Amidst the Black-and-Gold blizzard that is the Boston Bruins handling of the Vancouver Canucks these last 100 minutes of play in the Stanley Cup Finals, at least four snowflakes beam in favor of General Manager Peter Chiarelli as a decision-maker at the NHL trading deadline.
Some are pitching-in on the balanced barrage (the three forwards claimed within the last three deadlines have each had multiple points in an aggregate 12-1 romp the last two games). Others, namely starting defenseman Dennis Seidenberg, are flexing both sinew and stamina to repel the Vancouver offense.
Two forwards have scored the last two winning goals (Mark Recchi in Game 3, Rich Peverley in Game 4). Another forward, pivot Chris Kelly, is standing out with his success rate on face-offs. And all three of them have scored insurance third-period goals, helping express Boston’s lack of interest in letting up at any time.
Naturally, there is one potential exception here. Tomas Kaberle continues to achieve below expectations, as he has on a constant basis since his Feb. 18 arrival.
Although, in fairness, the besieged blueliner has yet to be on the ice for a Vancouver goal, scored an assist in Game 3 and had a plus-one rating Wednesday night. He is, at the very least, not doing regrettable damage.
But beyond Kaberle, with the concomitant acquisitions of Kelly and Peverley, Chiarelli is looking like an undeniable 2-for-3 in terms of this year’s last-minute shopping spree.
Recchi’s productivity may be fading of late, which is perfectly attributable to his age, but he did re-emerge for two goals in Monday’s 8-1 romp, including a slick power-play strike from the outer hash marks that proved to be the game-clincher.
In each of the last two games, Seidenberg has actually outplayed partner Zdeno Chara. He led all Boston skaters on Monday with 24 minutes and 34 seconds worth of ice time. This despite spending another 10 game-clock minutes serving a five-minute fighting major and misconduct penalty.
Seidenberg followed that up with a team-best 25:48 on the ice in Wednesday’s affair. During that time, he was one of five Boston skaters to post a plus-two rating, blocked two shots and tied Milan Lucic and Shawn Thornton for the team lead with four hits.
Vancouver has bested the Bruins (even Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci) in at least one area lately, taking 39 out of 71 draws in Game 3.
But none other than Peverley (3-2) and Kelly (10-7) were the only two Bruins with a winning record at the face-off dot Wednesday night. Kelly also took seven out of 12 for a team-best 58 percent success-rate in Game 3, wherein the Canucks trumped the Bruins, 38-27, under that heading.
Kelly also logged two takeaways, two blocked shots and threw in the second of three brownie biscuits at the end of Monday’s 8-1 romp, which indubitably left opposing goalie Roberto Luongo with residual self-doubt.
Peverley did little to alleviate Luongo in Wednesday’s 4-0 triumph, scoring twice on as many shots on goal to open and close the scoring. He did that on a night when he was asked to fill concussed clutch performer Nathan Horton’s skates, opposite Krejci and Lucic.
And he was not exactly shabby the previous game. On Monday, he nailed an assist, a takeaway, a plus-one rating and was stationed on Luongo’s porch when Recchi scored his aforementioned clincher (with inadvertent help from Vancouver’s Ryan Kesler).
Not many residents of the Spoked-Bs sphere of influence envisioned this much impact from any of the said players at the time of their arrival. They were too aged, unknown, or too far removed from their last postseason experience.
Odds are, right now, those rooters are quite grateful Chiarelli thought differently.