Stop me if you’ve heard this story before: the Boston Bruins were holding onto a tenuous but still very valid lead against a team and then proceeded to fritter it away into a loss before the final buzzer rang. It’s what happened yet again in the Bruins’ 3-1 loss to the Winnipeg Jets, their final meeting of this regular season.
After a rather unimpressive first period–maybe starting the game an hour later messed with the Bruins’ internal clocks, though that’s a flimsy explanation at best–Brad Marchand broke through just eight seconds after the second period began with a surprising, sneaky little goal to put the Bruins on the board in his 200th NHL game.
Unfortunately, that’s all they would be able to muster up in this game, though they did try, just not hard enough. Shawn Thornton, who was part of a hardworking but unsuccessful Merlot line this evening, said it best when he said the Bruins as a whole played just 53, not 60, minutes.
Claude Julien, in postgame comments, called out Tuukka Rask for not making timely saves, but how is he expected to shoulder the burden of an entire team? Where did the defense go? Yes, Adam McQuaid got hurt and didn’t play most of the game, which is an unfortunate twist of fate for an already less-than-stellar defensive corps. But on that Evander Kane goal, pretty much everyone watched as the puck merrily flew behind Rask, not making any attempts to, you know, help out the goalie by lending a hand.
Where did the scoring go? The team blew four different power play opportunities, which could have been great chances to extend their lead or even put the game away altogether. Sure, the power play hasn’t exactly been Boston’s strong suit, but they still had opportunities to score even strength as well.
In fact, where did the big bad Bruins who played a full 60, played physically, imposed their will and were beasts in the third period go?
The team is apparently starting to recognize that this isn’t like them, this worrisome habit of taking leads and turning them into losses, whether in regulation or gifted with a loser’s consolation point. In that case, it’s good to know they finally noticed something that fans have been seeing after every loss just like this one. Will what they’re saying stick?
It’s a cliche to say that the other team wanted it more, but in this case, the Jets were beating the Bruins at their own game: they were aggressive, physical and–dare I say–desperate.
There are some continued issues with this team that just keep popping up over and over again. The wins are unsatisfying and the losses especially annoying because of these issues. What’s going to happen? Are they actually going to recognize what’s wrong and take steps to try to fix it? Only time will tell. If they’re angry with the way they’ve been playing, after all, let’s see some positive results come from that anger.