(Photo: Alan Sullivan)
The Minnesota Wild came into Tuesday night’s game against the Bruins struggling on their road trip, having lost their last two before coming into Boston. They left with a much better mindset and a 5-0 victory to finish out the trip on Thursday in Buffalo. The Boston Bruins are also heading out on a road trip, taking on the New York Rangers in the first of their 14 back-to-back game nights this season.
The Bruins have yet to score first this season—in which they have now played six games. Generally they have found themselves down at least one goal before they even get on the board. While on the road, this hasn’t seemed to be the emotional problem it is at home. Their last two games at TD Garden though have seen them fall apart in the second period, and as their opponent’s goals mount, their play becomes worse.
Tuesday night saw them not only perhaps fighting this mentality, but also plagued with injuries. Their AHL affiliated goalie tandem of Malcolm Subban and Zane McIntyre, from the Providence Bruins, were between the pipes as Tuukka Rask continues to be listed as day-to-day and Tuesday morning it was announced that back-up Anton Khudobin will miss approximately three weeks with an upper body injury. Add to that the later announcement that forward David Backes would also be out and listed as day-to-day with an undisclosed injury and lines were adjusted.
It was expected that the Bruins would not only step up their defensive game in front of Subban, but that the forwards would be hungry to get on the board first. Neither was the case. Subban would get pulled after letting in the third goal, and McIntyre would let in two more before the final buzzer.
Like their last two home games, the first period really had nothing to show for it—not really even any solid plays or passes that could be appreciated. However, as the teams headed down the tunnels with no score it felt eerily like the Bruins game against the Canadiens on Saturday. Unfortunately it turned out to actually be worse.
The Wild came out and scored their first just seven seconds past the five-minute mark of the middle frame. At least that one was scored East Weymouth, Massachusetts native, and Boston University alumni, Charlie Coyle. However, it was the second goal, scored just 12 seconds later by Chris Stewart that seemed to ensure that the wheels fell off the Black and Gold’s wagon.
“Our second periods have been really bad. First period was okay. Second period, we come out and don’t respect the system, and that’s what happens,” a dejected David Krejci said after the game. “It feels like we’re losing puck battles. We’re not staying in the battles, we’re not stopping, we’re just kind of swinging away and they’re getting odd man rushes.”
The Bruins have very little time to adjust anything, because they hopped a plane shortly after the game and will have one practice at Madison Square Garden before taking on the New York Rangers, who are 4-2-0 in their first six games. So how do they fix it?
“We’ve got to do our jobs, simple as that,” head coach Claude Julien said. “That’s what I’m going to tell the players, same thing I’m telling you right now. Do your job and those things won’t happen. They know what they have to do; they’ve just got to do it.”