The NHL definitely needs to make those nets bigger.  Both the Detroit Red Wings and the Boston Bruins struggled to find the back of the net with the 6-5 contest going in favor of the Red Wings.  The Bruins gave up their 8th two-goal lead of the season after going up 3-1 in the first period with their inconsistent Jekyll & Hyde play in the defensive zone.  

Pavel Datsyuk notched a hat trick, Brad Marchand continued his goal scoring streak, and Tuukka Rask got yanked to try to spark a poor team playing in front of him.  It was a wild day at the ancient and ready to be demolished Joe Louis Arena.

Here are BostonPucks.com 3 Thoughts from today’s shootout:

1) Poor Officiating On Full Display Today

When the off-season rolls around and the NHL goes through tape to find ways to improve the game this may be the only game they need to watch.  The failure of the review system and the atrocious officiating was on full display.

It is in my opinion that every goal should be reviewed in NHL just like the NFL reviews every touchdown.  It can be reviewed in the league offices in Toronto before the puck even drops at center ice for the next faceoff much like how the NFL does theirs quickly before the extra point.  If there’s an issue the league let’s the on-ice crew know.

The Red Wings would have had 3 goals overturned today by a simple league office review if every goal had to be double checked like the NFL.  There was an offsides missed because cameras aren’t properly placed in the rotting Joe Louis Arena.  The NFL has their goal line cameras, but the NHL can’t simply stick a GoPro on the blue line glass, or overhead, to help solve offside reviews.  The second Wings goal was a high stick but deemed a “pass” not a shot so it couldn’t be reviewed.  Doesn’t make a ton of sense if the league wants to get goals right.

Pavel Datsyuk’s second goal of the game came right after the puck went up out of play and hit the protective netting above the glass.  That would have been seen by the Toronto offices in ten seconds with a league mandated review of all goals.  But it can’t be reviewed.  And with four refs on the ice, not one of them saw it, and seconds later the puck is in the net.

I’m not picking on the Detroit Red Wings specifically or saying the refs are why the Bruins lost.  Even though it was still tied at 5 in the third period Detroit was the better team today.  I’m pointing at the flawed system.  

You can’t be crediting goals that shouldn’t count.  If the NHL can’t get basic goal scoring plays/reviews called right then what are we doing here?  I really think the game has become too fast for on ice officials.  I don’t remember officiating being as consistently bad as it has been this year.  They missed a Beleskey’s knee on knee hit he threw on Nyquist, they called a high stick on Rinaldo that never touched Datsyuk’s head when he threw it back to sell it.

The NHL doesn’t need to put the on ice officials in the uncomfortable spot of admitting they are wrong on goal scoring plays.  And they don’t need to be restricted by archaic rules when the technology exists to vastly improve the current way of doing thing.  I just can’t imagine the NFL blindly allowing 3 touchdowns in one game for any team that should easily be overturned simply because they don’t review all scoring plays automatically or have proper video equipment.

2) Pavel Datsyuk Continues To Be A Beast

There’s a reason there is a slick stick handling move referred to as “The Datsyuk”.   He is that crafty and still remains a beauty to watch.  Datsyuk’s first power play goal of the game (10th on the season) was his 900th NHL career point.  He’d pop a second period power play goal as well on a perfect high slot snipe after faking out Zdeno Chara.  A third period point shot caught a piece of Datsyuk’s shin pad and redirected awkwardly past Jonas Gustavsson to complete the hat trick.  That goal would hold up as the game winner. 

Certainly age and injury has factored into Datsyuk’s performance the last couple of seasons.  He went from playing nearly 75 games every season early in his career to logging 63 last year and just 45 the year before.  But even now at 37 years old he’s getting close to that point-per-game level he’s used to being at.  And today he was fantastic.

3) Bergeron Was Sorely Missed Today

How’s that fight with Blake Wheeler looking now?  The Bruins really could have used Patrice Bergeron today and it showed.  Yesterday against the struggling Minnesota Wild the Bruins could get by but against a stronger Red Wings team, where Pavel Datsyuk was taking over, Bergeron would have been out there lined up against the elite centerman and helping calm things down in the undisciplined defensive zone.

The Bruins Landon Ferraro was the lone forward inserted to get some fresh legs on the ice for what was the third game in four days for Boston and Bergeron, having had the past two days off, would have had the legs as well.  Instead Datsyuk (58%) and Brad Richards (54%) were the fresh centers and dominant in the faceoff circle up against Ryan Spooner (39%).   It’s somewhat comforting knowing Bergy is only listed as day-to-day and still traveling with the team but his return can’t come soon enough.

****Extras****

  • The Bruins power play continues to struggle going 0-for-2 today, where the Red Wings took advantage of their opportunities, going 2-for-5.
  • Brad Marchand’s goal just 8 seconds into the game was the fastest goal scored to start a game in Boston Bruins history.  That goes all the way back to 1924.  
  • In case you were wondering Joonas Kemppainen does still play for the Bruins and he actually had a short handed goal today.  He also led all Bruins forwards in ice time today with 18:26, which is a pretty scary thought considering he was an AHLer last week.  
  • Tuukka Rask was yanked today in favor of Jonas Gustavsson but it certainly wasn’t all Tuukka’s fault.  From the missed high stick call, to a goal going in off Zach Trotman’s skate, he just wasn’t getting any puck luck.  He appeared defeated and frustrated by the last goal by Helm that beat him.  It was a good call by Claude to make the change then.  Dennis Seidenberg would score seconds after the goalie switch.
  • Speaking of ol’ Dennis Seidenberg, the goal he scored today was his first goal in 101 games.  Yes, 101.  Here it is: