Despite being the worst team in the league, the Detroit Red Wings continue to have the Boston Bruins’ number. The Red Wings (14-39-4, 32 points) beat the Bruins (34-11-12, 78 points) for a fifth straight time and the second time this season with a 3-1 win in Detroit Sunday afternoon, snapping the Bruins win streak at six games.
Red Wings goalie Jonathan Bernier made 39 saves, Andreas Athanasiou lit the lamp twice and Brendan Perlini scored his first goal of the season for the Wings. Torey Krug had the lone goal for the Bruins.
Here’s your BHN Five Takeaways.
Bruins Beat Themselves
Playing the tail end of their third straight back-to-back set since coming back from the break on January 31 and 18 hours after they beat the Arizona Coyotes 4-2 on Saturday, no one would have blamed the Bruins if they legs gave out and fatigue kicked in Sunday in Detroit. While that appeared to be the case a few times against the Red Wings, the Bruins overall seemed just fine physically and out-shot the Wings 40-20. As head coach Bruce Cassidy pointed out after the Bruins first loss since January 19, 4-3 to the Penguins in Pittsburgh, the Bruins’ main issue Sunday was mental mistakes
“We thought mentally that would be the biggest challenge,” Cassidy said of the team playing another back-to-back. “Two great plays by our D, two forward miss wide-open nets. That’s. …at some point comes back to cost you, today it did. This game I thought we were the better team. I thought we beat ourselves tonight.”
The missed shots Cassidy was referring to were one by David Pastrnak in the second period and then Chris Wagner absolutely choked on a wide-open net in front with 4:37 left in regulation. By no means is this downplaying Bernier’s amazing game but Cassidy is bang on. Not only were the Bruins blowing gifted scoring chances but they were handing those gifts back to the Wings who seemed much happier to oblige the Bruins’ generosity. The Perlini goal 2:07 into the second period was a direct result of Pastrnak making a careless backhand pass just inside the Bruins zone that was picked off by Red Wings forward Adam Erne who fed it to Perlini for the goal. The Bruins finished with 14 turnovers and just didn’t seem in sync in their own zone and through the neutral zone.
Rask Makes Emergency Start
After finding out a half-hour before warmup’s that rookie defenseman Jeremy Lauzon had been suspended two games for an illegal check to the head of Arizona Coyotes forward Derek Stepan Saturday, the Bruins also found out that goalie Jaro Halak could not start between the pipes. Halak, who at first was believed to have the flu, wasn’t even on the Bruins bench for the first period and it was later divulged by head coach Bruce Cassidy that Halak had an upper-body injury. Rask, starting just 18 hours after making 29 saves in the 4-2 win over the Coyotes Saturday, still did his best to give his team a chance, making 17 saves.
Neither of the two goals he allowed, to Perlini and eventual game-winner by Athanasiou 7:10 into the third period was Rask’s fault. Unfortunately, he and the Bruins had a perfect storm of pre-game problems hit them and do so in the tail end of a back-to-back. The frazzled team in front of him didn’t give him much of a chance to keep his win streak going. This was Rask’s first loss since a 2-1 overtime defeat to the Columbus Blue Jackets January 2 and his first in regulation since December 12, a 3-2 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Offsides Reviews Need To Have Time Limit
The Bruins appeared to have tied the game at one 12:33 into the second period when Brad Marchand beat Bernier in front for what would’ve been his 23rd goal of the season. The Wings issued an offsides challenge though and after an over five-minute long review for what was clearly offsides by the Bruins, the goal was disallowed and the Bruins still trailed 1-0. They would later tie the game 33 ticks into the third period, but the NBC broadcast and social media were still baffled then and after the game at why what seemed to be such an obvious call, took so long to review.
After a three-hour delay, the play has been ruled offside…no goal. Still down 1-0 with 7:38 remaining in the second. #NHLBruins
— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) February 9, 2020
This has been the case too many times this season around the league and it needs to change ASAP! The NHL Board of Governors meet again in March and there is no shame in admitting a mistake or fault for letting offsides review become an absolute disaster. Put a time limit on the review by the officials and if they can’t decide in say, two minutes, then let the goal stand. Forget the fact that the majority of the time, the offsides actually never effects the play that led to the goal, let’s at least get a timer on this process!
Bruins Can’t Get Back-To-Back Triple Sweep
The Bruins played three straight back-to-back’s out of the break and almost completed the triple sweep, going five for six in the three two-game sets. They beat the Winnipeg Jets 2-1 on January 31 in Winnipeg and the Minnesota Wild in Minnesota 6-1 on February 1; then the Vancouver Canucks 4-0 in Boston on February 4 and the Chicago Blackhawks 2-1 in overtime in Chicago on February 5. After beating the Arizona Coyotes 4-2 Saturday in Boston, they couldn’t pull off the final back-to-back sweep Sunday in Detroit. They out-scored their opponent 19-8 over those six games and will still wake up in first place in their division, conference and in the NHL. The Bruins are now 7-1-1 the first game of a back-to-back and 4-4-1 in the second. They have four more back-to-back’s this season.
For the first time in six games, the Bruins not only lost but they didn’t score on the powerplay and that with their mental errors played a major role in the loss. The Bruins went 0-for-4 on the man advantage Sunday and failed to convert on a 5-on-3 late in the opening frame. Clearly the mental fatigue played a role in a rare power failure by one of the league’s best powerplay teams.