Wake up, everybody. It’s playoff time in the NHL.
If some of the Bruins’ better offensive talents didn’t get the wake-up, now’s as good a time as any to shift out of regular-season gear and play as though the season is on the the line.
In Toronto’s Game 2 win Saturday night, coach Randy Carlyle and star forward Phil Kessel got the memo. Sure, Joffrey Lupul scored twice and James van Riemsdyk scored a highlight-reel goal to remember. But it was Kessel’s slump-buster that was worthy of a little extra press, as he hadn’t scored an even-strength goal against the Bruins in 23 games before he cashed in on a third-period breakaway. He was aided by Carlyle’s decision to juggle his forward lines and spot in Kessel several times over the game on other units.
So now, as I wrote for CBSBoston.com, we officially have a series. Kessel’s on the board, and it’s time for the likes of Tyler Seguin, Brad Marchand and Jaromir Jagr to join him in time for Game 3 Monday now that this series is tied 1-1. Seguin fired eight shots on net, but only a couple were from prime scoring areas. Marchand landed four shots on James Reimer. Jagr landed just two shots and was a minus-2. The Bruins’ offense, as was its nature in the regular season, made life easier on Reimer and the Maple Leafs defense, and couldn’t finish when there was an opening.
So while the Bruins’ defense was letting the Maple Leafs break out like a T barreling out of North Station, the Bruins were ineffective doing the same against Toronto. And now we have a best-of-five. And now we again don’t know what to expect out of the Bruins one night to the next.