The Boston Bruins fell to 0-2-0 in the round-robin tournament Wednesday with a 3-2 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Here are some takeaways, thoughts and observations.
— In the first period, it was tough to figure out if the Bruins were rusty or bad. Their showing against the Philadelphia Flyers on Sunday didn’t exactly inspire much confidence, but as time went on against the Bolts, the Bruins started to look a little more like themselves.
Chalk it up, maybe, to the Bruins still trying to get their legs under them. Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy didn’t think his team, outside of the first shift, which ended in a Jeremy Lauzon penalty, played that poorly in the opening frame. Regardless, going into the first intermission down a pair isn’t ideal.
Because of the way the Bruins played later in the game, it’s probably safe to say it was just, in some regards, a bad first period.
— Cassidy ended up keeping his lines pretty much the same the entire game, with Nick Ritchie, David Krejci and Karson Kuhlman forming the second line, while Anders Bjork, Charlie Coyle and Jake DeBrusk formed the third.
Ondrej Kase is expected to play in Sunday’s round-robin finale against the Washington Capitals, which all but certainly will bump Kuhlman out of the lineup.
So, here’s an opinion: Though Cassidy is known for switching on the blender and shuffling the lines in-game, he needs to refrain on Sunday. Put DeBrusk and Kase with Krejci, then Ritchie and Bjork with Coyle. Tell them they have 60 minutes to figure it out in a game situation, and regardless of how things go, stick with those trios against Washington.
The Bruins aren’t going to get better than the third seed, he might as well see what he has in that middle six assuming everyone is available.
— The fourth line of Joakim Nordstrom, Sean Kuraly and Chris Wagner are limiting any excuses Cassidy might have to not play them when the Bruins are chasing the lead.
A nice forecheck from Kuraly paved the way to Boston’s tying goal Wednesday, which came when Wagner buried a puck that trickled through Andrei Vasilevskiy’s legs.
Kuraly scores big goals, and Nordstrom has scored a few times in the playoffs, as well. Wagner, for a fourth-liner, has decent hands. Yes, they’re a defensive, checking line first and foremost, but they are not so void of offensive ability that they should be stapled to the bench when Boston needs goals.
— For quite a while, this particular writer beat the drum that the Bruins should go after Blake Coleman at the trade deadline. They reportedly did, but the Lightning were more willing to pay the New Jersey Devils’ whopping asking price for the middle six winger.
It’s clear why.
Seemingly more so with Tampa than New Jersey, Coleman has an ability to get under the skin of opponents. He seemed to be involved in some type of scrum at every whistle, even mixing things up with Ritchie before the opening face-off. Plus, he’s got some really solid skill and has formed a nice third line with fellow deadline acquisition Barclay Goodrow and Yanni Gourde.
Now, the Bruins are getting some of that in Ritchie. But that doesn’t take away from the fact that Coleman could’ve been a really nice fit in Boston.