Playoff Slapshots: Game 3 tweaks, Kunitz escapes justice
Some thoughts as we look ahead to tonight's action:
The Adams nominee understands that his team's 3-0 loss in Game 2 was dictated by two failings. The Bruins made too many mistakes with the puck and had no response for Carolina's aggressive penalty kill.
The B's have been blanked on 14 consecutive power play chances, and things are not going to get any easier. The 'Canes were a perfect nine-for-nine on the kill at home in their first round series against the Devils. The Bruins failed to connect on the power play in their two road games against the Habs.
Give Carolina credit. They've applied consistent pressure on Boston's point men (oh, how they miss
To counter, Boston has to change its focal point to down low, and that might require personnel changes.
Another option is
And sure, the Bruins risk diminishing the effectiveness of their second power play unit, but if the first gets the job done, it's kind of a moot point, isn't it?
The B's might also look to get
Or it could be
Fair to say that the Capitals wouldn't have experienced anything near the regular season success they did without the help of the Norris Trophy finalist. In the playoffs, however, he's been a liability.
Green's always been something of an adventure in his own zone, but that's the yin to his offensive yang. Still, he's managed to elevate his down-side threat level from nuisance to real liability in the first two rounds. He supposedly was slowed by the flu in the first round, but it's looking more and more like that was code for something more serious. A shoulder problem? Maybe. Clearly there hasn't been as much on his shot and his passing has lacked the usual crispness.
When the body suffers, so does the decision-making, and that's where the real problem is evident. Green's positioning has been brutal, leading directly to two of
This is the time of year when stars have to play hurt, and it's admirable that Green is giving his all. But Boudreau isn't doing himself, or his team, any favors by putting him out against Pittsburgh's top line or asking him to play major minutes on the penalty kill. It's time to cut him back and let the rest of his underrated blue line pick up the slack.
Just before the puck crossed the line, Pittsburgh's
I wasn't the only one who missed it, of course. There was no penalty on the play. No surprise, considering the chaos in the crease. But while it's forgivable that the officials overlooked it, it's hard to defend the league's inaction after its own official review of the play. Sure, Kunitz was fined $2,500, but there was no suspension. That's hard to swallow.
This wasn't one of those borderline hits that can be written off as a hard hockey play. It was a head shot, plain and simple.
Not that anyone expects justice to be meted out equitably by the league at this point, but it's hard to look at the pop that earned Lucic a game in the press box during the first round and think that it was remotely as vicious -- or dangerous -- as the crosscheck that Kunitz delivered.
Of course, the way he's been playing of late, keeping Kunitz on the ice might be more of a penalty to the Pens than a suspension . . .