It’s the Bourque & Mueller Show In Game 1

Well this makes Texas’ gameplan for Game 2 pretty easy, right?

Stop Gabriel Bourque and Chris Mueller.

Those two combined for 9 points, as the Admirals shot down the Texas Stars 5-2 Thursday night in the first game of their playoff series.

Bourque’s five point night ties an Admirals playoff record.  Last person to have it?  Libor Pivko against Chicago in 2004.

Not bad for a 20 year old.

It was the Stars who were first to strike.  While Scott Ford sat in Johnson’s office for a cross check, the Stars made quick work of the odd man attack. 17 seconds later, Aaron Gagnon had the puck at the top of the near side circle, took a couple strides towards the net and fired a wrister that looked to have been deflected. The puck remained on target and past Jeremy Smith, who was being screened by Raymond Sawada.  The shot looked funny and had a weird trajectory,so I am assuming it was redirected. Perhaps some conspiracy theorist can look and come up with a grassy knoll type idea. Either way, the score counted, and the Ads were down halfway through the stanza.

The Admirals evened the match when Gabriel Bourque got the biscuit past Richard Bachman off of a great pass by Roman Josi. Andreas Thuresson got a loose puck on the near side boards and quickly sent it to the far side circle, where Josi gathered it. After a stride, he found Bourque crashing back side, and put the puck right on the tape, which Bourque converted into his first goal of the game.   It was a great play by all parties involved and woke up the crowd.

Just under three minutes later the Admirals extended their lead while on the Mountain Fury Power Play.  Bourque had the puck and was skating down the far side wall.  He dished the puck slightly forward to Mueller, who took the puck on the other side of the circle, skated around a defender, and put a back hand past Bachman short side for the Fury goal.  This was a goal off of great stick handling and also a great job by Bourque to find Mueller in space.

The Admirals kept the momentum going in the second period,  and scored a couple more goals.  The first came off Ryan Thang’s stick, and a great re-direct at that.  Mueller gathered the puck in the slot and unleashed an awkward shot that looked to be sailing high. Thang was being boxed out by a Stars D-man but was able to track it and make contact with the puck on his stick below the crossbar. The puck then went straight down and spun like a top over the line, right before another Stars D-man could bring it to safety. This play looked weird right from the start, but a great job by Thang to get some wood on it for the score.

The Stars had a golden opportunity to get back in the game, with the help of some 5-on-3 power play time.  Instead, it was the penalty kill unit and specifically Jeremy Smith who kept the momentum with the Admirals.  The 5-on-3 was courtesy of a Roman Josi Yonking penalty, and when Ford got called for “carrying two many sticks”.  It put the Admirals down two men for 1:05 and the the penalty kill unit was great. They found a way to keep the puck out of their net with the help of some great acrobatic saves by Smith. I tell you what, if there was a back breaker for the Stars in this game, that was it.

Coach Lambert says Smith was mirac…..great tonight.

What’s that? You want a little more of the Mueller and Bourque show? Well funny you should mention that.  Bam!!! Bourque goal!!!!! With a turnover in the Admirals o-zone Mueller was able to gather the rock and carry it to the near side corner where he spotted Bourque coming to the net near side. Mueller put a pinpoint pass on Bourque’s tape, and Gabriel took it top shelf to give the Admirals a three goal lead.

Mueller talks about the chemistry between himself and Bourque.

The third period started with a Texas goalie change, and a little bit later, a Stars goal. Mathieu Tousignant gathered the puck just atop the near circle and fired a shot that hit Grant Lewis, who was covering a crashing Stars player. Smith was unable to compensate for the redirection, and it beat him far side to half the deficit at 4-2. The goal was a great example of ‘get the shots on net and good things happen’. Nothing special, it was just the right place, right time, and a right decision by Tousignant.

With the crowd chanting encore like a Lynyrd Skynyrd concert that had yet to play Freebird, the Mueller and Bourque show continued to fly high, giving Bourque his fifth point and Mueller his second goal of the night. Bourque created the turnover,  and then shoved a pass to Mueller, who was near side down low. Mueller just casually skated in putting on a stick handling clinic, and eventually just putting the puck 5-hole on a frozen Tyler Beskorowany.

