The Boston Bruins traveled to Canada for a back-to-back against division rivals this week playing some of their best hockey of the season. Unfortunately for the B’s, they will return home with more questions than answers after losing 6-1 to the Toronto Maple Leafs and 5-1 to the Montreal Canadiens.
The most glaring issue from this road trip was Boston’s poor play in second periods.
The B’s played a pretty good first period in both games. They trailed 1-0 to Toronto, but also had an edge in shots attempted. It all fell apart in the second 20 minutes when the Leafs scored four goals en route to a 5-1 second-intermission lead.
Thursday night’s game at the Bell Centre was more of the same. The Bruins managed to take a 1-0 lead into the first intermission, but multiple defensive breakdowns allowed the Canadiens to take control with three second-period goals.
Boston has allowed 22 second-period goals this season, which is tied with the Calgary Flames for the second-most in the NHL. The Bruins’ minus-4 goal differential is their worst of any period this season (plus-4 in the first, minus-1 in the third).
— Special teams were another issue for Boston on this road trip. The Bruins went 1-for-6 on the power play and 5-for-9 on the penalty kill. The Leafs scored three power-play goals Wednesday night.
— Claude Julien’s decision to start backup goalie Niklas Svedberg in Montreal was interesting. Tuukka Rask was pulled from Wednesday’s game after giving up four goals in a little over 23 minutes against the Leafs, and he also has struggled against the Canadiens throughout his career (11 losses).
With that said, the Bruins need Rask to overcome his struggles versus the Habs as soon as possible. He’s the team’s franchise goaltender long-term, and the new playoff format could force the B’s to go through the Habs often if they want to return to the Stanley Cup Final.
— Matt Fraser fought Nathan Beaulieu in the second period Thursday night and immediately went down the tunnel. The Bruins forward did return to the Bruins bench, but he finished with just 7:54 of ice time.
— Dale Weise earned a penalty shot in the second period and scored to tie the game 1-1. [tweet https://twitter.com/SportsnetTicker/status/533072503607156736 align=”center”]
— The Bruins’ top pairing of Dougie Hamilton and Dennis Seidenberg struggled against Montreal. They were on the ice for three goals against a made a few mistakes that led to Canadiens goals. Hamilton was a minus-3 Corsi and Seidenberg was a minus-2 Corsi at even strength.
Hamilton did open the scoring in the first period with his fourth goal of the season.
— The Bruins didn’t get any goals from forwards on this road trip. Seidenberg (Wednesday) and Hamilton (Thursday) scored the goals.
— Center prospect Alexander Khokhlachev was recalled from the AHL’s Providence Bruins on an emergency basis Thursday morning, but he didn’t play against the Canadiens.
— Thursday’s loss dropped the Bruins to 1-6-2 in their last nine games against the Canadiens. They are 0-2 in Montreal this season. The remaining two games in the season series will be played at TD Garden. The next matchup is Saturday, Nov. 22.
— Veteran defenseman Sergei Gonchar became the first 40-year-old (non-goalie) to play a game for the Habs. He was acquired by Montreal via a trade with the Dallas Stars on Tuesday.
— The Bruins are 0-3 in the second game of back-to-backs this season. [tweet https://twitter.com/SportsnetTicker/status/533095395233366016 align=”center”]
Thumbnail photo via Eric Bolte/USA TODAY Sports Images
Powered by WordPress.com VIP