Kris Letang Takes a Dive to Get the Penguins a Win

Milan Lucic scores a goal against Brent Johnson with a great assist by David Krejci (4/3/12)

The Bruins' Milan Lucic scores a goal against Brent Johnson with a great assist by David Krejci.

4/3/12: Bruins vs Penguins - Final Score (5-3 Penguins)

Last night, the Bruins played the Penguins in one of their remaining three regular season games that make not difference to us as we’ve clinched the #2 spot in the Eastern Conference.  It was predicted by many that this would be a pretty dull game as both teams have guaranteed spots in the playoffs.  In the beginning, it looked like this would be true as we seemed to be sitting back a bit, but once the Penguins went up 2-0 in the first period, we started really trying.  From then on, we were the better team and 18 seconds into the second period, we erased their lead with our second goal.

Then, near the end of the second period, Daniel Paille put a huge hit on Matt Niskanen and got a charging penalty since he came from such a long distance.. though it was a pretty clean hit.  This obviously sucked, but we can handle killing off a penalty.  It’s what happened next that really matters..  Nine seconds later, Rich Peverley got a high-sticking penalty that was complete bullshit!  He lightly hit Kris Letang’s shoulder and Letang whipped his head back to make it look like he got hit in the face.  Great acting Letang!  And great call refs!  This made a huge difference in the game because it gave the Penguins a 5-on-3, which is much harder to defend..  The Penguins ended up scoring twice the game was completely turned around.

I know this game didn’t matter, but seeing Letang take a dive like that and having the resulting penalty be pretty much solely responsible for their win makes me sick!  The NHL needs to do everything they can to put an end to diving.  I know it’s tough for the refs to see everything, but it wouldn’t be that hard to have the NHL head office review these plays and call down to the game if the wrong call was made..  I thought that’s what they did anyways, and if so, they failed hard!  Even if they don’t do that, there are other easy solutions like automatically review iffy penalties or better yet, giving the coaches challenge flags, like the NFL does, that they can throw to have a play reviewed.

It’s too bad that NHL disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan can’t suspend Letang.  However, he can give him a fine and I really hope he does.. and the bigger, the better, because it will help players in deciding not to take dives.  It would be a real shame if a game were to be won in this way during the playoffs, so get your shit together NHL!

The other huge story to come out of this game was an injury to Johnny Boychuk.  Early in the third period, Arron Asham stuck his leg out as he approached Boychuk, hitting him in the knee hard.  He acted like it wasn’t intentional, but looking at the replay you can see that he sticks his leg out to make the contact.  This was even harder to watch then Letang trying to be an actor.. and it was just as detrimental to our game as our defense was hurting without Boychuk.  He went to the locker room and there’s no word on his condition yet.  If it is serious, we probably won’t get him back for the playoffs, and if we do, he won’t be at 100% and will be a bit rusty.  This is pretty tough for the Bruins as he is one of our best defenseman and plays more than 20 minutes per game on average.  Oh and Asham didn’t get any discipline for this.. ya.

In general, the Bruins did look good (besides in the beginning when they weren’t really trying).  We also got a first look at defenseman Torey Krug who was called up from the minors for his first NHL game.. and he looked good too, making some really nice, smart plays.  Don’t expect much for the rest of the regular season, though, as the Bruins won’t be going full throttle and will be resting their top players since these last games don’t matter.  Still, we looked good and I’m confident in their game going into the playoffs.

Coach Claude Julien reacts to a bad charging call on Daniel Paille (4/3/12)

Bruins Coach Claude Julien reacts to a bad charging call on Daniel Paille. This is pretty much how we looked throughout the game with all the crap the Penguins got away with.

My Highlights/Rants

This section is where I put my notes from the game, with the plays that I felt were worth highlighting and ranting about.  This is basically my version of a game recap, intended for those who would like to read one that tells more than just what happened on paper.  So, if you just want a summarization and my thoughts on what the game means for the Bruins, just read the section above and the “Final Thoughts/Notes” section near the bottom.  Following this section are some videos and links…

