The Bruins’ quick two-game Florida road trip couldn’t have gotten off to a worse start.
Boston got dusted by the Florida Panthers 5-0 on Tuesday, and at no point did it look like it would put itself in a position to win. Goaltender Jaroslav Halak kept the Bruins in the game in the first period, but a four-goal second period ultimately doomed the visitors.
Maybe the worst part is the opponent the loss came against. Though the Panthers have their share of talent and have underperformed to start the season, they sat dead last in the Atlantic Division heading into the contest and represented the less successful opponent of the B’s trip.
After the game, head coach Bruce Cassidy spoke with NESN’s Jack Edwards and Andy Brickley about the lopsided defeat, and he was pretty direct in his comments.
“Clearly not our best, we weren’t on time to start,” Cassidy said, as seen on NESN’s postgame coverage. “I thought Jaro was good in the first period so you’d hoped we’d pick it up in the second, recognize we got good goaltending to cover up for our mistakes, but it didn’t happen. You know, at times it just looked like men against boys out there, and we just weren’t up to the challenge tonight.”
The Bruins now have to regroup and head to Tampa to play a Lightning team that has exactly been what they were billed to be: a dominant force in the Eastern Conference. While voicing some support for the current crop of guys available, Cassidy acknowledged that there’s a tall task ahead of them.
“We’ve played some good hockey with this lineup, they’ve got to bounce back on Thursday,” Cassidy said. “That’s a good hockey team we’re playing and I know we’re certainly capable of better. We have our limitations, we know that, we’ve got to play the game that we need to play to have the best chance to win and tonight we didn’t do that.”
Here are some other notes from Tuesday’s Bruins-Panthers game:
— If you’re looking for something to be even the slightest bit optimistic about, well, here’s something.
The last time the Bruins got pounded by the Panthers in the opener of a Florida trip, Boston actually did bounce back well. Last season, the Bruins were knocked around and suffered a 3-0 loss to the Panthers on March 15. Two nights later, they rolled into Amalie Arena and handed the Lightning a 3-0 loss.
That’s not to say you can expect the same thing once again, but there’s at least some evidence that they’ve done this before.
— It’s not breaking news that the Bruins struggle with secondary scoring, and that was reaffirmed again Tuesday when they got no scoring.
In fact, Tuesday’s loss marked the fifth time this season the B’s were shut out. To compare, they were blanked three times all last campaign, including playoffs.
— The Bruins struggled to control the puck all night, and the defensemen were among the worst culprits.
Boston’s six blueliners combined for 11 giveaways, with Matt Grzelcyk being responsible for three of them.