Mueller says it was just one of those nights.

NOTES AND QUESTIONS:

Lines started:

Bourque – Mueller – Thang
Thuresson – Van Guilder – Conacher
Santorelli – Begin – Beck
Flynn – Bartlett – Ryan

Lane shuffled them a bit in the 3rd period, but after talking to Coach, we shouldn’t read too much into it

The Admirals scored five goals tonight.  They scored seven goals in the season series this year.

Surprised Beck got the call instead of Latta?

Describe the upgrade of Aaron Johnson over Jeff Foss.  How nice was it to have him back?

Ever seen that illegal stick call before?

When was the last time the Admirals had a #1 line like this?

What kind of game to you expect on Saturday night?

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16 Responses to It’s the Bourque & Mueller Show In Game 1

  1. poproc says:

    The illegal stick call was the worst call of the year.
    Ford picked up the stick after the puck hit it and a couple of players almost tripped over it. He did the right thing, yet the dumb zebras were too stupid to make the right call.

    Horrible call. Yet it was a great game.

  2. MiB says:

    Heck of a night for the Admirals. Hopefully some of the Bourque-Mueller-Thang line rubs off on the others in practice, what an astounding night.

    Getting AJ6 (trademarked by me, here, now) was great for this time. I also thought the return of Begin was huge. There were a couple shifts that the Begin line played in the 2nd that were just AMAZING, keeping the puck in the offensive zone and creating a few great chances.

    Props to the crowd for the standing ovation after the 5 on 3 PK. After that, I knew the game was in hand.

    Great night all around.

  3. Mark says:

    That Thang-Mueller-Bourque line really seemed to continue their woes tonight…didn’t they???

    On a more serious note, the Playing with too many sticks call… It’s a dumb rule, but a rule nonetheless (kind of like jaywalking). So I can’t really see why people were in such a huff over it. Ford should have given Andreas his stick back before picking up his own, I guess you could argue that he really wasn’t playing the puck, but it was in the vicinity, so I can understand why it was called.

    My question is, a few moments later Laakso lost his stick and Josi gave him his. Doesn’t it kind of defeat the purpose for one defensemen to give his stick to the other?

  4. Section 200 says:

    Great game. Hopefully they can keep that up.
    I think they could do even better though. ( other 3 lines)

    The Ford call was dumb. So if the goalie drops his stick and the dman picks it up for him thats a penalty too? Ford just picked it up for Thuresson.

    I was surprised to see Beck and Ryan chosen over Latta.

    Just curious, is Klasen planning on coming back at all?

    Ryan Ellis? The hockey news magazine had him
    as an “unknown factor” in the predators playoff run preview.

  5. Section 200 says:

    Also, theahl.com featured rookie zac dalpe with a 3 point night over hershey opposed to Bourque’s 5 point night. Their recap, “Milwaukee took the lead of the West division semi final with a 5 to 2 win over visiting ROCKFORD”

  6. Mark says:

    Section 200,

    They have since updated the website. Now it shows Bourque as the first star.

  7. Ryan says:

    Tough to handicap Klasen’s ETA. Always have to be careful with head injuries.

    I like the jaywalking comparison — I think that’s spot on. I think the player is supposed to slide their stick to someone rather than hand it to them. I think Josi handed it back to Laakso because Josi had just come out of the box, and may have technically been a forward at that point.

    Ryan Ellis as a factor in the Predators playoff run? They’ve got enough guys up there as it is! Maybe we’ll see him…. Windsor and Saginaw are tied 2-2 in their series. Could wrap up as early as Sunday or as late as Monday.

    Good win. Welcome to the playoffs.

  8. CreedFeed says:

    Ryan is correct. Josi just came out of the box and we already had two defenders on the ice so he could give his stick up to the actual defenders on that line.

    Great game all around. One thing we did have problems with early on was faceoffs, and that was one reason why having Begin back in the lineup was nice. Also watching Begin, you can see his experience out there. It seemed like he was easily reading the Texas defenders when forechecking. He was moving to places on the ice before the puck was passed/dumped there.

    In the second period we have several shifts that were a couple of minutes in the Texas zone. The Stars line on the ice were so tired, they were collapsing on the net and just standing around while we moved the puck around. That’s what we need to do in order to stay successful against this team. We can grind it with the best in this league!!