1st Period
-30 secs in, David Krejci hits puck over glass.. delay of game penalty.  Penguins are 3 for 8 on the power play recently.
-On the penalty kill:
–We kill of the first minute well.
–Then Rich Peverley takes the puck.. brings it all the way in and around the net and gets a good chance with Gregory Campbell in front of the net.
–We kill off the rest of the penalty, allowing no shots on goal.
-Then Torey Krug has a good first NHL shift.
-Almost 5 mins in, Johnny Boychuk blocks a shot with his leg and limps for a minute.
-Soon after we get a nice offensive stand and Joe Corvo has a nice shot.
-6 mins in, Daniel Paille does good work getting through defenders and getting the puck into their end to start an offensive stand.
-7 mins in, Milan Lucic and James Neal, start shoving each other near the benches.. then they try to go around the refs to fight and just get sent to the penalty box.  It goes to 4-on-4 for two minutes.
-Then a some nice moves by Corvo bringing it in to the net.. then the Penguins get it back to our end.. Sidney Crosby gets the loose puck and scores.
-9 mins in, we get a nice rush and Krug has a nice shot.
-11 mins in, great pass to Tyler Seguin rushing in.. all the way to the net and gets robbed.
-Lucic went off to the locker room looking like he might be hurt.
-Almost 14 mins in, Paille with a nice neutral zone steal brings it in, passes to Krejci in front and it bounces off him and almost in.
-15 mins in, the Penguins rush in.. Marty Turco makes a nice save on Tyler Kennedy, then it bounces off of Paul Martin’s hand and goes in.. they review whether he knocked it in on purpose.. they give him what is his first goal in 41 games.
-Almost a minute later, Brian Rolston makes a nice steal in their end and gets a nice shot.
-Then we get a nice stand and Lucic takes a nice shot, then gives a big hit.
-17 mins in, the Bruins rush in and shoot, Benoit Pouliot gets the rebound, makes some sweet moves to get to the goal and takes a great shot, roofing it over Brent Johnson for his 15th goal of the season.  He also has a career-high 31 points.
-A minute later, Shawn Thornton on the rush passes to Campbell.. he passes to Paille for a nice chance.. then a nice shot.
-Then Lucic hits Evgeni Malkin rushing in and turns it into a rush for us.
-It ends 2-1 Penguins.
-Overall, we were the better team, but seemed to sit back a bit.. though we picked it up in the last five minutes or so.  The shots on goal were 13-10 and scoring chances 6-3, both in favor of the Bruins.

2nd Period
-Right from the start, we rush in, Lucic with a nice shot, then Krejci grabs the rebound, makes a great pass behind him back to Lucic.. he scores his 25th goal of the season!  This was the 22nd game that we’ve scored a goal in the first two minutes of a period.
-A min in, Brad Marchand makes a steal in their end, gets a 2 on 1, passes across to Seguin, he shoots and it goes off Johnson’s glove and just over the top of the net.
-3.5 mins in, Turco makes a nice save.
-5 mins in, Seguin with a nice steal in their end then a centering pass for a good chance.
-8 mins in, nice save by Turco.  It’s been lots of back and forth.
-In the next several minutes, we get some great chances, but there’s lots of back and forth.
-15 mins in, Turco makes a nice glove save.. and some more good saves soon after.
-A minute later, Corvo takes a shot in the chest to block it.
-17 mins in, Paille puts a huge hit on Matt Niskanen into the boards.. it was a pretty clean hit, being from his side, but since Paille came from a long distance, he got charging penalty.
-As soon as we start killing the penalty, Peverley gets another penalty against us for high-sticking on Kris Letang.. this one being completely undeserved as he only hit Letang in the shoulder.. and not even hard.. but Letang immediately whipped his head back to sell it to the refs.. and they bought it.  I’m not just mad because this penalty was TOTAL BULLSHIT but also because it game the Penguins a 5-on-3 and completely turned the game around in their favor.
-We kill off some of the 5-on-3, but then Neal gets his 40th goal of the season.
-We then kill off some of the remaining penalty, but after play stops, some shoving starts and Andrew Ference decides to take on the much, much bigger Neal in a fight.. both of them got some big hits in, but Ference ends up getting the takedown!  Bruins fans, please help me shut the Penguins fans up in the comments on the YouTube videos of this fight.. here’s me (Necron44) getting it started:

YouTube comments for video of Andrew Ference's fight with James Neal (3/15/12)

-We kill off some more of the penalty, but then Crosby scores with a one-timer off of a quick pass across the net to him on the open side.
-The period ends 4-2 Penguins.

