The Bruins late push would prove to be too little too late, as they dropped their tilt with the New Jersey Devils Thursday night. The game was the Bruins first back in Boston since January 28th, as they were forced to spend much more time o the road then anticipated due to rescheduling because of COVID cancelations. They were taking on a Devils team that was playing just their second game in 18 days, which was also due to NHL COVID protocols. There was no rust to be found within the Devils lineup however, as they outplayed the Bruins for the better part of the game.
The Bruins were the inferior team on the T.D. Garden ice against the Devils Thursday night. Similar to their loss to the Islanders, it wasn’t their effort that was missing, it was just more sloppy play in the defensive zone that eventually cost them two goals. On the first and third goal, the defense left Devils forwards wide open which allowed them to pot a couple of easy goals that should not have been given up. It was the second game in a row where the Bruins defense was subpar, and it’s no coincidence that they lost both games.
Likely one of the reasons for the sloppy defensive play was injuries to multiple defensemen. The Bruins were without Matt Grzelcyk and Jakub Zboril on the back end which opened up slots for typical healthy scratches Connor Clifton and John Moore to get some ice time. Clifton looked just okay which isn’t super surprising considering he plays irregularly, but the Bruins know he is capable of more than he has shown in his games this season. He played well last year and the Bruins have high hopes for his development despite the fact that he has limited playing time. Moore on the other hand, did not look good. He made some questionable defensive decisions which were detrimental to the Bruins at times. They certainly expect more out of the veteran defenseman who was brought to the Bruins in order to help out the depth on the back side.
Adding on to the injury problem the Bruins are dealing with, was the exit of David Krejci with a lower body injury. The team is certainly hopeful that it’s nothing serious, as his loss would cause a significant impact to the line pairings on the offensive side of things.
The Bruins seem to have a trend going where they play up or down to the level of their opponent. Their record against the second and third place teams, the Philadelphia Flyers and Washington Capitals, is 5-0-1, whereas they have lost 2 of 3 games against a lesser Devils team. Although the Devils have played well this year, there is still no question that the Bruins should be playing at a much higher level against them.
Looking on the positive side of things, forwards Jake DeBrusk and Anders Bjork played well tonight. DeBrusk hasn’t been able to consistently stay in the lineup due to his battle with injuries so far, and when he has been in the lineup, his scoring hasn’t been there. Seeing him bury a goal tonight was a good sign for the team because when DeBrusk gets going, he scores goals in bunches, and can be a very dangerous goal scorer.
Bjork was by far the most energetic player in the lineup tonight. He provided the most quality scoring opportunities of any player and looked like he was trying to single handedly put goals onto the board for the B’s.
The Bruins will look to put an end to their first multi game losing streak of the season on Sunday at Lake Tahoe. It should be an amazing game to watch on TV as they will be playing in the mountains against the backdrop of the lake. The matchup with Philadelphia should be exciting as the Flyers will be looking to pay the Bruins back for beating them 4 times in row.
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