3 X 6

by

Tonight’s match-up vs. the Red Wings is the second leg of a wonderful little Original Six trilogy the Bruins are engaged in this week. Sunday vs. the Rangers at MSG, tonight in the Motor City and wrapping it up at home on Thursday against the hated Canadiens.

There’s something glorious when you get to immerse yourself in some O6 stew for a bit and get that feel for what it might have been like back in the day. Sure the NHL has changed in so many ways, good, bad and otherwise. But when those storied franchises get together you can still smell a whiff of that Old Time Hockey in the air, like the cold, crisp scent of Autumn.

Of course, the first leg was a disappointing loss in New York, shut-out by Hendrik Lundqvist 1-0. The team has been playing some tight defense and it husling and hitting, witnessed as well in the 2-0 win at home against Edmonton on Saturday afternoon, but the scoring has been MIA.

Without belaboring the point, because it’s very obvious how badly they miss Marc Savard and Milan Lucic, let me just point out one glaring issue that became embarrassingly evident in the Big Apple. At the end of that game, with a minute left, the goalie pulled and needing one to tie, both Michael Ryder and Marco Sturm were on the bench.

On the bench.

Bear in mind, these are two guys that started on the season on the first line with Savard, two guys the team is hoping will score in the 30 goal neighborhood and, as Peter Chiarelli himself has said, will offset the loss of Phil Kessel’s 36 goals. Guys who are supposed to be snipers.

On the effing bench.

Is this a message being sent by Julien? Or is he, as is his wont, just going with guys he sees as going better at the moment, like Bergeron and Krejci and even 94 year old Mark Recchi? I don’t know. I’m not sure there is time for message sending in a 1-0 game against a coference rival.

So what’s wrong with Sturm and Ryder? Who knows. Sturm, at least, seems to be workin hard and involving himself physically, even if the scoring touch isn’t there. Granted, he admits it takes time at the bginning of the game for his legs to get going. Is he still suffering some physical ailment? Or is it just rust? Ryder, as I’ve said all year, looks just lost out there. Floating up and down his wing, not involved along the boards like he should be, not a genuine factor in too many of the team’s games this season at all.

Any way you slice it, it’s frustrating and tonight’s match against a team as good as the Wings will be a severe test for a team mired in such a dramatic scoring drought as the B’s are right now.

P.S. Three games without a fight. And counting.

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