Boston Bruins final flurry not enough to top Blue Jackets

COLUMBUS, OH - OCTOBER 30: Kevan Miller
COLUMBUS, OH - OCTOBER 30: Kevan Miller /
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The Boston Bruins went on a mini road-trip to Columbus to take on the Blue Jackets last night.  The result was once again not what fans wanted, but the game certainly wasn’t boring.

I don’t know what it is about the Boston Bruins this season.  For some reason, the concept of playing 60 minute games escapes them.  I hoped that sort of mentality that plagued the team during the Claude Julien era would go out the window when Bruce Cassidy took over as head coach.

Look at the season opener against Nashville.  Defensive lapses late almost cost them the game.  Then take the Buffalo game.  Up by three goals, the team just turtled with the lead, and ended up losing in overtime.  And that brings us to last night.

Unlike the first games mentioned, last night involved the Bruins deciding not to play in the first period.  The Blue Jackets might as well have brought in black and gold pylons and cones to play against.  In fact, the score might not have been so rough had they done so.

The 1st period

The puck dropped on the game at around 7:00 pm, but the Bruins had no interest in playing hockey right then.  Throughout most of the first period, the Bs were penned in their own zone playing defense.  Not exactly the type of hockey this Bruce Cassidy team is built for.

The Blue Jackets opened up the scoring just shy of two minutes into the game.  Defenseman David Savard fired home a slapper from the point that was deflected in front of Tuukka Rask.  After dominating the rest of the period, Boone Jenner out-muscled Paul Postma next to the left post on a wide slapshot, and scored his first goal of the season.  The period mercifully ended for the Bruins with them down 2-0.

The 2nd period

A different Bruins team came onto the bench for the 2nd period.  The team finally looked engaged in the game and appeared to have an interest in the result.  The play got more physical overall as well.  Zdeno Chara decided to do what captains do, and tried to spark his team with a nice heavyweight bout against Josh Anderson.

Unfortunately, the spark initially went the other way.  Columbus extended the lead to 3-0 after Markus Nutivaara absolutely threaded the needle through Chara’s legs to a breaking Tyler Motte.  Motte then buried the goal on Rask.  Normally, I don’t like to show other teams goals in my reviews, but this one is worth it.

From that goal on, it became the Bruins game.  After Torey Krug clanged one off the iron, Patrice Bergeron found himself with the puck and scored the first Bruins goal on the power play in his usual bumper position.  While no more goals were scored in the 2nd period, the momentum was clearly on the Bruins side headed to the 3rd period, down 3-1.

The 3rd period

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The thing about Lady Momentum is that she can be fickle.  Sometimes she can be a great ally; sometimes, she can cause reckless play that leads to mistakes.  Last night, she was the former.  The Bruins came out in the 3rd period Meat Loaf style…like a bat out off hell.

The Bruins went on the power play when Matt Calvert was called for a 4 minute high stick.  This was quickly negated by a Brad Marchand tripping call.  In the 4-on-4, Tuukka Rask absolutely robbed Artemi Panarin on a breakaway.  Jack Edwards prophetically said that if the Bruins came back and earned a point or a win in the game, to remember that save.

About 10 minutes into the period and on the 4-on-4, the heavily criticized Torey Krug fired home a one-timer past a sprawling Sergei Bobrovsky.  This goal was illustrative of how much offensive skill Kevan Miller has when he chooses to tap into it.  He drove the puck all the way down the right wing boards and below the red line.  His vision to be able to see the cutting Krug and his hands to get him that puck were impressive.  The Bruins need more of that this season.

Boston Bruins
COLUMBUS, OH – OCTOBER 30: Brad Marchand /

During the subsequent power play after the 4-on-4, the Bruins led a solid up-ice rush into the offensive zone.  Bergeron feathered a cross ice pass to a waiting Brad Marchand, who teed up a trademark back-foot wrist shot that found its way past Bobrovsky.  Against all odds, the Bruins had scored three unanswered goals.

Then came a fairly odd sequence.  Oliver Bjorkstrand took an absolute run at Torey Krug, drilling him into the corner boards.  Miller, defending his already injured teammate, took exception and decided to pummel the Danish forward.  Bjorkstrand received a 5 minute boarding major, and Miller took a 2 minute instigator, a 5 minute fighting major, and a 10 minute game misconduct.  Ultimately, neither team scored the rest of the way, and regulation ended with the teams tied 3-3.

Extra hockey

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again:  3-on-3 hockey is so fun to watch.  Both teams had some back and forth rushes, but there weren’t any significant scoring chances.  After 5 minutes, neither team could score, and a shootout was necessary to declare a winner.

In the shootout, only two Bruins ended up shooting.  Neither Kenny Agostino nor Brad Marchand could score on Bobrovsky.  Panarin and Bjorkstrand both scored on Rask, ending the game with a shootout loss for the Bruins.

Takeaways

  • If the Bruins had played the 1st period like they did the 2nd and 3rd, this game would have had a much different result.  The team that normally has been inconsistent game-to-game is now being inconsistent period-to-period.
  • Bruce Cassidy’s line switching is incredible hard to watch sometimes as a fan.  When one line has some momentum and chemistry going in a game, all of a sudden it gets broken up to try to help a different struggling line.  I applaud the effort, but perhaps this is what is leading to the inconsistent play.
  • Hopefully Paul Postma is okay.  He got absolutely leveled into the end boards on a textbook bad hit (which didn’t get call of course).  Watching it in slow-mo showed his face bounce off the boards.  After being down for awhile, he skated off on his own power.  The Bruins cannot afford to lose anyone else.
  • To all of the “Trade Tuukka” people:  can you honestly tell me that the Bruins win this game with some other goalie in net?  He stole the team that point, and his timely save on Panarin very well may have sparked the team to finish the comeback.
  • The team may not be able to string together wins, but they have earned a point in 5 straight games.  With a young team, getting points early is key.