Puck in the slot, Alex Ovechkin streaking toward it, you’re supposed to pick up the trailer.
A) Dive at the puck.
B) Try to get in position to jockey with him to disrupt a shot.
C) Intentionally commit slash Ovechkin in the spine and hope they don’t score on the resultant power play.
D) Give Ovechkin 45 minutes to load it up, cock and fire a 620-mile-an-hour shot past Tim Thomas and doom your team to a loss.
Hint: NOT D!
I’m not exactly the world’s foremost expert on backchecking, but I feel like that’s pretty straightforward.
But this play was symptomatic of the Bruins’ entire 4-1 loss to the Capitals tonight. Lazy backcheck, disinterested forecheck, hopeless rushes. It all adds up to a bad loss.
Someone on Twitter noted that Boston fans can expect a similar offensive output most nights this season, and that’s certainly truish. He cited the loss of Kessel as the reason for the drop in production, but really it’s that the Bruins led the NHL in shooting percentage last year, putting 10.9 percent of their shots in the net, a full 1.45 better than league average. Only five other teams (Pittsburgh, Philly, Atlanta, St. Louis and Vancouver) broke 10 percent. The extra 1.45 accounted for an extra 36 goals above average — ironically exactly the number Kessel scored last year — and made the Bruins second in goals for instead of tied for 17th.
So all year, Bruins fans will be scratching their heads saying, “Why isn’t Lucic/Krejci/Ryder/Wheeler/Kobasew scoring like he did last year?” It’s because their shooting percentages were 17.5, 15.1, 14.6, 14.0 and 16.3, respectively and they’re all likely to regress, to varying degrees, toward the mean. Regardless of how well Marc Savard passes (very) or how good the defense is (also very), they simply can’t be expected to total last year’s ridiculous output.
And hey, tonight they went up against a team known for its defense and goalte…
Montreal 4, Toronto 3 (OT)
The good news for Toronto fans: The boys looked pretty good. They were strong, fast, tough (or, if you prefer, truculent) and skillsy. The bad news for Toronto fans: Vesa Toskala is garbage and still on your team. Jonas Gustafsson woulda pulled out a W tonight. Hell, any NHL-level goalie woulda pulled out a W tonight. Toskala is not one of those. But at least you got the loser point, eh?
Colorado 5, San Jose 2
Like I said on Puck Daddy yesterday, ol’ Evgeni Nabokov is, umm, a bit past it. How do you let something like this happen, for real? I understand it’s Joe Sakic Night, and all this, but Nabby gave up five goals on 20 shots. And that’s 20 shots from the freakin’ Avalanche! Hell, Cody McLeod scored. What? Oh, and San Jose’s power play looked like garbage. Oh, and Dany Heatley still floats.
Calgary 5, Vancouver 3
You score four goals (five with Dion Phaneuf’s empty netter), you’re gonna win most nights. But I’m gonna say you don’t want to blow a pair of three-goal leads to get it done. Calgary was picture-perfect in the first, scoring three goals. That’s good! Then they were outscored 3-1 over the next 20:41. That’s bad! But a win’s a win, and at least they didn’t lose 6-0 to Vancouver on opening night like last year. By the way, if you’ve seen Jarome Iginla or Olli Jokinen, please call the SaddleDome Lost and Found. They were nowhere to be seen tonight.