Yes, the Boston Bruins‘ first regulation loss of the young 2013 NHL season had to happen sometime–but it would’ve been a lot nicer if it had been a more innocuous loss, perhaps to a team that isn’t already boasting a player who apparently always manages to turn into a Rocket Richard nominee whenever he plays Boston. Perhaps it would’ve been better if it hadn’t been to a team still seeking to avenge a flaw of physics that happened more than a year ago.
This 7-4 loss to the Buffalo Sabres was just disgusting in so many ways. I can hardly blame fans who chose to show their disgust by leaving early, even though many fans find that particular show of protest to be taboo.
It may have all started in the first period when Shawn Thornton lost a fight to John Scott, who looked like he kept hitting Thornton in the head even when he was already on the way down to the ice. Thornton went down the tunnel, didn’t return and was tested for a concussion, though there’s no further news about that yet. That’s apparently what the Sabres signed him to do, so there you go, they did it.
In a goal-filled second period, there was one point where the Bruins had managed to build up a 3-1 lead on the strength of a goal by the patient Rich Peverley and then two from Brad Marchand in less than five minutes. But once again, a two-goal lead seems almost impossible to keep for this team, so they dropped it in spectacular fashion by allowing Buffalo to seep back in and tie it up at three heading into the second intermission.
Apart from a David Krejci goal, the third period was absolutely dominated by Sabres. Thomas Vanek, the apparent Bruins-killer, completed a hat trick. Jason Pominville put a bow on the game with an empty-netter. The Bruins defense allowed far too many two-on-ones, an awful two-on-nothing that ended in the third Vanek goal and just so many mistakes sprouted from a defensive corps that usually doesn’t look anything like this.
Zdeno Chara and Andrew Ference especially were both shadows of themselves–I’ve noticed that Ference has been for some time now, but Chara’s fails seemed new and different. They hung Tuukka Rask out to dry, simple as that, and there’s only so much a goaltender can do when the team in front of him is so messy. In fact, the defense was just so bad that coach Claude Julien said he can’t remember the last time they looked this bad.
There were also some rather questionable non-calls from the referees, especially when Dougie Hamilton got elbowed in the face by Drew Stafford. That’s a really dangerous play and could’ve done a lot worse to Hamilton than just send him down the tunnel for a quick tune-up and right back into the action. No punishments went out when Patrice Bergeron was boarded, hurt his shoulder and spent time off the ice as well, but the Hamilton transgression was especially bad.
Perhaps the only good news from this is the fact that, before this ugly game, the only time the Bruins had allowed more than six goals in a game was in March 2008. Of course, that game was against the team they play next, the Toronto Maple Leafs, but things are different now. The Maple Leafs provided the Bruins six wins last season, often by huge margins. Perhaps that will be a good opportunity for the team to rebound, put this hideous old game behind them and move forward.