3rd Period
-30 secs in, we get a nice shot that deflects.
-Just over a min in, great pass up by Bergeron up to Seguin for breakaway and nice shot.
-Almost 4 mins in we get a good chance and nice shot, but Johnson just gets his glove on it to knock it away.
-5 mins in, we get a nice offensive stand with some nice hits.
-6 mins in, the Penguins win a faceoff in our end and Arron Asham scores his fifth goal of the season with a deflection that was pretty much by accident as he was getting knocked over and his stick ended up in the perfect place.
-Almost a minute later, Asham sticks his leg out to hit Boychuk’s leg hard and Boychuk has to go to the locker room hurt.  If it’s a serious injury, he may not be back for the playoffs.  Asham argues that it wasn’t intentional but watching the replay you can see he stuck his leg out.. it was a DIRTY HIT!!
-8 mins in, we get a break.. Lucic to Peverley.. backhand shot.. he scores his 11th goal of the season.
-Then Bergeron makes a great steal behind their net and pass to Seguin in front of the net for a good chance.. then Crosby hits the puck into the crowd without hitting glass and gets a delay of game penalty.
-On the power play, we get some good offensive work but the Penguins clear it a few times.
-13 mins in, Seguin with a nice steal in their end for a good chance, then going the other way, Turco makes a nice save.
-15 mins in, Zdeno Chara brings the puck all the way in and shoots, then we get a good offensive stand.  Then Joe Vitale gets hit in the side of the head with a shot by Chara and goes down hurt..  That’s karma for the dirty hit on Boychuk and Letang’s dive, assholes!
-17 mins in, we get two nice shots on goal.
-With 1 min left we take Turco out of the net for an extra attacker.. then Peverley gets a great chance as he deflects a shot in front of the net.
-With 30 secs left, Chara gets a tripping penalty for accidentally getting his stick under Pascal Dupuis’ skates as he tried to get the puck.  We kill of the penalty to finish the game.
-It ends 5-3 Penguins.

Final Thoughts / Notes
-Adam McQuaid skated earlier in the day with a visor, but was benched for this game just to be safe.
-Tim Thomas was given a rest and didn’t dress for this game.  Marty Turco started in net with Anton Khudobin called up from the minors to be his backup.  In his last two games, Turco is 2-0-0 with a 2.50 GAA.
-For the Penguins, Brent Johnson starts in net rather than their star Marc-Andre Fleury, who just lost three straight.
-Sidney Crosby is back in action as of this game.
-Bruins defenseman Torey Krug played his first NHL game.
-Going into this game, Patrice Bergeron had won 68 of his last 88 faceoffs.
-Before this game, the Bruins had the top six players in league for +/- rating: Bergeron, Chara, Seguin, Kelly, Marchand, Boychuk.  The last team to do that was the 1977 Bruins with Bobby Orr leading at +124!!  Now, with Boychuk getting injured, he moved down to 10th in the league, but we still have the top five.
-Kris Letang’s embellishment led the Penguins to score twice in 48 seconds and pretty much ended the game right there.

Notes added the day after the game:
-Johnny Boychuk’s injury appeared to be with the knee, but still no word.
-In today’s practice, Boychuk was the only one not participating.. even Nathan Horton and Tuukka Rask were out there (though not for the whole time).
-Coach Claude Julien said that some of our top players (Tim Thomas, Patrice Bergeron and Zdeno Chara) will be rested and will not go to Ottawa for our game against the Senators tomorrow.

Here’s NESN’s game preview (with Bruins/Penguins history & build-up):

Here’s a video of Milan Lucic’s goal from David Krejci’s great pass:

Here’s a video of bitch-ass Kris Letang’s blatant dive:

Here’s a video of Andrew Ference fighting James Neal:

Here’s a video of Joe Vitale getting hit in the head with a shot by Zdeno Chara (karma for him being dirty, Arron Asham’s dirty hit that injured Johnny Boychuk, and Kris Letang’s dive):

Here’s a video recap of the goals and big saves in the game:

Here’s the NHL’s video recap of the game:
http://video.nhl.com/videocenter/console?hlg=20112012,2,1189

Here’s the NHL’s page of video clips of the goals and some saves and hits: http://bruins.nhl.com/club/gamevideo.htm?id=2011021189

Here’s the NHL’s photos from the game:
http://bruins.nhl.com/club/gallery.htm?id=29103&location=/photos&pg=1

Thanks for reading,
Matt

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About bost0nfire

Here in Boston, our pro sports teams won seven championships in a decade, with all teams accounted for. That means the Bruins, Celtics, Red Sox, and yes the New England Patriots.. they did play in Boston at one time after all.. and they're still our team. So, I declare Boston to be the City of Champions. ... Check us out on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/b0stonwins?ref=hl ... Follow us on Twitter: https://twitter.com/BostonWins_Blog ... **** READER DISCRETION ADVISED: Adult Language may be used.
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