The Boston Bruins made some mistakes that ended up costing them dearly in their second playoff game against the Washington Capitals, which they lost 2-1 in double overtime. With each team having one win to their names, the series now shifts to the District of Columbia and the Bruins need some changes too.
Here are some of the things they need to change:
- Attempts to score on Braden Holtby. Just looking strictly at the numbers, it’s not that the Bruins haven’t been trying (41 shots in this longer game, 30 in the overtime win that came down to merely one goal), it’s that they’re not trying correctly. Too many shots in this game were from the point, aimed right at Holtby’s chest, shot by one Bruin alone without any teammates there to help manage rebounds or screen the net-front. Holtby may be good, but it seems like the Bruins are making him look better by forgetting how best to score.
- Hustle from all over the roster. Chris Kelly, Benoit Pouliot and Brian Rolston are great, but they have produced everything for the Bruins in this series so far, even though that doesn’t mean much when the total output has been two goals in two games. Shawn Thornton seemed to exemplify hustle, though, because he managed five shots on goal, the most of any Bruin, even though he was only on ice for eight minutes. On the other hand, Milan Lucic had two shots for 26 minutes on ice. That’s not a good thing.
- Not letting bad penalties get to them again. In the first period, Zdeno Chara earned a holding penalty against Alexander Ovechkin and Kelly went to the box on a weak hooking charge. Those two instances combined with Ovechkin sticking his glove and stick in Dennis Seidenberg‘s face, but earning no call for it, led Mike Milbury to wonder during intermission about the consistency of officiating in this game. (To his credit, after the Ovechkin-Seidenberg incident, Thornton was shown on the bench pointing out that if he had done that, he would’ve been tossed from the game.)
Here are some of the things that went well:
- Tim Thomas remained strong in net, making 37 saves and doing just as well during regulation as Holtby.
- Patrice Bergeron, in addition to setting up plays and winning more than half of his faceoffs, also got a little more physical. At two different points, he was in the middle of post-whistle scrums, having heated discussions with John Carlson and Karl Alzner. He even threw a hit on Ovechkin.
- Pouliot scored and, as unusual as the goal was (he collided with Holtby, who was coming out to try to poke check the puck), it did save the Bruins from being shut out.
Yes, the Bruins are doing better this year than they were at this time last year. However, that doesn’t mean the team should just stop trying or settle for this. Thankfully, some of them know that:
Now to see if they can make things better in their next game, April 16 at 7:30 p.m. on NBC Sports Network.