The Boston Bruins were embarrassed on home ice Tuesday night against the Los Angeles Kings. The 9-2 loss was the worst loss of the year, and the most goals allowed since 2007. The 57 shots they allowed were more than they have allowed since 1965.
The motto was simple. The team knew that they had to bounce back as they hit the road for six straight games, a season-high trip, that would either make them a playoff contender, or allow them to book tee times in early April. It all started Thursday night in Winnipeg.
High intensity is the name of the game when trying to prove that you belong among the NHL elite. If the Bruins didn’t come out with a full fledged attack, then the next two weeks would prove to be exhausting. The first period was the very definition of high intensity. This game had the ear marks of a Bruins game from the early 1970’s. Combined there were 3 fights, 8 goals and fifty minutes of penalties, all coming out to a 6-2 Bruins win.
If any Bruins fan was watching the first period, you might have noticed that every time the Bruins went up, they let another goal go in, thus creating a tie game. If you think like I d,o then your first thought was “great, here we go again”.
Patrice Bergeron put one in just 1:39 into the contest, and Bryan Little tied it two minutes later. Loui Eriksson netted one, and then Nikolaj Ehlers tied it one minute later. See a pattern? I certainly do and it is one that I don’t consider to be that good! Thankfully, Marchand was there to net an amazing breakaway 18:45 into regulation, and the B’s escaped the first period 3-2.
The third period was all Boston. Three goals with Bergeron, Pastrnak and Hayes* providing the tallies. Hayes gets an asterisk with his goal, and I say this because he scored an empty net goal with 4:48 to go in regulation. It was a bold move that I may never understand why it was done, but Winnipeg tried it and failed miserably.
With the loss, Winnipeg becomes 0-20 in games when they go into the third period trailing. They are the only team in the NHL without a win in that frame.
There was a noticeable physical aspect to last night’s game, something that has been missing as of late. Bergeron, Matt Beleskey and Zac Rinaldo all dropped the gloves. For Bergeron, it was the fourth time in his career that he has obtained a fighting major. Questions loomed about his return after the fight, only to be silenced a minute later when he scored.
Other notable items from Winnipeg are the powerplay and penalty kill. While the powerplay was 0-3, the third time was a beauty with high pressure and 2:27 of straight offensive zone time. The penalty kill was 4-5, although there was high shot density on the first two kills. Overall, not the best, but a solid effort indeed.
One down, five to go. Minnesota on Saturday, Detroit on Sunday. By Monday morning, the playoff picture will be taking shape.