With Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final just hours away, here’s the first part of the final in-series installment of my collaboration with Jon Jordan of Kukla’s Korner. Here are my answers to his inquiries.
JJ: Well, so… Now, we’ve had a Game 1 where… Oh, hell… Never mind. We can’t retread that every time.
But seriously, each of these games has had its own unique sets of twists and turns and nothing at all in this series has ever been able to be said with anything even resembling a real sense of certainty.
Well, except for the fact that you and I were each fairly certain from the start that this series would be going seven games. Congrats on that, my friend – and now we shall see who absolutely nailed this one.
But what about this one that has now come and gone? What is your lasting impression of a game that was a little bit like Game 2, where each team had far more than its fair share of turnovers? The two remaining teams in the Eastern Conference just aren’t supposed to look as sloppy as these two have for stretches this series and I’m starting to think that the styles of the games of Boston and Tampa Bay are like sand in the bathing suits of the other. (And even though you probably don’t get to the beach much up your way, I’m sure you can understand that such a dilemma makes for quite the uncomfortable end result.)
MK: Well we all knew – heck, a person that never saw hockey before in his life could tell you – that if the Bruins’ season went on long enough, one of two things would happen: the power play would explode in a hail of goals, or bite the Bruins in the butt…
Game 6 was all about the latter. Sure, they scored once in five opportunities, which is a decent percentage in general and especially for a team with a single-digit success percentage in the postseason. But when granted some early power plays and a chance to take control of the game, the Bruins did what they usually do. They passed the puck around, they chased it down to their own end and barely made the Lightning work for their kills. After one power play, I wrote in my notebook: “pathetic.” That’s what the power play has been all year and that’s what killed the Bruins in Game 6.
I thought the officiating was fine. There were bad calls both ways and both teams drew calls with embellishment. When it came down to it, though, the Lightning’s immense skill advantage took advantage and the Bruins continued to act as though a power play is a chance to take two minutes off the clock. At least they didn’t give up a shorthanded goal.
For more of my answers to Jon’s questions, log on to Kukla’s Korner Beats of the Southeast Blog.