In a matter of hours, Section 311 will be downing beers at Sully's Tap. Had to show up at work extra early today to take off early and get to Causeway Street.
This is the greatest time of the year isn't it? Is there really anything better than playoff hockey? Anybody who doesn't enjoy this is soft and probably enjoys watching "The Real Housewives." The weekend's action across the league was just tremendously entertaining. You had the Capitals comeback against Montreal on Saturday night. You had the "cinderella" Phoenix Coyotes taking a 2-1 lead over the Wings and, on Friday, that series gave us one of the most entertaining periods of hockey I've ever seen including a stretch with 5 goals in 4 minutes. You had Craig Anderson stopping 51 shots to shutout the Sharks (laughed this morning when I woke up to see that result - if not for a Joe Pavelski goal with approx 30 seconds left in Game 2, it would be 3-0 Avs right now - Joe Thornton doing nothing again). You even had Daniel Carcillo scoring an OT game-winner.
So since Saturday afternoon, nothing but anticipation for tonight's game. Big and bad were actually back in Game 2 and let's hope they continue with a similar effort in front of us tonight. Vladdy Effin Sobotka! He gets my game puck for Game 2. Remember how much we liked this kid two years ago in the playoffs against Montreal? I can see why now - it appears the B's could have used him last year against Carolina too - 9 hits on Saturday and he scored a goal (only an assist on the scoresheet, but it was effectively his goal). Sobotka/Ryder/Wheels was arguably the Bruins best line. Can Michael Ryder keep this up? He's been great in the first two games - even landing a monster hit in Game 2.
There are people that like to hate on Chara out there. I bet they are silent now. What a great performance by the captain. It was nice to see the B's catch a couple lucky bounces on his two goals (Pominville's tip and Boychuk fanning from point getting Miller out of position).
Lucic blew it twice on Saturday (running around in own zone on Myers goal and horrible turnover on Pominville goal) and got demoted to 4th line duty for the 3rd period, but on a positive note, was landing hits and intimidating when he was out there a la '08-'09. Hopefully he will be better. It will be interesting to see what Claude does with the lines tonight.
Another guy who was sleepwalking through most of the regular season was Steve Begin, but he has been brilliant in his role thus far in this series. That's what Chia hired him for and so far he's delivered.
Unfortunately, I can't be 100% positive. Marco Sturm was invisible again on Saturday and he appears to be slower than normal. I'm beginning to think he has an undisclosed injury he's trying to battle through because he's just not right.
Thomas Vanek is doubtful for tonight and judging by the way he hobbled off the ice, one would think he is doubtful for the rest of the series. The Sabres will of course play the injury game and pretend he's about to come back, but it looked like his knee buckled when Boychuk's stick came down directly on it.
My biggest fear tonight is seeing the team we saw at home all season: tentative, tame, and tense. I'm feeling positive that they've put that behind them and will come out playing the way they did for the majority of the first two games.
If you are in attendance and anybody around you starts booing Dennis Wideman tonight, tell them to shut their ignorant mouths and get behind their team. "Wides" has been pretty solid for the better part of a month now. See you at the Garden...