The Boston Bruins split a two game set with the New Jersey Devils, dropping game one 1-0 and taking game two with a 5-4 shootout win. Multiple weaknesses of this Bruins team were exposed in their two most recent games. Their struggles scoring, especially 5-on-5 were evident in the first game, while it was sloppy defensive play that was present in the latter game. All in all these two games could have gone much better, but they avoided a true dumpster fire of back to back losses, as their scoring finally showed up Tuesday night.
Sunday evening, the Bruins lost their fourth straight game to the New Jersey Devils. The 1-0 loss was the second game in a row against New Jersey where the Bruins were shutout. This is more concerning to think about when you look at the goal differential of New Jersey, which is -23 on the season. The Bruins aren’t struggling against teams like the Pittsburgh Penguins or Washington Capitals, but they’re dropping points to teams at the bottom of the standings like the Devils, who are above only the Buffalo Sabres in the standings at this point.
An argument can technically be made that the Bruins were cheated out of a win by the refs after having two goals called back late in the third period. The Bruins did absolutely get screwed by those calls, no doubt about it, especially the last one where the debate was whether the puck crossed the line or not. But if the Bruins are leaving the game in the hands of the refs and are barely able to score goals on the subpar Devils, they honestly deserve to lose the game. With the offensive talent they have, they shouldn’t have to be fighting the refs to win games against the Devils, they should be able to score 2 goals to win games.
Tuesday night provided a lot more excitement for Bruins fans, as the B’s were able to pull two points out of a game where they gave the Devils multiple goals from defensive breakdowns. Less than two minutes into the game, the Bruins gave Miles Wood a gift, leaving him wide open in front of the net with the puck. He scored to give the Devils an early 1-0 lead. Nick Ritchie would answer with a wrist shot from the top of the faceoff circle a few minutes later tying the game at 1-1. A few minutes after that goal, the Bruins defense would get caught flat footed as Michael McLeod would score a breakaway goal on Jaro Halak. The Devils would extend their lead to 3-1 before Brad Marchand scored a power play goal late in the second to keep the Bruins in it, and the game would eventually end up being 4-2 Devils heading into the third. Charlie McAvoy and Matt Grzelcyk scored a goal each to tie the game for the Bruins sending the battle to overtime. The Bruins would eventually win with goals in the shootout from Charlie Coyle and David Pastrnak.
The offense finally woke up Tuesday which is good to see. It’s refreshing to see the Bruins win a close game where there were more than three goals scored. 3 of the Bruins 4 goals were during 5-on-5 action, which was something they had struggled with against New Jersey heading into the two game set. Their defense was concerning though as Halak was left hung out to dry on 3 goals. Turnovers in front of the net and the defensemen getting caught flat footed were the main problems last night.
The Bruins will welcome the Penguins to the TD Garden on Thursday night, as they will play their next two games against Pittsburgh. Despite having four games in hand on Pittsburgh, they are seven points behind them. Needless to say, these two games are essential for the Bruins to not lose too much ground in the standings, while potentially moving up in the standings if things go their way.
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