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Bruins Musings: Poor Start Does Bruins In Again, Lose 3-2 To Flyers In Shootout



The Boston Bruins did themselves in again with another lackluster start and loss their third straight game 3-2 in a shootout to the Philadelphia Flyers at TD Garden Sunday night. Former Boston University star Joel Farabee was the only player to score in the shootout as he beat Bruins goalie Jaro Halak (27 saves) on the first attempt of the shootout.

The Flyers had built a 2-0 lead in the first period on goals by Travis Konecny and Philippe Myers and dominated much of the first two periods out-shooting the Bruins 20-10. Unlike in their 4-2 loss to the Red Wings in Detroit Friday night though, the Bruins found their legs and their game in the third period to erase a 2-0 Flyers lead and at least muster a point in a game they did not deserve to win. Bruins winger Danton Heinen cut the Flyers’ lead to 2-1 5:59 into the final frame and then Brad Marchand tied the game at 12:22 of the third period.

The Bruins actually had a chance to take the lead and potentially win it in regulation when they were awarded a penalty shot at 15:04, but Flyers goalie Carter Hart (26 saves) laid down the pads to stuff the NHL’s leading goal scorer David Pastrnak, and keep the game tied at two. Hart would stop Pastrnak again in the shootout, as well as Bruins forwards Charlie Coyle and Marchand.

Another Brutal First Period 

For the second straight game, the Bruins were not ready to go in the first period. Like they did in Detroit, the Bruins seemed to be out of sync and at times simply going through the motions as they were outshot 14-5 and trailed 2-0 heading into the first intermission. Looking at a stat sheet and not watching the game, it may have seemed ironic that the Bruins were down two goals and being outshot by such a large margin because they totally dominated at the dot, winning 12 of 16 faceoffs in the opening frame. However, 10 of those 16 faceoffs were in the Bruins zone and the Bruins struggled to clear the zone way too often in the period.

As you can see in the ‘Heat Map’, the heat was most definitely on from the Flyers in the opening frame.

Pastrnak Hitting Mental Wall?

With Pastrnak failing to score on a penalty shot and in the shootout, is the league’s top scorer hitting a wall? After a torrid and record-breaking start to the season, frustration appears to be getting the best of Pastrnak the last few games and it’s showing in all aspects of his game right now.

Pastrnak told BHN Thursday that no team had covered him as good as the Montreal Canadiens did Tuesday, despite the fact he got a powerplay goal in the 5-4 loss to the Habs. Pastrnak cited speed as a factor in shutting him down and on Friday, Pastrnak was held pointless for the first time since the season opener October 3 at Dallas. Pastrnak also took two offensive zone penalties in Detroit and then another Sunday against the Flyers. Those are frustration penalties and he needs to reel it in.


Marchand Snaps Minuscule Skid

When you start the season as great as Pastrnak and Marchand did, even a game or two without registering a point can be viewed as a scoring skid. Well, no need to worry about the Bruins’ top offensive players as they kept their respective skids at minuscule. After a five-point night (two goals, three assists) last Monday in a 6-4 win over the Penguins, Marchand didn’t register a point in the Bruins last two games and seemed set to do so for a third straight game. After Heinen’s goal made it 2-1 though, the entire team seemed to wake up and Marchand found his groove again tying the game 12:22 into the third.

Bruins Stay O-For-In Shootouts

The Bruins have now lost two shootouts and are 0-for-7 in the shootout. In their first shootout loss, a 4-3 defeat to the Tampa Bay Lightning on October 17, the Bruins went 0-for-4 with Coyle, Pastrnak, Marchand and Jake DeBrusk all failing to score. On Sunday, Cassidy went to with the first three again but it never reached the next round.

Coyle Wings It And Delivers

In search of an offensive spark on a second line missing the winger they depend on for goals, DeBrusk, Cassidy decided to start his third line center Charlie Coyle on the second line right wing. While Coyle didn’t light the lamp, he did do what he does best and that’s slow the pace and feed a teammate for a goal of their own. This time that teammate was Danton Heinen, who with Coyle in his normal slot from the last few games, moved over to fill in for DeBrusk on the left. Coyle made a great feed to Heinen down low and Heinen finished it off with a nice move in front to cut the Flyers’ lead to one. That was Heinen’s fourth of the season.

Coyle On The Wing, Lindholm, and Nordstrom Return

With forwards Joakim Nordstrom and Par Lindholm returning from injury, but DeBrusk (lower-body), Brett Ritchie (upper-body), and David Backes (concussion) still out, Cassidy still had to do some line shuffling. With the Bruins coming off a poor offensive showing Friday in the 4-2 loss at Detroit, Cassidy decided instead of shuffling Coyle or Pastrnak into DeBrusk’s spot during the game, he’d start Coyle on David Krejci’s right with Danton Heinen on the left. As mentioned above, the move worked.

Here’s what the lineup looked like to start the game Sunday:

Brad Marchand – Patrice Bergeron – David Pastrnak
Danton Heinen – David Krejci – Charlie Coyle
Anders Bjork – Par Lindholm – Zach Senyshyn
Joakim Nordstrom – Sean Kuraly – Chris Wagner

Zdeno Chara – Connor Clifton
Torey Krug – Brandon Carlo
Matt Grzelcyk – Charlie McAvoy

Jaroslav Halak


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