Sunday, October 19, 2008

Home Opener Preview

Finally, our boys will skate on home ice in front of what is sure to be a raucous crowd at the TD Banknorth Garden. Story lines galore in this one. Start with the biggest...the return of Patrice Bergeron. This will be the first chance adoring fans will get to show Patrice how much they missed him, and how happy they are that he is feeling well again. Add in the fact that it's their first home game since the incredible Game 6 (by far, hands down, no sporting event I've ever attended), and the "buzz" will be tangible. Of course, having two of the brightest stars in the game today, Crosby & Malkin, in the house doesn't hurt either. As if that wasn't enough, the boo-birds/hecklers will have a chance to mock Hal Gill. Does it get any better? Well, hopefully, does get better. And what could be better than all that goodness? A WIN against last years Eastern Conference Cup representative.

So, how does Boston beat the Penguins? Simple. As in, keep it simple. Play as a team, like they have been so far. Stick to the defensive system and not give Crosby, Malkin and company time and space through center ice. The Pens are scuffling a bit, as they get settled in with their new lineup, after all the off season UFA defections (Malone, Hossa, Roberts et al). Boston may not have the "name" players that casual fans recognize, but they do have enough speed and skill to skate with anyone. I see the B's winning in what should be a great game.

When you think Penguins, you probably don't think "rough stuff".....especially with Georges Laraque now in Montreal. But, the flightless birds went out and signed heavy weight Eric Goddard to fill BGL's shoes. And he's doing it very well. He's got two bouts under his belt, including a brutal slug-fest with Riley Cote of the Flyers. Goddard is big , strong and throws a ton of punches. He also LOVES to load up for the knock-out hay maker. If he and Thornton drop the gloves, it will be beyond entertaining....and the Garden will be, as Jack Edwards would say, "VIBRATING"! Beyond Goddard, the new kid on the block, Paul Bissonette, has been willing to take on all comers. The 6'3", 210 pounder has acquitted himself very well in the fight game this year (including a TKO of Matt Bradley). He's even earned the moniker "BizNasty" in the Steel City. Could be a good match up for Lucic, if Milan gets caught up in the hoopla and decides he needs a fight to balance out that goal the other night. Even no-skill-Gill has a fight this year. In typical Gill style, he looked lost during it, and lost to a much smaller David Clarkson (the same David Clarkson that Looch TUNED UP last year). And lets not forget, Sidney Crosby's first and only NHL bout came at the Garden last year, when he threw down with Andrew Ference. Sid the kid acquitted himself pretty well in that one.....not that we'll be seeing a rematch of course. But hey, if Ference could get number 87 off the ice for five minutes, that would be a huge plus.

I'm going back to my 5-3 Boston call I had for the Ottawa game. B's can score on these guys (I can not wait to watch Gill trying to keep up with the Boston forwards.), and Tim-may will keep them in check. Bergeron scores to highlight the comeback, and Ryder endears himself to the home crowd with a goal as well.Sturm pops one in, as does Kessel. Chara blast one in to represent the blue liners on the score sheet.

Thornton and Goddard have an epic battle. It's almost pre-ordained that those two will have a go. I just can't see it NOT happening. I think Looch goes with "BizNasty", and biz busts his face.

Regardless of how accurate (or more likely, inaccurate) any of the above is, the one sure thing is, the Boys Are Back In Town! And it's goona be a blast.
Go B's-Kynch

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