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It was an ugly sight across the Atlantic, as the Boston Bruins opened the season with a 5-2 loss to Phoenix. Phoenix struck first blood 7:59 in, when Radim Vrbata tipped in a pass after Tuukka Rask slid off the side blocking a previous shot. The Bruins could not respond during two power plays in the first period, with the first including 36 seconds of 5-on-3. The Coyotes nearly got a shorthanded goal in the process.
Tempers started flaring, with what we’ll refer to as “sedated fisticuffs” occurring during almost every stoppage near a goal. In the 2nd Period, Phoenix used the tension to their advantage, demolishing the floodgates and scoring at 1:58, 15:02, and 19:43 to go up 4-0 on Boston’s (allegedly) strong defense. And the fourth goal was on the power play, by the way.
Needless to say, the Bruins weren’t happy going into the locker room during the 2nd intermission. New Bruin Nathan Horton took the message, scoring 3:33 into the last period to finally put the Bruins on the board, then again at 9:03, bouncing his second goal (on the power play) off Ilya Bryzgalov’s pad and into the net, making the score 4-2.
But from then on out, the clock became Boston’s enemy, and with an empty net at 18:13, Radim Vrbata put in his second of the game to seal Boston’s fate, if there was any doubt before the goal.
Aside from Nathan Horton, things were pretty bleak. Yes, Boston got off 42 shots to Phoenix’s 37, but few of their shots were meaningful. Too often, the puck proved too slippery to keep around.
What can be said that wasn’t said already. Boston gave up 200 goals last season. They’re now on pace to give up 410 this season. Not that that’ll happen, but still.
Fights are why we watch hockey. Just eight seconds after Boston scored their first goal, Gregory Campbell of the Bruins took it to Phoenix’s Vernon Fiddler. They probably got dizzy (or 780.4, if you’d prefer) from all the spinning, before Campbell put Fiddler down on the ice and the refs pulled them apart.