The Bruins are in the most difficult stretch of games so far this season and they have not gotten off the a good start. They lost Tuesday night to Dallas and they lost again tonight to Washington 4-1. There was no doubt who was the better team tonight and it was Washington. Jimmy Hayes scored a power play goal in the first to take a 1-0 lead. Then the Bruins were out played and took some questionable penalties.
1. Are the Bruins coming back down to earth?
We all know the Bruins started the season with three straight loses at home. Then they went on the road and took their season off life support with two wins. During that stretch they went 6-0-1. They had a few nice wins over the Islanders, Panthers and Lightning. The last two games they have played two good teams in Washington and Dallas. Washington is one of the favorites in the East and Dallas is an up and coming team in the West. The Bruins are now 6-5-1. David Krejci’s has slowed down his offensive production. Although the power play keeps producing the first unit has slowed down the pace and are making bad turnovers. The Bruins have two more games on this road trip and they are back-to-back. They have Montreal on Saturday and the Islanders on Sunday. They could be back below .500 by the end of it.
2. The Bruins do not generate enough 5-on-5 opportunities.
The number one power play in the NHL has covered up some 5-on-5 deficiencies for the Bruins. It just does not seem like they are generating any quality scoring chances at even strength. The Bruins do not have any game breaker that is going to generate opportunities for themselves. Pastrnak is probably the closest they have to one, but he is currently out injured. It seems like their game plan 5-on-5 is to get the puck low and feed the points. In order for this to work they need to get traffic in front of the net. Tonight they very rarely had traffic in front. And if they did, pucks were flying high or wide. Holtby was never really challenged to have to make multiple saves in a row. Against Montreal they will need to get to the front of the net and create havoc. The Bruins might catch a break and not face Carey Price, who is out with a lower body injury.
3. The Bruins Competed
The bottom line in this game was the Bruins lost to a better team. But the silver lining to this game is the Bruins competed until the end. Last year’s team would have packed it in after the second and let it turn into a rout. Tuukka kept them in the game and the Bruins battled. If they can limit the dumb penalties to keep the NHL worst penalty kill off the ice and take care of the puck better they will be fine. This is what everyone was saying before the season. That the Bruins will compete and be a better team to watch. Tonight was exactly that.
- Ryan Spooner had another bad turnover on the power play. Tonight Andy Brickley called him out on it and said it has been happening too often. We said this in the Dallas game 3 thoughts. Maybe Brick is reading our blog!
- I like how Alex Khokhlachev has played the last two games. He is competing hard and shows some skill. I do not think he is a first line type of player at this point by any means but he will be able to bring something to the Bruins. I wonder when Pastrnak comes back if Claude would be willing to put Kemppainen with Beleskey and Hayes. Then put Koko, Spooner and someone else on a more skilled 4th line.