Tonight, the Bruins survived the Leafs in the shootout with just a 2-1 victory despite a 50 (!) to 28 shot advantage, as James Reimer played incredibly in a game that hasn’t been that nice to him in the past. The Celtics, only about 20 minutes later, beat the Raptors on a Marcus Smart putback layup after Isaiah Thomas missed his game winner in the lane on one of the worst missed foul calls that I’ve ever seen… except for every 5 minutes during March Madness with these pathetic college refs.
Claude Julien FINALLY benched both Paille and Campbell, rolling out a 4th line of Talbot-Kelly-Connolly, and the Bruins beat the Maple Leafs in just about every facet of the game. The weakest links of the Bruins were Adam McQuaid (shocker) and David Pastrnak, who had a complete off night. His curl and drag move when he’s trying to get around a defenseman when entering the offensive zone is also played out; everyone knows it’s coming.
Tuukka made some huge saves, including shutting down a shootout lineup of Bozak, Van Riemsdyk, and Kadri, which is a damn good collection of shootout guys. With Chara sitting a few shifts because of some kind of leg injury (something to monitor), Bergeron played an amazing game, scoring goals both in regulation and the shootout. I was at the game in person, and I also thought that Max Talbot played a really good game in subtle ways that won’t show up on the stat sheet, so hopefully that 4th line remains intact.
The Bruins were still weak defensively without Dougie Hamilton, as the quality of their shots given up seemed pretty bad, especially considering that Toronto only has 1 good line of forwards now. That was another reason that Tuukka was awesome, demonstrating how he’s been back to his Vezina-type ways recently.
Up in the City of Losers (Toronto), the C’s played a great game that was only tragic because it took place during the B’s game at the same time. Brad Stevens again called a great play at the end of the game, and I’d bet anything that Stevens specifically told Marcus Smart to be on the opposite block of Thomas when he took the runner.
Throughout the game, Avery Bradley’s off night (3-13 shooting) with a combined 32 of 56 from Smart, Zeller, Thomas, and Turner, who had the pendulum of inconsistency swing back to “awesome” tonight. Unfortunately, it’s becoming abundantly clear that Jae Crowder cannot be anything more than an energy bench guy for a good team, as he shouldn’t be playing 30 minutes, and how badly he got faked on Lou Williams’ go ahead 3 with 4 seconds to go suggests that any good team probably wouldn’t want him in crunchtime, either.
In the NHL, the other news was bad, with both Ottawa and Detroit winning, and Washington getting a loser point against the Sens. But in the NBA, the news was good, with the Nets getting smoked and the Heat blowing a huge lead. The B’s are now up 3 on Ottawa, tied with Pittsburgh and Detroit, and 2 points back of Washington. Everyone but Washington in that group has a game in hand over the Bruins, who have just 3 left against the Caps, Panthers, and Lightning, who should be resting everyone by next Saturday hopefully. The Celtics are now half a game behind Brooklyn for 7th and half a game up on Miami for 8th, and they have 5 games to go while the Nets and Heat have 6.
Hell of a night for this city, because our sports teams haven’t given us enough of those in recent years.