BOSTON — The Bruins relinquished a two-goal, third-period lead to the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday in one of Boston’s most frustrating losses of the season.
There were only a few bright spots for the B’s in their 4-3 defeat, and one of them was the play of 21-year-old forward Seth Griffith.
Griffith scored Boston’s first goal at 18:23 of the opening period, and then added a highlight-reel goal in the second period by driving hard to the net and capitalizing on a fantastic setup by Gregory Campbell.
“Well, that’s probably the brightest thing of the night for us, was the fact that Seth really played a strong game,” Bruins head coach Claude Julien said. “That line last year scored a lot of goals from guys driving the net and he did a great job of driving the net every time. He got rewarded for it and he also made a nice play there on (Milan Lucic’s) goal. If there’s somebody that should be walking out of here with his head up high, it’s him.”
Griffith picked up an assist on Lucic’s power-play goal in the second period for his first three-point performance as an NHL player. It’s also his first multi-goal game with Boston.
“Yeah, it’s kind of hard to be happy, but two goals — obviously the win’s more important,” Griffith said. “It’s too bad we didn’t have a very good third (period).”
Good things normally happen when wingers crash the net, especially when a playmaker of David Krejci’s caliber is on your line. Griffith was a good example of that against the Wild, as he scored two of his goals with hard net drives.
The former London Knights star isn’t afraid to go to the dirty areas around the crease and below the goal line to win puck possession and score goals. That’s a valuable asset for a player on a gritty, defense-first team such as the B’s.
The Bruins’ first line has played well over the last four games, which has helped the team score enough goals to be competitive despite the second line struggling to do anything offensively. Lucic has six points (two goals, four assists), Krejci has five points (two goals, three assists) and Griffith has five points (three goals, two assists) in that stretch.
Boston will need Griffith and his linemates to maintain a similar level of offensive production for as long as the team continues to make costly defensive mistakes that lead to goals against. Scoring three goals was enough to win a lot of games for the Bruins last season, but the same cannot be said this campaign, especially with No. 1 defenseman Zdeno Chara out for four to six weeks with a knee injury.
— Too many defensive breakdowns by the B’s led to goals Tuesday night.
“Real concerning. Like you said, it’s been going on the whole season so far — the past 10, 11 games,” Bruins defenseman Dennis Seidenberg said. “It’s something we have to work on and were trying to work on. We have to get it fixed.”
— Bruins D-man Dougie Hamilton played a career-high 28:32 on the top pairing alongside Seidenberg.
“I felt good, so I was happy I was playing a lot,” Hamilton said. “I think, like I’ve said before, I play better when I play more and you’re into the game more and you’re not sitting on the bench waiting for your shift. I felt good and enjoyed it. It’s just unfortunate that we had the third period that we had.”
Here’s the complete time on ice report for the blue line:
Dougie Hamilton: 28:32
Torey Krug: 24:07
Dennis Seidenberg: 24:00
Adam McQuaid: 19:51
Zach Trotman: 11:16
Matt Bartkowski: 8:56
— The Bruins gave up a season-high 42 shots to the Wild. Minnesota actually had an 11-0 shot advantage to begin the third period.
“Yeah, way too much,” Lucic said. “You look at probably nine of the 11 games we played, we kept the teams under 30 shots in those games. That’s what you try to do as a team, especially as a team like us. We’re a checking team that can score. It’s not a good thing when you’re giving up that many shots, so like I said, we just gotta communicate better, execute better in the D zone so we can get going the other way.”
— The Bruins are 1-4-0 following a win this season.
— Brad Marchand was penalized for holding in the third period. He leads all NHL forwards in minor penalties with nine.
Photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images