The Boston Bruins coughed up a 5-2 lead and fell to 0-7 in the shootout losing 6-5 to the Philadelphia Flyers Monday night. The loss snapped a three-game winning streak for the Bruins and just as they appeared to have turned a corner and snapped out of the doldrums of December, the B’s reverted back to the play that has cost them so many points this season.
Instead of leaving Philadelphia for Columbus, where they play the Blue Jackets tonight, with a four-game win streak, two points and in a tie for first place in the Eastern Conference, the Bruins (27-8-12, 66 points) just barely escaped the Well Fargo Center with a point and now trailing the Washington Capitals (31-11-5, 67 points) by a point.
Bruins captain Zdeno Chara got an assist in his 1,000th game with the Bruins but just as his first game wearing the spoked B went (an 8-3 loss to the Florida Panthers on October 10, 2006), this was not a milestone that he will recall fondly.
Here’s your BHN Five Takeaways from another gift-wrapped two points the Bruins gave to their opponent:
Players Were “Unprofessional” But Cassidy To Blame Too
Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy absolutely ripped into his players after they blew a three-goal lead for the second time this season and called their performance on the Flyers’ three consecutive goals to tie the game “unprofessional”.
“I thought our goalie and D were not on the same page in terms of breakouts, in terms of net-front situations; so we really had no will to keep the puck out of the net on the last three goals and that’s just been a staple of our team for the last three years. So let’s hope that’s just a one-off because it was unprofessional the way we performed in front of our net there the last three goals. We just need to be better.”
Cassidy was correct as the Bruins clearly sat back and admired the fact that just 7:21 into the second period they found themselves up 5-2, seemingly running away with the game in what would’ve been a 2-0 start to their current three-game roadie that ends at Nationwide Arena tonight. The Bruins stopped playing and doing the little things – especially down low and in front of the net – that they pride themselves on. That being said, Cassidy’s stubbornness and/or failure to adjust on inside the Bruins’ zone and not pull Halak before the game spiraled away should’ve had him looking in the mirror as well.
Just as he did in a 5-4 Bruins win over the Winnipeg Jets last Thursday, Cassidy left Halak in the game one softie after another, and while Halak did regain his usual steady form in overtime and made an unreal save on Flyer captain Claude Giroux in the shootout, Halak clearly did not have it Monday and was fighting the puck for most of the first 60 minutes. Surely, he wasn’t just trying to rest Tuukka Rask because he is slotted for the start in Columbus?
Afterall, Rask will now get a full vacation later this month after declining his invite to the 2020 NHL All-Star game Monday afternoon. The Bruins have done a great job of resting Rask already and with him being the better goalie for the last two weeks, Cassidy missed a chance to stem the Flyers’ surge and preserve the two points.
Cassidy also continued to use the same players in the shootout despite their constant lack of success, and well you know what the definition of insanity is right?
Bruins’ Shootouts Literally Embarrassing Now
When asked about losing in the shootout again, Cassidy told NESN:
“We’ve seen that movie before.”
Well, this one actually had the ending the Bruins would love to have cut from the script.
The fact the Bruins fell to 0-7 in the shootout and squandered another point is disappointing enough, but the manner in which this shootout ended was just flat out embarrassing.
Needing a goal to keep the shootout going, Bruins winger Brad Marchand never gained full control of the puck as he began his attempt. Unfortunately, he did graze the rubber biscuit just enough to count as an attempt and was only able to take a couple of strides in before the referee blew the whistle and the game was over.
Lol Brad Marchand.
There was an attempt! Sorta. Not really. pic.twitter.com/ZA32SRFiuo
— NBC Sports Philadelphia (@NBCSPhilly) January 14, 2020
Marchand, who instantly became a running joke and GIF on social media after the shootout gaffe, owned his mistake after the loss:
“I was just trying to get going and just missed it,” Marchand said. “That’s the way it is. I’m not going to overthink it.”
Halak Is Struggling
As mentioned above, while his teammates by no means did him any favors Monday night, Halak did not have his A-game and that’s been the case now for his last three starts. Halak has let in three, four and five goals respectively in those starts and has not provided the dependable goaltending he did in the first half of the season that had some pundits and fans arguing he should’ve been selected to the All-Star game and not Rask. The two Bruins netminders have been one of, if not the best tandems in the NHL since Halak signed with the Bruins prior to last season, and they will need to be again so Rask can be as fresh as he was last spring and help the Bruins go on another deep playoff run.
Bruins Get More Secondary Scoring
There was actually some good news from an overall night to forget for the Bruins and one of the silver linings was that the Bruins continued to get secondary scoring from their second and third lines. On too many nights this season, the Bruins have depended on their top trio (aka: ‘The Perfection Line) for scoring and while Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and David Pastrnak connected on Pastrnak’s league-leading 35th goal of the season, the next two lines were pivotal in the Bruins jumping out to an early 5-2 lead.
David Krejci lit the lamp twice and Charlie Coyle and Anders Bjork each had a goal and an assist. Wingers Jake DeBrusk and Danton Heinen also chipped in with two assists. DeBrusk now has three goals and two assists since being benched in and called out by Cassidy after a 4-1 loss to the Oilers on January 4.
Krejci’s first goal of the game at 16:49 came on the powerplay and extended the Bruins’ team record powerplay goal-scoring streak to 15 games. They now have 16 lamplighters on the man advantage during that span. That would be their only powerplay goal of the game as they went 1-for-2, but teams will need to be more disciplined against the Bruins going forward, because it’s almost a certainty they will connect when their a man or more up.