Warsofsky, Trotman, and Morrow), and Adam McQuaid.
Also, another point defensively: Matt Bartkowski has gotta go. And I don’t say that to destroy Bart, because I think Claude helped to ruin him. Amalie Benjamin noted that Bartkowski is having a “crisis of confidence,” which can’t exactly be helped by the fact that Julien said that he was half a player from a year ago. I’m all for directness, but was saying that necessary?
Bartkowski was almost traded (albeit for Jarome Iginla), then was passed over for Torey Krug during the 2013 playoffs when Seidenberg and Ference returned from injury (not too much of a slap in the face, but I’m guessing it didn’t help, and he was the more reliable of the pair when they played in the same games), and then got blamed for a ton of stuff last year, while the media and team seemed to like Kevan Miller more because he does really important stuff like fight once every 12-15 games. Bartkowski was better than Miller last year, but Miller was consistently selected over Bart, and that remained true at the beginning of this season. Bart has gotta go, and I say that more for him than anyone else. The minute he plays well, try to trade him for anything, even if it’s another 7th defenseman. Aka, do what every fan has been wanting the B’s to do with Jordan Caron for 2.5 years.
Back to Buffalo on Thursday night. The line switching was very interesting, as especially because the one that stayed normal was the one with a guy with fewer than 10 games under his belt (Griffith with Krejci and Lucic). Putting Reilly with Campbell and Paille was intriguing, even if it makes Campbell look so much worse with a right wing who’s actually really good. Kelly, Bergeron and Gagne was also interesting, as those are 3 defensive, smart veterans. I would call that the “No Mistake Line.” The only problem is that just 1 of the guys can consistently do a lot of stuff other than not make mistakes. And Soderberg-Eriksson-Marchand makes sense as well, especially because Claude wanted to keep Soderberg and Eriksson together with their already awesome chemistry, which is why Eriksson hasn’t moved to Krejci’s line yet.
Good win. A necessary win. And the kind of shot differential that gives you confidence. Get well soon, Zdeno.