I shouldn't be up right now, but for whatever reason I haven't been able to fall asleep as early as I'd like lately and that has resulted in me getting up later. But as I'm disgusted by the Bruins and awake anyway, so a few postgame thoughts might be in order.
They are going to lose this series. I'd be very surprised if they don't. If they somehow manage to win Sunday, this isn't a Cup-winning team unless a sea change occurs. I'd be that much more surprised if they righted their game and played the way you need to play to win a Cup.
The biggest problem--and there are numerous problems--is that their game is gone. This isn't how they play. It can take a little bit to find your game when you lose it and you're discombobulated. They don't have any time. They look lost, clueless, they have no confidence.
In four of the six games, the Panthers have clearly been the better team. They are the better team right now.
Then you have this to enter into the mix: You have to start Jeremy Swayman in Game 7. You have no choice now. To stick a goalie into that situation, after not really playing since the last game of the season in Montreal...tough spot.
Ullmark: no. Has to stop now. He is all wrong. I don't think it's injury. There is so much excess motion in his game right now. He's unsettled. He's flailing. He's fighting the puck.
I wrote in these pages many weeks ago that the Bruins were creating a potential playoff problem with a platoon system. That if Ullmark was the number one, he had to be the number one. No rotating games. Now it's caught up to them. He's being exposed. I thought he was good in Games 1 and 4. Tonight he was execrable.
Connor Clifton: killed you tonight. Absolutely killed you. Directly responsible for two goals. Took a penalty. True, the goalie was also awful on that second goal and was beaten with a wrister on the short side, but Clifton was wretched. That third D pair was a total liability.
Jack Edwards was saying Pastrnak was back, but he isn't because this is really part of what David Pastrnak has always been. I'll tell you exactly what David Pastrnak is as a hockey player better than anyone else has: his game is plays. His game isn't a game. He makes plays. Offensive plays. He's a specialist. He's kind of like Dave Kingman, but he's really counted on for a lot. Pastrnak is invisible or bad for most of a game. But he may make two or three plays that lead to goals. His value comes in like ten seconds per game. Tonight that was two goals in those ten seconds.
Bertuzzi: gamer. Not fazed. Tough, scrappy, smart, very good playmaker. Excellent backhand passer. He and Marchand have been their best players. Easily. Bertuzzi is a playoff hockey player.
Charlie McAvoy: poor. Terrible body position--he was on the outside, which was bad enough, and failed to control his man's stick, which was worse--that led directly to a goal.
Lindholm: soft in the playoffs. Invisible for long stretches, if not whole games. Different player in the regular season.
First time I've seen Jim Montgomery lose it on the bench. I've never seen him lose his cool, actually.
This team, I think, is done. They're going to get beat on Sunday. If they do, nothing from this year matters. It all becomes negative. You become a joke. No one takes those records seriously. Look at me, Mr. Hockey guy who knows all the history. I never, ever rate that 1995-96 Red Wings team as anything positive or special.
I just don't see them winning this series. I don't think they deserve to win it either. Come out and play well, bring the intensity, stop the breakdowns and turnovers, and get the goaltending, and yes, of course they can win that deciding game. But very little that I've seen suggests to me that that's very likely.