  9. Ouch says:

    A very well played game, ending up as it should have. The difference between how this game, and how many of the previous games were played, was tangible. The Bourque-Mueller-Thang line was oiled up and ready to run, for sure. I have to assume that Mueller is the driving force behind getting the line he’s on to click, as the same was true when Halischuk was in town.

    Dare I mention it- there was a very noticable lack of the play to end all plays- the dreaded dump and chase. I see now that the tactic was played to its fullest benefit all season long. Let every opponent see that all you can do is corner the puck, then when it matters most, completely change the tactics and actually keep control. There it was, right in front of me, and I didn’t see it. Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.

    Interesting to think that we drew 4 penalties to Texas’ 1.

  10. Ouch says:

    Dang, graphics pad glitch- response published in error.

    I was saying- interesting to see that the number of penalties called was 4/1. Especially when the actual infractions were a higher number (for both teams). Two refs on the ice, and neither one could see, even when the infractions happened right in front ot them.

    If the boys can come out to meet Texas with the same intensity each and every game, and have the attitude, when they hit the ice, that they came to dictate how the game will be played, rather than having to react to how the game is playing out, they will kick butt. It has to be the biggest part of the mental aspect of their game, and it has to be instilled into each player.

  11. original signed says:

    All right! Heck of a game.

    And a very nice write up by Sutty – I mean both that it’s a good, descriptive recap and that I think you’re being pretty kind in giving so much credit to Thang and Meuller on their goals. I think Meuller had it about right in his sound bite – well played by the Ad’s but also some good bounces (and less than stellar goaltending for the Stars).
    So, very happy but expecting much more of a challenge tomorrow night.

  12. Jason Karnosky says:

    Update as far as Linus Klasen. Sounds a lot like the Crosby prognosis. Klasen has no real set timetable with his head injury. My best guage on the situation would be an unlikely return until at least the Western Conference finals or Calder Cup finals, but if something drastically (and I mean drastically) changes perhaps sometime sooner. At this point coach Lane Lambert will be game planning to be without him until someone tells him differently.

  13. Jason Karnosky says:

    Simply put, Texas is unlikely to allow this type of game happen again, but for one night we certainly get to enjoy it–what a way to start out a Calder Cup run!

    Mueller and Bourque are becoming the AHL’s version of the Sedin twins, and there is almost something almost other worldly about their chemistry. Credit to the Predators organization for finding and developing that type of player. They are fast, tanacious and relentless forwards that make live difficult on opposing defenses every shift they are on the ice. Simply put they were awesome last night, and the whole team seems to follow their example.

    Though most of you have probably read it already, Dave Boehler of the JS had a great preview story on the impact that Steve Begin and Aaron Johnson would have on the Admirals during the playoffs:

    http://www.jsonline.com/sports/hockey/119739849.html

    That story could not have been more spot on last night.

  14. Craig Darby's Pants says:

    Very surprised that they went with Beck over Latta. Latta seemed more athletic and more defensively responsible in the time I saw him. Whatever works, though.

  15. frontrowjon says:

    Its great to have begin and johnson back there seemd to be quite a bit of awareness from all 4 lines after the first goal was scored by texas. Glad to see them play a solid game and hope it happens agian saturday. The pk played great, the “roundy’s salty snacks moment of the game” was killing off the 5 on 3 thanks hugely in part to Mr. Smith! Great game! 14 more wins to go!! Go Ads!!!!!!!!!!

  16. BugsAllOverMe says:

    Great game! Very nicely played and ending with a great win!

    I’m expecting a tighter game tonight. PP/Penalties and passing / turnovers are going to be big keys. I think Texas will ratchet up the defense and play a more physical game with more pressures. The Ads have to counter and keep moving the puck around, not turn it over and make clean passes. No dumb penalties, but don’t get muscled around. We did a great job of killing a 5-3 in game 1, but I thought Texas had some quality chances in regular play that could have bounced either way – game 2 will be too tight to allow that, so we can’t back off defensively and can’t have those few breakdowns.

    It’s going to be nice heading to Texas with a 2-0 lead. Only wish I could follow, I’d be all for some weather about 45 degrees! :)

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