Thank god for DVR, but I am not sure I am glad I watched this game.  The Bruins were beating the Sabres 3-1 with under 10 minutes to go in the game and ended up losing 6-3.  This was not the start that was expected coming out of the holiday break.

Here are Bostonpucks.com’s 3 thoughts

1. Not a good night for the defense

Two of the 6 goals scored on the Bruins tonight were empty net goals, so it is not as bad as the score looks.  But there were defensive mistakes that resulted in almost every goal.  The Sabres first goal of the game was due to Zdeno Chara fanning on a puck that resulted in an odd man rush and Evander Kane put home a rebound.  The second goal Kevan Miller missed a wide open forward in the neutral zone with a pass that caused an icing call.  The Sabres gained control of the puck after the face off and scored to get within a goal with about 9 and a half minutes left in the game.  The 3rd goal came from a Jack Eichel centering pass that went off Kevan Miller’s skate and into the net.  The 4th goal Chara could not contain the Sabres’ player in the corner.  The puck went behind the net so, Chara replaced Kevan Miller at the front of the net and lost his guy who roofed a back hand over Gustavsson’s glove.

The good news are these mistakes can be corrected.  The bad news is they are coming from the veteran defensemen who should be leading this group.  It happens far too often that Chara mishandles a puck in the defensive zone.  I understand that Torey Krug left the game with an injury, so the defensemen were playing more minutes, but against a young Buffalo team they should not have the collapse that they had.  The Bruins play Ottawa tonight at 5pm.  They better have a better effort in their own zone if they want to win that game.

2. Torey Krug Injury could hurt if he is out long term

Torey Krug left the game in the first period with an injury and did not return.  Krug is averaging 21:51 of ice time per game.  He is a critical member on the the best power play in the league.  You replace him on the first power play unit with Chara and almost all of the creativity and puck movement will go away.  Hopefully this injury to Krug is minor and he is back in a few games.  I would have to assume he is not going to play tonight since he was not able to return.  Joe Morrow here is your chance.

3. Jack Eichel had a nice homecoming party

Jack Eichel had 4 points tonight in his first game in the NHL played in the TD Garden, but lets pump the breaks a little bit here.  One of his goals was off of Kevan Miller’s skate.  The other goal was on an empty net.  And one of his assists was on the other empty net goal.  But even with a bunch of phantom points he still had a really good night.  

He showed a high skill level and compete level in this game.  At one point during this game his line had the Bergeron line with Chara’s pairing on the ice pinned in the Bruins zone for an extended period of time.  Jack Eichel is absolutely going to be a star in the NHL, and tonight he did benefit on the score sheet by an empty nets and a lucky bounce.  But that’s what star players do.  I’ve got to think Eichel and his family must be feeling pretty good after his Boston homecoming.

****Extra****

  • David Pastrnak is going to go to the World Junior Championship Tournament and play for his native Czech Republic.  This is basically a rehab assignment that will be in some high paced/intense games.  The Bruins hope his confidence is high when he comes back and he will jump into the Bruins lineup.  He will be a teammate of Bruins 2015 1st round pick Jakub Zborl, who was thrown out of the first game for a boarding penalty.  Let’s just hope Pastrnak does not get hurt.