This is nirvana.
The Boston Bruins aren’t good or very good. Right now, as they prepare for a light practice in Wilmington this morning, they are great.
Other than the six goals, the national hockey audience probably didn’t appreciate what happened Saturday night and especially last night.
It was ugly. For two periods it was keep-away and dumps along the boards.
The two superstars on the ice last night, Pittsburgh Penguins Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, looked like they belonged on the Bruins third line with Tyler Seguin. In other words, they are a mess.
But Crosby and Malkin have an excuse. The Bruins, as a team, are awesome right now. And the Penguins, as of now, are more confused and perplexed than the Vancouver Canucks ever were. Remember, the Bruins won only one game in Vancouver, Game 7.
Other than that Game 7 win two Junes ago (4-0), last night was one of the best Bruins playoff games in recent memory.
It was text book hockey.
The Bruins got an early lead (Brad Marchand takeaway and breakaway), dictated the pace, got two or three great saves from goalie Tuukka Rask, quieted the crowd immediately after the Penguins first goal at the end of the first period for a 4-1 lead and then teased the Penguins for the next 40 minutes.
Unlike the 3-0 loss in Game 1, the Penguins didn’t even attempt to complain about anything this time. Other than a few hits (the Pens outhit the Bruins 37-19), the Penguins simply skated their shifts and looked flummoxed on the bench. There was no chatter. It was amazing how the air in this team’s balloon has been popped so early.
What we’re seeing is the regular season isn’t just that, regular. Their 72 points, second only to the Chicago Blackhawks 77, doesn’t look so whopping this morning.
And their well-noted weaknesses, like goaltending and defensive discipline, are glaring.
The series is not over. The Bruins know that better than any other team, as they are the last NHL team to be trailing 2-0 after losing two home games before coming back to win a series against Montreal two years ago in their playoff opener.
But I like the Bruins chances against the Penguins, for a few reasons, one in particular.
Mario Lemieux is not walking through that door. And if he was, he’d be old and tired.
You can email Bill Burt at email@example.com.
Bruins-Penguins schedule Game 1: Bruins 3, Penguins 0 Game 2: Bruins 6, Penguins 1 Game 3: Wednesday at Boston, 8 p.m. Game 4: Friday at Boston, 8 p.m. If necessary Game 5: Sunday at Pittsburgh, 8 p.m. Game 6: Tuesday, June 11 at Boston TBD Game 7: Wednesday, June 12 at Pittsburgh, TBD