The Boston Bruins 10 game point streak came to an end Saturday night, as the B’s posted a 4-2 loss against the New York Islanders. The loss was just their second regulation loss of the season, with the other also coming against the Islanders back in January. Overall, it wasn’t the Bruins effort that was missing, but some unforced errors that ended up costing them the game.
The Bruins defensive core has been surprisingly good throughout the majority of the first 14 games of the season, but last night featured a decent amount of sloppy play from the defense and the team as a whole. Tuukka Rask was very good in the game but he was forced to face an overwhelming 42 shots. There were too many odd man rushes and too many turnovers by Bruins D-men. The third pairing of Kevan Miller and Jakub Zboril was the weakest unit on the ice last night, which was surprising considering that they have been really solid all season. Hopefully it was just a fluke game from the Bruins defensively, as they were coming off of a hard-played 1-0 win against the Rangers the night before.
Last night was also an example of yet another game where the Bruins only got scoring from the top line. It’s not nearly the time to be concerned about depth scoring, as the bottom lines scored key goals for the team against the Rangers, but it does show just how one-dimensional the offense can be when guys like Craig Smith and Charlie Coyle can’t seem to generate any offense.
A positive take away from the game however, was the play of Nick Ritchie. He seemed to be the one player not named Bergeron, Marchand, or Pastrnak who was able to provide the team with some scoring chances. Ritchie faced significant criticism for his play in the playoffs last season, when he was brought in to help bring some grit and net-front scoring ability for the team, and then proceeded to do pretty much nothing all playoffs. He has rebounded nicely this year though and currently has 5 goals, tied with Pasta for third on the team. His net-front presence has been a huge help to the Bruins offense, and he seems to have a knack for finding rebounds and putting them in the back of the net.
The Islanders seem to be the Bruins kryptonite this season as they have been the only team to beat the B’s in regulation. The good news for the Bruins however, is that they only play a single game against them this time, as opposed to a two game set. They will have a few days to regroup, as their next game comes on Thursday when they will look to start a new winning streak against the New Jersey Devils.
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