BOSTON – In the end, it was the NHL schedule that took down the historic Boston Bruins home ice streak.
It took 23 games for it to happen, but the Boston Bruins dropped a 3-0 shutout loss to the Seattle Kraken at TD Garden on Thursday night that lived up to the phrase “scheduled loss” in every sense of the words. The Bruins looked like a team battling mental and physical fatigue after waylaying all three California hockey teams on a successful West Coast trip, and then proceeding to take back-to-back days off the ice after flying red-eye back to Boston.
It was also their first shutout loss of the season for the Boston Bruins as a hockey team that’s been one of the NHL’s most explosive all season. At the other end, it was seven wins in a row for Seattle as they are playing at their best at both ends of the ice while featuring a hockey team that’s one of the most surprising around the NHL this season.
The Bruins were defeated at home tonight by the Kraken, 3-0.
The defeat is Boston's 1st home loss in regulation this season & snaps a 22-game home point streak to start the season for the B's (tied for 5th-longest home point streak to begin a season in NHL history). pic.twitter.com/DR8IQwVagi
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) January 13, 2023
The bright side is that it was still a close game against a high quality Seattle team where the Bruins could have changed things if they could have buried a puck past Martin Jones in the second period, but things felt out of reach after Eeli Tolvanen buried a loose puck from the slot midway through the second period.
It led to the B’s first home ice regulation loss of the season one game after enjoying their most memorable home ice win of the season prior to heading out to California. Boston Bruins head coach Jim Montgomery saw pretty early that the Bruins didn’t have it, and a one-timer attempt from David Pastrnak that missed high and wide in the third period – one of four missed shots for No. 88 in the game and one of 14 missed shots for the Bruins during the game — typified the B’s being just a little bit “off” for the entire game.
“Not physical [fatigue], mental,” said Montgomery, diagnosing what he saw on the ice. “There were guys wide open…we make a lot of plays throughout the year and we weren’t seeing those plays. We were not a second, but two seconds, late and then we were trying to force the plays which led to a lot of turnovers and them being able to transition on us and us being one and done in the offensive zone.
“That doesn’t usually happen, and I think the mental fatigue, we were just a little bit lazy with our offense and unfortunately they were in the right spots and went the other way on us.”
Credit Kraken goalie Martin Jones for making 27 saves and stopping everything he saw in the shutout win for Seattle, but it was also catching the Boston Bruins when they were far from their best or brightest.
Some may tout the loss as significant and part of a span over the last six weeks when the Boston Bruins have struggled at times with consistent 60 minute efforts despite banking points as the NHL’s best team, but it felt much more like a one-shot letdown game coming off a long West Coast road trip. These performances are common for every hockey team once in a while amongst the 82-game schedule, and it signaled it was time for the Bruins to get right back to work at practice after taking Monday and Tuesday away from the ice in a very rare sequence of consecutive days off for an NHL team.
“It’s our first [regulation] loss at home. It’s our 23rd game of the year [at home]. I guess we’re fortunate in one way,” said Montgomery. “We’re not happy about how we played, and we’ll address it [Friday], we’ll regroup, and we’ll be better Saturday night [against Toronto].
“I don’t think at any point we were negative. I felt there was a belief the whole time that we were gonna come back [against the Kraken]. The biggest difference I noticed from previous games was in the third period we didn’t have the charge in us, so that just tells me our batteries are low.”
It will need to be a quick recharge with an important Atlantic Division Saturday night game between the Bruins and the Toronto Maple Leafs waiting for them as they look to start building another home unbeaten streak at TD Garden now that the previous one is kaput.