As the Boston Bruins came out during warm ups wearing their menacing, predominantly black third jerseys, and it was clear that Zdeno Chara was going to be playing, it seemed like perhaps things would go better for the Bs. And as the game started and Boston scored two goals—both within seconds of beginning a power play—it looked like they had found a spark and were poised to take control of the game against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Of course those two goals were in the first period, and there was still 8:58 remaining in that first period, but it was the strongest the team had looked since the regular season began.
Roughly four and a half minutes later the Lightning’s Brian Boyle would cut that lead in half, on what many felt was a soft goal allowed by Tuukka Rask. And then a minute later while on the power play, the Lightning would strike with their first power play goal of the game allowing them to take a tie into that first intermission.
“Getting that first one helped. We kind of shot ourselves in the foot there with taking the penalties and they capitalized; made a couple of good plays on the power play,” Lightning’s goalie Ben Bishop told me after the game. “Then obviously to get one back there and get the second one and kind of tie it up going into the second really kind of saved us to go into the second period as a 0-0 game.”
It didn’t “kind of” tie up the game, that’s exactly what it did, in essence making for an even playing field when the puck dropped on the second period. That may have been the only truly even thing for the remainder of the game. Despite outshooting them and beating them in the faceoff circle, the Bruins struggled the remainder of the game.
Boyle would notch his second of the game, an unassisted even-strength goal, putting the Lightning up by one. The score would remain there for almost seven minutes until Loui Eriksson, who had a goal disallowed in Saturday’s game against the Montreal Canadiens as a result of goaltender interference, would capitalize with the Bruins third power play goal—giving the Bruins goals on three out of their four power plays on the day.
Goaltender interference though seems to be becoming an issue with the black and gold—called accurately or not—as they have now had four such calls in two games. Monday’s matinee against the Lightning saw Patrice Bergeron (who was also called for this in Saturday’s game against Montreal), David Krejci and David Pastrnak all whistled for this infraction.
And as the Lightning began to gain momentum in the game, at the same time the Bruins began to struggle to make good decisions. There are times when taking the body is a good thing. However, when choosing to take the body allows the other team possession of the puck that is an example of when not to check an opponent. Couple that with Rask’s struggles to be the last line of defense for his team, and what started out as a promising game ended in a burning by the Lightning..
Having lost three straight, the Bruins are obviously concerned, but they are not hitting the panic button. To a man interviewed post game, they talked about looking at the breakdowns and fixing them. They talked about each player being expected to improve.
There are many new faces on the Bruins’ bench this season. It is possible that what they need most is a good old-fashioned bonding trip. And fortunately for them they are about to embark on a two-game road trip as they play the Colorado Avalanche on Wednesday followed by the Arizona Coyotes on Saturday.