So, after practice I cornered Wayne Primeau and asked him about the Buffalo game.
Talking to Primeau was important to me because he, of all the guys, has been the player most often able to see the light at the end of the recent series of dark tunnels.
And when there were times I started to lose hope about the Bruins, I would talk to him and generally he has a pretty frank way of saying that the team is better than their numbers. So I asked him to tell me the positives that he took from Thursday’s contest.
Wayne sat in his locker stall, wiped the sweat of practice off his face, and thought for a bit.
“Well, we played hard for 50 minutes,” said Primeau, sincerely. “Savvy got his second goal which was good, and he also had a couple of helpers. It’s good that we got some of those offensive guys contributing like that.”
Primeau is spot on in that assessment as the shot chart is full of Bruins chances. Glen Murray scored his fifth goal of the season. P.J. Axelsson scored his third -- and so on and so on. There’s no doubt that the B’s offense ends up on the positive side of the docket.
The offense aside, however, I asked what else, if anything, could the team take from the loss?
Primeau knew that I wanted him to explain the third period and how the team can bounce back after losing another heart breaker.
“It’s a hard game to learn from,” he admitted. “But we have to just put that one behind us and take the positives that did come out of it and carry it over into tomorrow and our game against Tampa.”
What positives, I asked?
“I think if we play the way we did in the first 50 minutes we’ll be fine,” said Primeau succinctly, knowing he had stated the obvious. But in a serious tone he continued to stand his ground.
“I really think we didn’t give them much opportunity [to control the game],” Primeau said. “In the first period we out shot them 16 to 5. The second period we had some great opportunities. Our power play was clicking and our penalty killing was able to get our job done, finally!”
What about the end of the game, though?
There’s no doubt that Primeau and the rest of the club would love to have the last period back, but it is not coming back and B’s know they squandered an opportunity.
“Guys know [what happened],” he explained. “Obviously, you can’t be happy with how the game finished.
“And I think that if there is anybody in this dressing room that doesn’t understand the importance of the next game and that we have to get off [to the kind of start we did against Buffalo] then they must be crazy.
“We just have to be prepared right from the drop of the puck,” said Primeau. “We have to stick with the systems the coaches are instilling in us and instead of playing 50 to 55 minutes, play 60.
“And if we do that, we can be a good team and a hard team to play against.”
It was a good pep talk from a hard working, classy player and I certainly felt better as I walked away from Primeau’s locker.
But it was a down locker room today. So let’s hope Wayne lights that same fire under his teammates against Tampa on Saturday.
By the way… Hannu Toivonen will start tomorrow. In 6 games Toivo has a 3.71 GAA a .884 save percentage and a 2-3-0 record.
Although it seems as if he is raring to go, Brad Stuart remains out indefinitely and he will not dress versus the Lightning.
Mark Stuart is still penciled in as heading to Providence for some game play in the near future, but the timing of that has not been determined.
See you after morning skate tomorrow. Have a great Friday night.