There have been some humbling losses for the Boston Bruins this season. They’ve been outscored 16-1 by the Carolina Hurricanes in three defeats this season, and the final loss to the Anaheim Ducks ahead of the All-Star break pushed Tuukka Rask to retire rather than continue struggling through a 34-year-old body that wasn’t up for the NHL challenge anymore.
But Thursday night’s flat 4-1 loss to the New York Islanders at UBS Arena might have been the most disappointing considering the opponent, and that the Boston Bruins should be at a point in their season when they can grind out these kinds of games. Instead, they folded after opening a 1-0 lead in the first period and allowed a hopeless Islanders team to take it directly to them for the final 40 minutes of the hockey game.
Clearly the Boston Bruins were missing their best player in Brad Marchand, but they also had plenty of passengers against an Islanders team that wasn’t going to roll over for them.
“It’s kind of been like that all year,” said Taylor Hall, who scored the B’s only goal and had a whopping 11 shot attempts as the best player on the ice for the Black and Gold. “Even when Brad [Marchand] is in the lineup, it’s not like we’re beating teams 6-5 or 4-3; it’s usually a 3-2 win or 3-1 or 4-1 with an empty netter, those kind of games that we have to be comfortable playing. Tonight, we were up one going into the second, that should be a signal to lay on the gas and keep going.
“Unfortunately, I don’t think we did that. I don’t care what their record is. This team has had a lot of success, especially in their building. They’re gonna play hard, get pucks to the net and get gritty goals. That’s how they play. It’s what they did to us tonight.”
Instead, there were extreme difficulties breaking the puck out of the Boston end, and key guys like David Pastrnak struggled throughout the game when it came to decision-making. A horrendous Derek Forbort turnover behind the Boston net led directly to the Islanders go-ahead goal in the third period and essentially doomed a Boston Bruins team that has zero injury excuses when it comes to a defensemen group that just wasn’t good enough against a non-playoff team.
— Hockey Daily 365 (@HockeyDaily365) February 18, 2022
“We were the better team in the first period,” said Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy. “They’re at home, obviously got a lot of pride, and what happens a lot is if the home team doesn’t have a good first period, they’ll push in the second. We’ve addressed that, it happens to us a lot – New York [Rangers] the other night. We’ve just got to be ready for it and execute. Got to be able to execute at a level to stem the pushes that they have.”
Clearly the execution wasn’t there for the Boston Bruins, and they still have a couple more games without Marchand in the lineup. And they are only six points ahead of the Detroit Red Wings as the Bruins tread water in February after a very strong month of January that slotted them firmly in a playoff spot.
But the deflating loss to the Islanders served as another warning sign that the Boston Bruins aren’t going to be around very long in the Stanley Cup playoffs unless they address some pressing needs with this current roster.