The Bruins woke up Sunday morning on the outside looking into the playoffs. Then they did their typical no show for a national televised game. With a little over 5 minutes left in the 2nd period the Bruins were down 6-0. Tuukka had been pulled and it looked like the Bruins were just going to lay down. Then desperation set in and the Bruins scored 4 unanswered goals. The Bruins out shot the Blackhawks 17 to 3 in the third period. David Pastrnak scored with 16 seconds left in the 2nd period and then Patrice Bergeron scored 11 seconds later to cut the score to 6-2. In the 3rd period Bergeron scored again and Brad Marchand scored to get the Bruins within 2 goals with just over 10 minutes left. The Bruins just could not get another one by Chicago goalie Scott Darling. Bottom line, if the Bruins play the way they played in the last half of this game they will win their last 3 games, but that is a big if.
Here are BostonPucks.com’s 3 thoughts on the game:
1) 2 0n 1’s are difficult for the Bruins
It was great to watch how Chicago was able to convert on the 2 on 1’s that they got. They made it look easy. When was the last time the Bruins converted on a 2 on 1……? I cannot recall a goal in a while where they scored on a 2 on 1. It seems like every time the Bruins have a 2 on 1 the player with the puck just shoots. They never make a pass, or if they do the pass never gets through. The Blackhawks scored twice on 2-1’s (Toews, and Kane’s 3rd goal). Not to mention the 3-2 goal when Panarin scored.
To me it just shows the skill level difference between the Bruins and the Blackhawks. The Bruins have to grind for goals. Nothing comes easy for them. In the NHL now a days you need pure skill to win and the Bruins do not have enough of it.
2) Where have you gone Lee Stempniak?
Boston, where offensive players go to die. Before Lee Stempniak was traded to the Bruins he was the New Jersey Devils’ leading scorer with 41 points (16goals and 25 assists). He has now played 16 games for the Bruins and has scored 9 points (2 goals 7 assists). On the surface 9 points in 16 games is pretty good for Stempniak. It would be about 45 points over an 82 game season. The problem here is 6 of the 9 points Stempniak has scored came in the first 4 games of his Bruins career. So, Stempniak has scored 3 points in the last 13 games.
By no means is Stempnaik a “NHL Star” but he has put in decent numbers over his career. He is usually in the 30 – 50 points per season. I understand he is now playing on the 3rd line, but he missed a wide open net today. You cannot expect Stempniak to continue the pace he started with the Bruins, but I think it is valid to expect a little more than what you are getting from him right now. It all comes down secondary scoring and the Bruins are not getting much of it lately, combined with not being able to keep the puck out of their own net.
3) Bruins need to win their last 3 games
Back on March 24th in 3 Thoughts: Bruins Lose To Panthers; Hosed by NHL I wrote that the Bruins would have to win 5 of their last 7 games to make the playoffs. It is looking like that is going to hold true. The Bruins have played 4 of the 7 games so far and they have won 2 games (Toronto and St. Louis). So with 3 games left they find themselves on the outside looking into the playoffs, but they play the Red Wings who are only 1 point ahead of them.
If the Bruins win the last 3 games of the season they will have 96 points. That would mean the Red Wings could only have a max of 95 points, so the Bruins would get in. In order for that to happen the Bruins need to play with the desperation they showed in the second half of today’s game. If not, at least they will have a 1% chance at Auston Matthews.