The Boston Bruins traveled to California this week for a set of games, but may have left effort behind.
After getting beat down by the Anaheim Ducks Tuesday night, the Bruins followed up with an even uglier 4-2 loss to the Los Angeles Kings. The score makes the game look a lot closer than it really was, as it was 3-0 before the Bruins decided it might be wise to show up. Starting goalie Tuukka Rask was yanked just over 20 minutes into the game, which will happen when you allow three goals on 18 shots. The defense, as a whole, seemed a little lost, while the offense could only muster 12 shots in the first two periods.
Sure, the Bruins’ past two games have been against contenders, but you’d like to think this would result in a little more motivation to play harder. Their once comfy lead atop the Atlantic division has now been narrowed down to just two points, as the Tampa Bay Lightning are coming on fast.
After watching his team get blown out the last two games, coach Claude Julien decided to let the players have it.
“We definitely could use more from our team, from the goaltender on out,” Julien said. “We need big saves; we need our guys to manage the puck better. The mistakes that we’re making are very costly. Everybody needs to be a little better. We didn’t get much from our top two lines tonight, and you need that if you’re going to win some hockey games. They were pretty quiet.”
“It took us almost a period-and-a-half to get going here. We spotted them a 3-0 lead. Puck management, missed assignments, those kinds of things are going to end up costing you.”
Last night’s game certainly appears to have provided plenty of material for Julien’s post-game rant. Rask followed up one of his worst games Tuesday with an even uglier display last night. Rebounds were handed out like charity, his reaction time was off and he opened the second period with two goals in less than two minutes. It was already brought up yesterday that he may be worn out due to a large amount of starts this season, and last night certainly gave plenty of credence to that.
For what it’s worth, the defense in front of Rask wasn’t exactly a brick wall either. Johnny Boychuk absolutely whiffed on an outlet pass, which the Kings pounced on and turned into their first goal of the night. Los Angeles forward Justin Williams had no trouble getting by Zdeno Chara and David Krejci when he roofed a softie over Rask.
The team, as a whole, was a mess, and the biggest concern has to be whether or not the loss of defenseman Dennis Seidenberg for the season is causing the Bruins to unravel. Seidenberg was one of Boston’s most dependable blue-liners, and the team has only won twice in the six games they’ve played since he tore his ACL and MCL.
Last night’s game displayed a lot of issues the Bruins need to fix, and quick. The loss of Seidenberg is having a visibly negative impact on the team, and it’s up to them to figure out a way to survive this injury.
They certainly won’t get a ton of time to address these holes, as they take on another Western Conference power house, the San Jose Sharks, tomorrow night. Julien better hope his words resonated with his team, or else the Bruins will be leaving California licking their wounds.