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Bruins Musings: Lights Go Out On 4-0 Bruins Lead, Panthers Win 5-4 In Shootout



The TD Garden lights went out 57 seconds into the second period and then the Panthers put the lights out on a 4-0 Bruins lead in the third period and won 5-4 in a shootout Tuesday at TD Garden. This was the Bruins’ fourth straight loss and the second time in five games that Boston allowed four unanswered goals in one period.

Following three straight Panthers goal in the first ten minutes of the final frame, Panthers defenseman and Milton, MA native Keith Yandle (goal, assist) tied the game at four with 1:30 left in regulation. After a scoreless but back and forth overtime, Panthers forwards Vincent Trocheck and Mike Hoffman (goal) scored in the shootout as the Panthers completed the improbable comeback for a monster two points over the first-place Bruins.

It appeared that Bruins forward Patrice Bergeron was held trying to clear the puck prior to Yandle’s goal but Bruins head coach wasn’t about to let his team off the hook for that or any of the Panthers’ goals that got the game into extra time.

“This is a team that’s closed out games for years, and the last goal to me – put everything else aside – is disappointing. We get beat one-on-one off the rush, winger circling out of the scoring area knowing the game is on the line. You could sit here and argue that the guy’s holding Bergy’s [Patrice Bergeron] stick and can’t clear the puck at the end, but structurally we were bad on that last goal. That’s the disappointing part to me. That’s when we’re usually rock solid.”

Aaron Ekblad and Frank Vatrano also lit the lamp for the Panthers in the third period and Jonathan Huberdeau has three assists.

The Panthers four-goal third followed a four-goal second period by the Bruins. Bruins winger David Pastrnak snapped a two-goal pointless skid with his (at the time) league-leading 16th goal of the season and Forwards Joakim Nordstrom and Anders Bjork and defenseman Zdeno Chara all scored to give the Bruins the 4-0 lead they couldn’t keep. Center David Krejci also had two assists and forwards Charlie Coyle, Brad Marchand and Danton Heinen and Bergeron each had an assist. Coyle also scored a shootout goal for the Bruins.

Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask stopped 12 Panther shots through two periods but could only stop eight of the 12 he faced in the third period. Meanwhile, Panthers goalie Sergei Bobrovsky allowed four goals on 22 Bruins shots in the first two periods and was relieved by Sam Montembeault for the remainder of the game. Montembeault was perfect through the third and overtime, turning away all 15 shots he faced and then three of four Bruins shooters in the shootout.

A Sloppy Third, Not Sloppy Second For Bruins

For the second time in five games, the Bruins allowed four unanswered goals in one period. Despite a much better start and a brilliant second period, the Bruins reverted to their sloppy neutral zone play and average at best goaltending from Rask in the third period. They also got lazy again, getting caught behind the play and taking bad penalties as a result. The Panthers happily obliged going 2-for-2 on the power play in the third period with Vatrano and Hoffman connecting on the man-advantage after Ekblad had got the scoring going 50 ticks into the final frame with an even-strength goal. Yandle’s late goal though served as that inevitable feeling that the Bruins had blown a game they seemingly had in control.

Regardless of what period the blow leads are happening in, Cassidy is not happy and knows there is work to be done.

“Yeah, I’m going to be concerned,” Cassidy told the media after the game. “It’s a strength of our team to close out games. I think we had a perfect record of, you know, we had a lead going into the third period. It’s a trademark of this team. Yeah, it is a concern. Part of it’s goaltending, part of it is staying out of the — listen, we talk about, how do teams get back in the game when they’re behind? You mismanage pucks by giving them odd-man rushes, you take penalties by putting them on the power play — we did a little bit of both. You don’t tighten up and protect the slot because typically D are activating, so if you take care of that, you’re going back the other way and you have a chance to sort of finish the job. We didn’t do any of those things very well.”

Rask Owns Bad Third Period And Game 7?

While the Rask haters will blame him for anything bad that happens to their beloved Bruins and were out in full force on social media, laying another collapse by their team solely on Rask, the Bruins goalie who went through the first month of the season without a regulation loss took the blame Tuesday.

“I should’ve been sharper in that 3rd period,” Rask admitted to the media. “A couple of soft goals. I definitely take most of the blame for the 3rd period.”

Rask let in four goals on 12 shots in the final frame and is now winless (0-2-1) in his last three starts.

Credit to Rask for not only owning his third period but also poking fun at himself for his performance in his team’s infamous 4-1 Game 7 loss to the St. Louis Blues in Game 7 of the 2019 Stanley Cup Final. 57 ticks into the second period Tuesday and just prior to the Bruins scoring their four straight goals, the TD Garden lights went out for a second and stopped play as the Panthers were pressuring.

“That should have happened in Game 7 of the Finals I guess,” Rask joked.

Hate him all you want, but at least Rask admits fault and can poke fun at himself.

Bruins Taking Lazy And Costly Penalties

Heading into this game the Bruins had taken four offensive zone penalties in the last two games and were too often playing lazy hockey. Their forecheck has been wildly inconsistent and that was the case again in the third period Tuesday. Some may call the penalties that led to the two third period power play goals for the Panthers “marginal” as Cassidy and some Bruins players did, but they don’t happen if the Bruins aren’t caught sitting back. The Bruins need to stop allowing time and space to their opponents, plain and simple.

Shootout Woes Continue

The Bruins finally snapped their scoreless streak in the shootout with Coyle’s goal, but they’re now 0-for-3 in shootouts this season and have only scored once in 11 chances.


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